Porch 2020 Messages
Get Out of Your Head (With Special Guest Jennie Allen)
Jennie Allen | 2020-11-10
The greatest battle in our world today exists in our minds. It’s easy to think we’re victims to how we feel, but we have a choice—a choice to fight for our minds by taking power over our thoughts. In this message, we learn from guest speaker Jennie Allen how God has given us the tools to go to war against our struggles.
Get Out of Your Head (With Special Guest Jennie Allen)
The greatest battle in our world today exists in our minds. It’s easy to think we’re victims to how we feel, but we have a choice—a choice to fight for our minds by taking power over our thoughts. In this message, we learn from guest speaker Jennie Allen how God has given us the tools to go to war against our struggles.
David Marvin: Welcome, friends in the room, friends in Fort Worth; Fayetteville; Austin, Texas; Houston, Texas; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; El Paso; Boise, Idaho, and all of the Porch.Live locations, everybody tuning in online. We are doing something special tonight. Let me start us off by telling a story that happened this past week that'll give us some direction for where we're going to go.
There's something that has come on the scene. I don't know if it's like the past two years, five years, or just I missed it for a decade and it has been here for a while. It's called an escape room. Anyone familiar with an escape room? This is a thing. If you're not familiar, it's basically you pay somebody $200 to lock you in a closet and figure out how to get out of there. They're making a killing off of this thing.
I took my team. It's like a team bonding experience. This past week, we went to an escape room, Escapology, right in the heart of uptown Dallas. We went in there, got given the instructions on our room, and we go into this room. If you've never been in one, you basically have to figure out how to break… You have to figure out the mystery. You have to think through how to get out. You have to follow certain clues and kind of read and diagram in order to solve the mystery.
Ours was a murder mystery. You have to solve who murdered the person in order to get the eventual code that allows you out of the room, but there are all of these different turns and things that are involved in trying to figure out the story. It's you and five people. You have one hour to make it happen, and you're trying to get it done.
This was the most challenging escape room I've ever even heard of. Whoever came up with this thing intentionally made it where it would be impossible to get out of there without asking for clues or asking for help. In other words, in the escape room, you can go hit a button at any time and say, "Hey, we're stuck. Give us some way of getting out of here. Give us the next clue, because we can't make the next thing."
This one was so challenging. I was insulted by the clues they would give. They were like, "You need to turn this thing around. There's Braille on the background. You're going to want to figure out how to read Hebrew and then walk through it." It's like, "And you thought we were going to get here on our own by doing this?" Every single time, it was designed where without help from the outside, you were not getting out.
What does that have to do with what we're talking about tonight? We are in a season of life just in general as our country and, really, for the last number of months where a lot of us have felt like in life we are stuck. We're covered in anxiety. The rates of suicide… I was reading it before and talking with a friend. One in four young adults in the last 90 days have contemplated suicide. Things have gotten so bad, and they've gotten so overwhelmed, so anxious, they've thought about ending their life. One in four. Think about that.
Antidepressants are up 600 percent since COVID hit. The number of young adults before COVID who were experiencing anxiety was through the roof, and now it has just exploded. All of us come into the room with different degrees to the level of which we're feeling anxious, uncertain, overwhelmed, and we're stuck in our head. What I want to do for the next handful of minutes is talk through what it looks like to conquer some of that anxiety, conquer those anxious and fearful thoughts, conquer some of the toxic thinking.
So often, people, attempting to help people get unstuck from "I'm overwhelmed and trapped in my head" or "I'm really sad right now; I'm battling depression…" People come along, and they're well meaning. They'll give messages like, "You know what? It's going to be a great day. Good vibes only. Not today, Satan. You've got this. You can take it." They'll give positive things. Sometimes even pastors will go into a self-help mode that, while it may feel good in the moment, doesn't really lead to transformation.
It makes me think, "Oh man! No weapon formed against me will stand. I'm going to conquer this. I'm going to get the job. I'm not going to get sick. Everything is going to be perfect," and then it doesn't happen. Those truths were never helpful, and they didn't help me get out of the room. I'm still trapped inside the escape room. I just have somebody telling me something positive.
What if there was a way to get help from the outside? By that I don't mean a specific speaker, myself or the friend I'm about to bring up. I mean from God's Word on the clues of how to conquer and work through and get out of some of the toxic, anxious thinking and feelings that mark our lives. The good news is the Bible says there is a way, and it doesn't come from self-help or positive thinking. It comes from the truth contained in God's Word.
So, what we're going to do for the next handful of minutes is walk through a really, really crucial topic with a really gifted friend and minister who has devoted the last 18 months, or a long amount of time, studying what it looks like and how God's Word really does give us the clues to help break out and experience freedom from some of the anxiety and our toxic thinking.
My guess is if you came into the room and I said, "Hey, if you hit this button tonight, you won't be anxious tomorrow," most people would hit it. It may not be that simple, but it is clear in God's Word. He gives us paths we can choose to get on and choose to battle against anxious, fearful thinking. So, I want to bring up a friend. Her name is Jennie Allen. She wrote a book called Get Out of Your Head. As she gets up here, let me tell you a little bit about Jennie.
If you're not familiar with Jennie, she leads an organization called IF:Gathering and speaks to hundreds of thousands of women around the country. She's a New York Times best-selling author. She's a mom of four. She's a tremendously gifted minister and a gift to our body. She's a member of Watermark. You know, in life, every now and then you run into people where you're like, "Man, there's just something… The Spirit of God is at work through them."
Jennie is someone that every time I'm around her, I just sense that, and I see that, and I'm constantly encouraged. She wrote a book called Get Out of Your Head and was gracious enough, as I just asked her, "Hey, we're all stuck in our head. Will you help us just talk through? Because you've put into word form, practically, how God's Word helps us and why it's so important that we get out of our heads." So, would you guys welcome to the stage Jennie Allen?
Jennie Allen: Thank you, David. Great to be here, guys. How are you doing?
David: So, Jennie, you wrote a book called Get Out of Your Head. Jennie has written a number of books and has been a part of Watermark. I mean everything I just said there, Jennie. You're such a gift to the church and our generation. If you don't know about IF:Gathering and you're a girl (because it's for girls), you need to know about IF:Gathering, so check that out.
I just wanted to talk through a lot of stuff. I've read through this two different times, and I've been so encouraged by it, so I just wanted to talk, because this generation in particular… Everybody right now is stuck in their head. We're feeling anxious. There's uncertainty, though I don't think uncertainty has increased, because we all live in 100 percent uncertainty every single day. Everything is uncertain whether we realized it or not. COVID and just the climate has made things feel uncertain.
So, I just wanted to launch into this conversation and even talk about what made you decide to write this book and open into the conversation of anxiety. In the book, you say the most important battle of this generation is taking place in the mind. Most people don't realize it, but it is shaping your future. It's shaping your life. It's shaping who you're going to marry, who you're becoming. It's shaping all of your life right now. So, why is that so important? Why would you say that, and what made you passionate about it? There are a lot of questions in that.
Jennie: Well, this is the thing. This is so random. I'm going to start with a really interesting, funny story. One of my friends sent me an article in Cosmo where they talked about my book, which is really interesting, because it is very Jesus. In fact, I even have a whole portion about it not being self-help. So, it was very interesting that Cosmo shared my book. What they said was, "It's like Jennie Allen knew the [you know what] was going to hit the fan." So, this Christian book is in Cosmo with a cussword about it.
The funny thing is I didn't, but God did. God knew this book would come out two months before COVID hit. I can't explain that. There's no way I could ever make this happen in life. You just know there is a God who cares about people. It wasn't even the book I was supposed to write. I shifted gears two years before and went to work and put my head down on this book and put another book I was almost done with to the side. God knew the timing was going to matter.
I start with that story because the timing matters. What he just said is exactly right. What happened was the lake drained and we all saw what was at the bottom of our lakes. What was at the bottom of our lakes was a lot of mess. It's not new stuff. I think it was already there, but I do think that what we found was, "Wow! I've been anxious probably for a long time. I may have been busy enough that I didn't notice" or "I've been depressed for a long time."
We're starting to even consider, "Maybe I need to get some help." So, I think that's what's powerful about COVID. What you said was so right, David. I don't think we've found ourselves in a unique moment that has produced a lot of anxiety. I think we've found ourselves in a moment that revealed the anxiety we already felt.
David: So, why did you write it? I know God had that in mind, but what shifted or what led you down that journey? You talk about doubt and that wrestle, and I think that's part of the reason, but what would you say?
Jennie: Well, two things. First, my daughter Kate is 18 years old. She's a freshman at A&M. I'm a Razorback.
David: Let's just throw that in there. "I'm a Razorback."
Jennie: It's hard, y'all. I have two Aggies. I'm like, "What did I do? What did I do?"
David: That's right. God's people, man.
Jennie: Anyway, my daughter is in seventh grade, and she gets this passion and heart for neuroscience. She starts reading and watching TED talks on it, so I start doing this with her. It's so interesting, because when I started doing the science work on this book, I thought it was going to be in opposition to the Bible, but it actually completely revealed what the Bible says is true, that our brains can change, that our brains physically are changing based on what we think about.
Our chemistry, our body, is very connected to the brain God built. That's not surprising to Christians. Christians know God built all of this to work together for others' good and for his glory. When something is broken in our mind, it begins to affect every part of us. I think that's where I started to get so passionate. I minister to women, and I talk about emotions. My first Bible study was Stuck, which walks through a lot of the different emotions we all face.
I didn't see our side of the church talking about the mind and about how we could shift it, yet everything I was reading in science and in psychiatry, and all of these things, were absolutely echoing what the Bible says. They just completely fell short, just like David was saying when he introduced this.
It would be somewhat biblical in the sense that you can change your brain, your brain can change, and then toward the end it would say, "So, what you need to do is think positive thoughts about yourself, that you are awesome." You know, all of these positive self-esteem things. I was thinking, "Well, I just am not, so I don't exactly know how that's supposed to help if I don't feel awesome about myself. Am I just supposed to tell myself that I'm worth something?"
So, watching my daughter for five years…for five years she was pursuing this…I saw and read a lot, and I realized the church is afraid of this topic, yet it is absolutely biblical. So, that was the first thing. The second thing that happened was I went through a season of doubt for 18 months following a crazy story that was just dark. I entered into this season of wrestling with my faith, and for 18 months, I woke up in the middle of the night and would ask myself, "Is this true? Does it fade to black? Why are you wasting your life on this if it's not?"
That sounds very alarming, but somehow… In my experience, the Devil never likes to be noticed. He wants to do things in a very subtle way. Looking at that over time, I don't think I let anybody in or talked about it, but it wasn't because I was embarrassed or hiding it. It was that I didn't think it was a big deal, yet 18 months later, I felt my faith eroding.
I would be speaking on stages about Jesus, and in the back of my head I would be questioning it. "Am I selling a myth?" Y'all, let me just tell you. You don't know my faith. You don't know my story, but I've gotten to be someone who has walked on waves and seen God do complete miracles. The fact that I was questioning my faith did not equal the life I was leading at all.
I don't tell anybody, and then 18 months later, I do finally open my mouth and say, "This has gotten pretty bad." The irony is the reason I finally told people was I watched the second-to-last Avengers movie. I'm sorry if y'all don't know this, but you are really late, and I am not going to protect you from this spoiler. At the end of the movie, the second-to-last one (y'all know what happens), some of the superheroes and half the earth evaporate into dust.
David: It's the worst.
Jennie: Yeah, it was a bummer, and then they leave you there. So, I see that movie, and I go home, and I can't breathe. For two to three days, I'm having panic, because that's what I'm afraid of. I'm just afraid it goes to dust and that none of it mattered. Finally, I start talking. I'm realizing, "This is really affecting me. My fear of death… I can't even watch a Marvel movie without having panic attacks."
So, I mention it to a friend, and two things happen when I bring somebody into it. The first thing that happens is I said it out loud, and as I heard myself say, "I don't know if I even believe in God anymore…" That's how dramatic it was. Eighteen months of wrestling with stuff like that. It was dramatic when I said it. As the words came out of my mouth, I started laughing. I was like, "That's not true. I believe in God."
I literally heard myself say what I'd been saying in my head for 18 months. I said it, and I was so aware that it was not true. My sweet friend who heard it… She watches me live, and she was like, "Jennie, that's not true. I've watched you live the last two years. You love and trust God." Then the second thing I said was, "I think I've been under spiritual attack." Yeah. It was obvious, and I totally missed it.
After that, to answer your question, I got angry. This wasn't any longer just this situation of "You know what? We all think negative thoughts. Let's be authentic about it. What do you think about negatively? What's your anxiety? Let's talk about it." It turned to war. I was like, "No, no, no. This is the Enemy. He got me alone in the dark, and he told me whatever he wanted. I am not going to let that happen to half the church." There are a bunch of guys here. I'll bring you into it too.
I'm not going to let that happen, because if we are in a place where the Enemy can tell us what he… Now listen. I'm not someone who thinks the Devil is under every rock. That's not who I am. I grew up in a church where they said, "Don't talk about the Devil too much," and I took it very seriously until I read Ephesians and it said dark cosmic forces are coming for us. I thought, "Let's just talk about it a little."
On this subject, I think we need to bring that in. I'll tell you why in a minute. There's some Scripture that brings it in very clearly that we are not fighting flesh, that we're fighting spirit, and we have to recognize there's a war for our minds.
David: So, to the person who's listening… Again, the degree of anxiety, stress, worry, fear that everyone is feeling is different, but it exists either in this moment right now or you've had it in your life or you're going to have it or you're not breathing. To that person who's sitting there thinking, "Yeah, but I'm afraid I'm going to be single for the rest of my life," you're just saying, "Stop"?
"I'm afraid I'm not ever going to have a job that is inside of what I spent my entire last six years in grad school and my major studying, and I'm just supposed to be okay with that or I'm not supposed to be anxious or I'm not supposed to feel those things? What am I supposed to do with those thoughts?"
We may be getting ahead of ourselves, but you mention something in the book that I think is really important, whether it's now or at some point injecting. You framed it up as one of the most important truths you have to know is… Do you know where I'm going with this?
Jennie: You have a choice.
David: Which I don't think most of us believe.
Jennie: I taught this Bible study here. Some of y'all may have been in it. It was up to 150 girls in the Chapel. This was before the book was written. When I taught it, the number one feedback I got was "I didn't know I had power over my thoughts." It is the clearest thing in Scripture. You could go find how many times especially Paul talks about commanding language over our thought lives. It is so clear. "Take every thought captive."
The way we change… Romans says we change by the renewal of our minds. If we don't want to be conformed to the world and we want to be transformed, we're transformed by the renewal of our minds. There is so much strong language about our minds being captive to us, not us captive to our minds. The idea of that being true, that we have a choice, I think is the beginning of freedom.
Now that's not it. You can't just decide before you go to bed, "Okay. Tonight, I'm not going to think about that," but you kind of can. I'm going to read you some Scripture, but before I do, I want to address mental illness. I think where the church kind of can fail is they can say, "You don't have enough faith" or "You don't pray enough" or "If you were just positive, this wouldn't be the case."
The truth is because of the fall, our minds are broken. Our bodies are broken. Our world is broken. Everything is broken. The reality is because of the fall, there is a true fallenness to our minds, so it is not always as simple as "Pray more. Have more faith." I think that's where medicine and counseling can play a strategic role and be gifts from God in the right moments for the right people.
But we cannot stop there, because Scripture is pretty clear that this is a war and we have to treat it as such. In fact, the language Paul uses in 2 Corinthians 10… If you've ever heard the verse, "Take every thought captive," let me make it a little more complicated for you. What the science says is that you, today, are thinking anywhere from 8,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day. Most of the girls… I am on the 60,000-thought train. How many of y'all are like, "I'm in the 60,000"? I know some of the guys are like, "That's a lot of thoughts."
David: Nope. Just five thoughts a day.
Jennie: Yep. My husband was like, "Jennie, your only qualification is that you think so many more thoughts than anybody else. That's your qualification to write this book." So, that idea that we have that many thoughts… Then there's a Scripture that says, "Take every thought captive." That's totally overwhelming. What does that even mean?
I start the book talking about this little bird that was just flying wild in our house. It was the most impossible thing to catch. If I wanted to shoot the bird, it would have been easier than trying to capture a bird. That's what we're doing with our thoughts. We're running around trying to capture them, and there are 60,000 of them, and they're running wild, and it feels kind of helpless.
So, what does Scripture say? It's very authoritative. This is what I found to be true: when I began to think about my thought life in this way, it changed everything. Second Corinthians 10:4: "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…"
This is fighting language. This is not saying, "Hey, passively try to think different thoughts. Let's be positive about ourselves." No. Paul is like, "You're at war." There's an Enemy that wants to take you down. "What a strategic place for the church. Nobody sees it. Let's take that one down with doubt for 18 months in the middle of the night. Let's take the foundation out from under her, and maybe she would not cause much trouble for hell." Well, that didn't work, but for 18 months it did.
The weapons we were given to destroy strongholds… That's what we can talk about as we keep going, but that idea of power, that God has given us authority over our minds… If you feel sad and I say, "You need to stop being sad," that's not very effective. But if I say, "You can interrupt a thought with another thought," that can change everything.
There's a spiral I want to show you guys. This is not just about our brains; this is about every part of our lives. As Proverbs says, "As a man thinketh, so he is." There's not much that is outside of is. It's all of us. It's our whole being. What happens is our… I put emotions first, but just think of it as an endless circle that's all running into each other…our emotions, our thoughts, our behaviors, our relationships, and then there are consequences, and they run back up to our emotions and our thoughts and our behaviors.
The greatest place I see in the Scripture to interrupt that spiral is at thought. At that thought that you are thinking constantly, your brain is building little neuroplasticity places in it. Literally, a city is being built at every thought you think of, a physical city in your brain. What's so interesting is from the time you think a thought until that little neuroplasticity city exists in your brain takes 10 minutes. That means your brain is working for 10 minutes past your thought.
That's really scary when you think of the fact that of our thoughts, over 85 percent of them are negative day in and day out. Research tells us 85 percent are negative, and over 95 percent of our thoughts are repetitive from the day before. That means we are thinking the same negative thoughts day after day after day. How do we interrupt that?
For some of you, it has been decades. You're pretty young. A decade. How do you shift…? Because for some of you, those thoughts started because something happened to you, because a behavior was done to you or you went through something. How do we change? So, yes, it starts with what David said. It starts with the knowledge that we do have a choice.
As I worked on this book, I was like, "Okay. 'Take every thought captive.' I have to help all of these people take their thoughts captive. How do you do that?" So, that interrupting thought of "I have a choice." Y'all, I tell it to myself every day. Do you want to hear something crazy? I woke up this morning. I had a great time with the Lord. I went to the office. I had a great time with the Lord with my team at the IF:Gathering offices, and for some reason, physically after that my heart started racing and I had more anxiety today than I can remember having in months.
Today, I have been in a stronghold of anxiety. Today. I couldn't put a name to it. I didn't exactly know what I was thinking. Sometimes, you guys, it's just a feeling. You're like, "Why am I anxious? I'm not thinking about something anxious." I'm so glad it happened, though, because this is not something we ever just go, "Okay, I'm done fighting." It's not something that you just slap a verse on and then it should be solved.
God wants to walk with us every minute of every day. The fact that we feel anxiety is this beacon to say, "Come back to me. You need me. You've gotten too far. You're running off. Come back." There's something about these struggles that are meant to draw us to Jesus. They're meant to be something that causes us to recognize, "You know what? I need God again today."
Today, what it looked like for me was I processed with somebody I feel safe with and close to, and I said, "Listen. I've been anxious today. I don't know what it is. Can you help me with this?" I voiced it, and we prayed, and we fought it today. I think that's what we have to do. What took 18 months last time now takes me about two hours. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes, but I usually won't call somebody or bring them in until about two hours, where I'm like, "You know what? I've been anxious now for two hours."
Why would I give the Devil 18 more months or 18 more minutes? We have to fight it daily. That's what changed for me. It wasn't something that was just going to get medicated or solved or fixed. It would be something where I would walk with God all the days of my life. I would surrender. I would be with him. I would still struggle, but I would fight back, and I wouldn't just let my mind control everything.
David: So, if I'm listening in and I… You may answer this in a second, but if I have lustful thoughts, anxious thoughts, if I'm finding myself going down that rabbit hole… I heard several things you did in the moment of ways that we take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ, but how would you say, "Here's how you cut if off"? Step one is you need to decide and know that you can cut it off and you can stop having that thought, but is there anything more practical, whether now or we can wait if we're going to get into it in a little bit?
Jennie: Yeah, we'll get into practical, but I'm just reading this verse again. "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds." Do we believe that? If we don't believe that, church, we don't have anything else to stand on. It doesn't matter. The other stuff is only going to be a fix for a little while. The practical ways we can be grateful instead of negative…all of that. Those practices are powerful, and God taught us about these practices that help us train our minds and discipline our minds.
The Scripture is full of that, and we'll talk about some of those. But if we don't understand, first and foremost, that we are at war… There is an Enemy, and he wants to kill, steal, and destroy you, and you have power and authority and divine weapons that destroy strongholds. I'm like, "Let's wake up to that first so that we quit playing defense." Honestly, we're not even playing defense. We're lying down, and he's just beating us up. That's what I did for 18 months. He just beat me up for 18 months, and I let him.
That's where I'm going, "Okay. Let's change our posture. Let's start with this." First, do you realize the Spirit of God is available to you and that he wants to work with you and fight the Enemy with you and that there are people who want to help you fight the Enemy and that there is a Word that teaches us how to fight the Enemy? But it's all going somewhere, and it's not like, "I'm going to get fixed today. That's what I'm going to do." Because that's how we read Scripture.
We want it to just fix us rather than realizing we are at war, and everything you think and everything you feel and every behavior you have and every relationship you have is playing into that war. The cost if we don't fight back, if we just let the Enemy stick us in a corner with anxiety and make us obsess about ourselves and our problems instead of the power of God in me and through me and what could happen, that is terrifying, and it shuts us down.
What I love about Scripture is it starts with this big story and this narrative of… Let's start with Hebrews 12. This is part of the narrative. "Run the race that is set before you, fixing your eyes on Jesus, throwing off the burden and the weight that is set before you." What I love is he sets in there a purpose. "Run the race." I think as we're going, as we realize, "Okay. All of this is supposed to fit into this bigger story where there is a plan, and it is to take me out…" There is a plan, and it is to take you out.
So, we have to start with… And let me tell you why this matters. Because then you hate it. Then you're motivated. It's not just about your happiness. It's not just about your freedom. It's not just about the way you could have a greater impact on the kingdom. It is about eternity. If you realize that that anxiety… I don't mean to put too much weight on it, but I think we haven't put enough.
I think we put too much of this passing idea that we're just victims and how we feel and what we're thinking about and all of these things… It's like, "This is my lot. This is what I struggle with. I struggle with anxiety." I'm like, "All right. Well, how are we going to fight that? Let's start fighting that. Let's not just take that for granted and struggle with this for the next 50 or 60 years we have on earth."
If we change our posture, then, yes, there are some things we can actually do that help in that fight that Scripture is clear about, but what I hope you hear from this and what I hope you take away is that you have a lot more power than you think. I've talked to so many people who have processed this and read the book and gone through months after that and what it looks like for them.
You'll start to sense that you're anxious, like I did today, and you'll say, "You know what? I don't want to stay there, and I don't want my brain to stay there for more than a day, so I'm going to make a priority for my mind today. I'm going to sit down with somebody who loves me. I'm going to sit down with Scripture, and I'm going to fight this better." It looks like not just tolerating it in your life.
Again, let me be clear. Mental illness is real, and there are also times where you've spent so much time in bondage it's not going to just… You're not going to come out tomorrow because you enter in and you interrupt the thoughts. It's going to take discipline and time. Think of how long it took you to get into that mess. To get out of that, it's going to take a little while too to retrain your mind.
David: That is a really important point, and I think you bring it up in the book a little bit. It is a sobering and empowering point, which is, for the last six months, everyone has had 8,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day, and they have been building grooves, or pathways, in their thinking. That can be a really daunting thing, like, "Man, I've spent the last six months, and I have had so many lustful thoughts, I'm now back addicted to porn" or "I'm overwhelmed with anxiety, and I've given myself to it."
The sobering part of what you're saying is those pathways have formed, and the only way to undo them is to create new grooves, which is both sobering and also empowering, that you can make a choice to form new grooves. It doesn't happen overnight. You didn't get here overnight, but if you can learn to interrupt thoughts and create new pathways, you can begin to experience freedom from anxiety.
Jennie: One hundred percent. It's why the science was such a big part of this book. This says, "Think on what is lovely, what is true." Paul is so clear that we can change our thinking. So is science. You can actually change the way you think. You don't have to stay in thought patterns that are toxic. There are interrupting thoughts in psychiatry that can enter in as well.
What I saw was we kept all of this over here in this corner of science, and the church is kind of crossing their arms at it, like, "I don't know." Actually, it's really cool. If you read the Bible, of course what they're finding out about the brain God built is backed up in Scripture. That's not surprising to us who are Christians.
You have to understand. What they've learned about the brain in the last 20 years is more than they've learned about the brain in 2,000 years. We're just beginning. One of my best friends had a massive stroke when she was 35. I sat in with the leading experts in neuroscience and recovery from strokes in the state of Texas. It bothered me at the time, but they just kept saying, "We don't know. We don't know" to every question we would ask, because the leading experts don't know how powerful the brain is and how much it can recover.
What they are continuing to find out in those 20 years is that the brain repairs and rebuilds. So, I think that's what we have to understand. When Paul is saying these things about changing your brain, that you don't have to stay in these toxic thoughts, that you can think on what is true… Let's just take that one line: "Think on what is true." That's what he says at the end of Philippians. "Think on what is true." Just that. Think of how many anxious thoughts aren't even about something real.
Let me give you an example. I have a son. When I was writing this book, he was about to go to college. Now he's a junior. When I wrote the book, I was obsessed with him making good choices and just sending him out on his own, because, no offense, but frontal lobes are missing, and he's supposed to just go into the world. So, I think about it all the time. I think about it at night. I think about it in the day. I obsess about it.
My friend who's a counselor… I was interviewing her for this book, and she told me that every human has three lies about themselves they believe fundamentally. I was like, "I have 1,000." She goes, "No, Jennie. You only have three. That's the science. It all comes back down to three." I've asked around about this, because I still don't believe that it really is only three, but every person in science and psychiatry is like, "Yeah. It's like Psych 101. This is just human nature." Three lies: "I am helpless. I am worthless. I am unlovable."
So, she's sitting there counseling me, which was awesome. It was free, because I was just interviewing her. I tricked her. She was like, "Give me an example of one of your worries or one of your fears." So I told her about my son. She said, "Well, Jennie, so what if he makes some bad choices?" I was like, "Well, if he makes some bad choices, then he might end up marrying somebody I don't like or getting her pregnant and then having to marry somebody."
I just start playing all this stuff. She was like, "Okay. Then what? Then what?" Where I ended was "Prison." At that point, I'm kind of reeling, and she said, "So you feel helpless." I'm like, "Oh, yeah. That was good. Good job." All of our fears and our lies kind of go back to those three things: "I am helpless. I am worthless. I am unlovable." That has been cool for me to boil it down, because there is a liar, and that's what he does.
If we, as the church, don't realize there's a great advantage for the Enemy to us believing lies… That's a great advantage for us to be shut down, to feel worthless, helpless, and unlovable. What's interesting about those three lies is there's a little bit of biblical truth in them. We're grasshoppers before God. You could find stories about the fact that we are a little bit helpless. It's a little bit true. Right? There is something of, yes, we're just passing through. We are sinners. We're all born sinners. In that regard, we are unlovable, and yet the gospel. It changes everything.
What the Devil does is he takes something that's a little bit true and sticks it into our heads, and then we obsess about that, even if it doesn't look like those words. Then, all of a sudden, we are shut down, we are insecure, we are addicted, we are coping instead of living, and we're useless. This is where I got excited. If we could attack this and go, "Okay. Wait a minute. What is true biblically about those lies…?"
"I'm helpless." I am filled with the Spirit of God. I am given the Word of God that is sharper than any two-edged sword. I'm not that helpless. Then, "I'm not worthless." I was worth dying for. You were worth dying for. That's the story of the gospel. I'm not unlovable, because God created me in my mother's womb and even knows to this day how many hairs are on my head, even though I find that useless. But he does, and he delights over me. He even likes me, but that's because of the righteousness of Christ I've inherited. That story is completely busted up with the Bible.
What Paul did in this was he was like, "Fight this. Destroy every stronghold, because you have the power to do it." I'm kind of stuck on this, David. I'm sorry. We can move on. But I just feel like if we understood the spiritual authority we had over these lies, if we saw it the way God sees it, we would not stay stuck in porn. We would not stay stuck in anxiety. We would not stay stuck in places where we don't belong as followers and children of God.
Again, I am not saying mental illness is not real. Just let it be said, in case that got sound-bited out. I need it to be clear that I understand there's a real fight, and for some of us, that fight is harder than others, and we need to have that grace. But for some of us, we just need to stand up and start fighting instead of letting the Devil take us out.
David: It seems like women are often more in tune with their emotions, their feelings, even their thoughts, but to trace… Some of the guys may be going, "I've never had the thought that I'm unlovable. I was just wondering about dinner." But just having done this for the last 12 years, those anchor… Some of you chose the job you're in because you didn't think anybody would love you if you didn't have that degree.
The number one reason, statistically, in studying pornography, which you talk about a lot just because it's so rampant and prevalent… Books have been written about the driving number one reason men turn to porn, and women… I'm not actually confident on the breakdown there. I know at least for men, one of the leading reasons is they want to feel wanted, which means, "I don't feel lovable." If you can't conquer these lies today, they're not going away.
The reason you end up in toxic relationships or you settle for jerk after jerk in dating or jerk after jerk girl in dating is because these things are playing themselves out and are affecting your mind. So, learning to be able to confront these lies, to identify them as lies, to identify them as not true… Whatever struggles you would admit to right now, like, "Sometimes I get too angry. Sometimes I get too drunk…"
Those are directly correlated to everything we're talking about. That's why this is such a huge thing. Even to your point today… My wife is a counselor. We have a mutual friend in the counseling world. What Paul says in Romans, chapter 12, about "Renew your thinking…" If you can transform your thinking, you'll transform your living.
That is what, 2,000 years later, cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a new psychology term… Basically, they're going, "Oh, yeah. If you transform your thinking, you'll transform your living," as though, "Huh, that's what Paul said 2,000 years before Freud or before any of you guys came along. Welcome to where we've been for 2,000 years." That's why this is such a crucial and important topic. Anything you'd add on that?
Jennie: Oh, that's good. Here's the thing. We're all trying so hard to work on our behavior. This is why, if you've never done the work in your life, if you have been abused in any form… I bet most of us can remember a time when everything changed. You may not have been physically abused, but you can remember when you picked up one of those lies.
I was 12 years old. I'm sitting in my dad's recliner with him, and I felt so safe, safe enough to sit really close to my dad and just sit there and talk to him. We were looking at the ceiling. I remember I had popcorn. We were in my childhood home. I remember he started asking me questions like this. I'm 12 years old. "Do you think you're going to make homecoming court this year? Do you think so-and-so likes you? How are your grades?"
He was running through a list of things that I could tell he thought, "If you maximize those things, then you're going to be a good daughter, then you're going to be a good human." As a little girl, it's the first time I remember feeling like, "I am not safe, and I am not enough as I am." That began a journey for me that I struggled with until 30 years old, where I felt like I could not hit an invisible line that kept moving, and I was chasing it with all of my guts.
I loved God, but there was this competing idol of approval that ran right beside my love for God. That verse in Hebrews 12… It hindered me. Was it my fault that I picked that up? No. But was it my fault that I didn't fight it? Yes. There's probably a moment you can remember when that lie entered in. So, we have to do this work.
I know some of you guys are like, "Oh my gosh! I'm going to have some deep talk with my girlfriend tonight. I feel it." I promise you it is worth going back and figuring out what you picked up and where you picked it up, because if it is from the Enemy… All lies are from him. John tells us Jesus was really clear. He's the Father of Lies, and it's his native tongue. It's how he speaks. So, if we've just let those lies grow in us, then we don't want to live with that anymore.
David: That's good. You've pointed to God's Word multiple times and then God's people. I don't know if you've directly said that, but you have referenced how in the midst of fighting those battles, you really can't do it alone. That is something that sounds cliché or preachy or like, "Of course you would say that," but anything else you would add on the importance of being known? This is not something where you can do it just with "Jesus and me" here. If you want to experience victory on this, you have to have other people in your life who are a part of that battle. Anything you would…?
Jennie: That's actually what I'm working on right now. I've spent the last six months…
David: A new book. Right?
Jennie: Yeah, of community. A lot of you know this, but God created out of community. He was in community with himself. I think we go through life and think this is an optional thing, like, "I should have better friends" or "I think I'm going to join a small group," when actually, because God is community, he birthed us to community. There's not an optional factor to this. It's literally in the DNA of who we are.
My friend Curt Thompson, who's a counselor, says when a baby is born, it's born looking for somebody who's looking for him. We're all doing that even to this day. We're looking for somebody looking for us. That idea is just so human that we literally are aching for connection. Guys, the funny thing is we think these struggles are going to be the things that cause us to not have connection. Well, that's another lie.
The truth is that our struggles are what actually bond us to other people. Struggling together is how we were built to do this. God knew we couldn't do it alone. In fact, most of the Scripture is not written to an individual; it's written to a people group…the New Testament to the church and the Old Testament to Israel. We read it, and we're like, "You be a holy people." Well, okay. That feels hard to do, but together, as we're running after God, we become more holy.
I think Watermark is so good at that. Our church is unusually good at community, but I think all of us, as Americans, are very fundamentally bent toward individualism. I don't think we even realize all of the ways it has changed the way we do life. My plea is: don't do anything alone. Spend time alone with Jesus. He did that some, but a lot of his days were full of people. I think that was a pattern of living for us. We have to be running together, and we have to bring people into everything we're doing.
I'm teaching my team this, that they ask for help even if they don't think they need it, just because we don't do anything alone. We do everything in community. If God does not exist alone, then we don't exist alone. So, what begins to change as we live in godly, connected community the way we were built, the way Trinity exists, connected to people in a really deep, intimate way, is they know everything.
My good friends see it before I even tell them. They'll see it. They'll see it on my face. They'll call me out. This happened last week. We were at a little prayer gathering at my house, and I was trying to just get through the night, because I had things I needed to do. They were like, "Jennie, your heart is hard." I was like, "My heart is bored, and I need to go do other things."
David: I'm going to steal that.
Jennie: I didn't say that exactly, but that's what I was thinking, and then they just don't leave me alone. Before I know it, I'm crying, and they're praying over me, and I'm like, "Okay. My heart was hard. Yeah, it was." I love people who see us and don't let us get away with things. Let me say this, because I do think one thing we could fall prey to is that being authentic is enough.
I've watched this happen over and over again, where everybody is in their small group, and they're all confessing their sin, and they come back the next week and all confess the same sin, and they come back the next week, and nothing really changes. That's where we have to be better friends to each other and say, "Listen. We're going to go to war. We are going to take these tools, these weapons God has given us, and we're going to implement them. We're going to fight the Devil for you, and we are going to pray over you."
That night, my friends were praying for me with their hands on me just because I had a barely hard heart, y'all. This is how seriously we take this. We're not going to get derailed by anything. We are going to fight for each other. Yes, you're going to feel weird the first few times somebody is like, "You know, I've just had a hard week," and it's like, "In Jesus' name, we are going to pray for you." But I think we have to start to, first, get better at articulating what it is we're fighting and struggling with. Guys, you too. Then we also have to get better at receiving people fighting for us.
After I was honest about what I was going through, those two friends said, "We are fasting and praying for you on this day." I was kind of embarrassed, and I felt like, "I don't want them to take a whole day and not eat. That's a big commitment for me." I felt selfish and like, "It's okay. It's not that bad." Then I was like, "No, it's that bad. Let's do this." So we all prayed and fasted, and I received that. It was awkward and hard to do, but I received it, because they knew I was in deep and dark and I needed somebody to fight for me.
David: What I hear, essentially, to summarize everything… You're at war. Your thoughts determine the destinations and direction of your life, which is just the proverb of "As a man thinketh, so he is." Part of the weapons you have to use is God's Word, what is true, interrupting. You have a choice. Every thought you have and every thought you tolerate and every time you allow thoughts to continue to take other thoughts and lead you on a path, you're shaping your future and your life. So go to war.
Part of the weapons we have is God's Word and being real with God's people and having real followers of Christ who are willing to call you out and say, "I'm going to war. I'm going to come over at 2:00 a.m. I'm going to come over and meet you. I'm going to text you every morning to pray over this, and I need you to do the same thing." That's how we do that.
Anything before I move us on to two final questions that are less related to this topic and more related to some of you and Zac and your experience with this generation? Anything else you'd add on this whole subject before we move on?
Jennie: I just want to encourage you. I have seen this change people's lives. I know some of you are like, "I don't know how it would." If you take your thought life seriously and you bring that to Jesus and say, "God, help me with this. I really want this to change," he has said it can. He has said it's possible.
If there's only one thing you take away, let it be that the way we are transformed is by the renewal of our minds. That means it's possible. We have to start by just believing, "You know what? God can remake this" rather than being victims to what the Enemy has lied to us about for too long.
David: Come on. So good. So, you've been married to Zac…
Jennie: Twenty-three years.
David: Is he a Razorback?
Jennie: No. We met at Kanakuk Kamps.
David: Oh. Nothing like a good camp love story.
Jennie: Yep. We were kissing in the K-Dome. Yeah, we did.
David: Wow! That definitely violates camp policy for sure.
Jennie: It did. Sorry, Joe.
David: But it ended up working out. And you guys have four kids. Most of the room by far is single. In terms of qualities that drew you to Zac… No marriage is perfect. I know you guys have even shared here before. We're all on a journey. But what were the qualities that drew you to Zac other than he was a good French kisser in the K-Dome?
Jennie: He was. He is.
David: That was a joke, people. Save the email. I apologize. Other than that, what godly qualities would you say, "Man, these are the things to look for"? Because you have a daughter. You have young adult kids to whom you would say, "These are the qualities to look for in a husband or wife."
Jennie: This is a little bit secret story I don't think I've ever told. Right before we got married… This was probably two months before. We didn't "save the date" back then. That's a new expensive feature of weddings. So, that hadn't gone out, but it was probably about the time that would have gone out, and I was having doubts that I should marry him. We were long distance dating, so I barely knew the guy. It was scary that we were getting married except that the guy was godly.
I remember one day we were together, and I was like, "Lord, I can't go into marriage wondering if I should be married to this guy. You've got to seal the deal here." I prayed. I remember that day just going to war with it and saying, "God, you've got to be clear with me if this is the man I'm supposed to marry." Of course, a voice from the sky… I'm just kidding. That didn't happen, but what did happen was I opened my Bible, and I began to go, "Okay. What do we know about marriage? What do we know about the kind of guy I should marry?"
I just began to write a list in my little journal. I was like, "He needs to be humble. He needs to pray. He needs to be committed and surrendered to Jesus and do whatever he says. Check. He needs to honor me. He needs to believe I have gifts and that he's going to partner with me in those. Check." I just made a list of what the Bible says. They were super simple things. At the end of that, I looked at the list and I was like, "Is this who he is?" The answer was "Absolutely yes."
I mean, he's not perfect in any of those things. In fact, we went on to have a difficult first five years of marriage and did get some counseling, a lot of counseling, after that, but he was a godly man. He loved him, and he was going to follow him, and I knew it. So, I committed to marry the man. I'm saying this because I think we think there's some special feeling that will come over us at some point that's like, "Light, shine from heaven. Anoint the girl. This is her."
I'm having these conversations with my kids. I was like, "It doesn't work like that. Look around and see who's following God. I don't know if you're attracted… Yes, maybe that's a part of it, but no, that's not really a biblical part of it. Marry a girl who loves God and is spending her life doing that."
Because the purpose of marriage is that we display the relationship between Jesus and the church, and if it is not sacrificial, if it is not committed no matter what to biblical storylines that he has given us, then I don't see… It's just what the TV teaches us. It's just what culture teaches us. That's not love. Love is two people committed to God and committing to each other for all of their lives.
Here's the thing. If you get the attraction, good, but it will go away. It's like, why chase something that's fickle? If you get a guy… And I did. And I was attracted to him at different times, but it wasn't about the attraction. It was that I just felt confused and I didn't feel sure, and what made me sure was not feelings that seemed to come and go. It was the character of God that I saw in his life, and I think that is what has seen us through 23 years.
I look at him now, y'all, and I am totally attracted to him. Baby, I am so attracted to you. I cannot wait to get home tonight. But it isn't about that even today, because if that goes away tomorrow, I don't care. I'm in this with this man to be for the good of people and the glory of God. It's just a different way to view marriage. We are such teammates, and we have fun, and we are running the race, but it was built on a vision of obeying God together, not on feelings.
David: So good. Okay. Last question as we wrap up. Your ministry has given you a platform. You speak to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people a year. A lot of them are young adults. You have young adult kids. Anything you would say to encourage, sharpen, challenge, if you had a few minutes to share anything with this group and those listening?
Jennie: I would say this: go build a life that is building heaven, and leave the details out of that. If you can look around at your life… I'm not talking about vocational ministry. For goodness' sake. We largely minister to Christians. You guys are the ones in the trenches. What we're supposed to do is equip the saints for the work of the kingdom. I'm just talking about in everything you're doing, spending it in this eternal story we've been talking about tonight.
The reason I say that is, guys, I don't know how much longer we have before Jesus is going to come back. My sense, as I'm spending a lot of time with Gen Z right now… A lot of who we minister to is college students. I'm looking at Gen Z (some of you are in that category), and I'm going, "We may be preparing them to usher in the kingdom." There's that sense in me of just… I want you to be Daniels in Babylon, and I want you to know God and to be disciplined and to care about…
When that becomes the storyline, when you're like, "You know what? Jesus could come back soon…" I work with Bible translation too. I'm a big translator for a people group in a jungle. I'm just kidding. I just give them money. But they're saying that in 13 years we're going to have reached every single language, which is one of the things that has to happen before Jesus can come back.
So, the fact that we're closing in on almost everything we would need for Revelation to happen, for Jesus to come back, means we should be taking our lives very seriously. The addiction, the distraction, the anxiety I see in the church… I want to fight it not so you can live happier lives but so we can usher in the kingdom of God together, because we might just be up. It might be the calling of our lives.
So, take it all seriously, because we don't want to be those who are sleeping when he comes back. We want to be those who are running and out of breath and not surprised and are like, "Hallelujah! I don't even have to die. I get to just fly up to heaven." Let's be that. I think if we could take it that seriously… Gosh, the world needs hope right now, and we could be that hope for them.
David: That's so good. Would you mind praying that that would be the case and then praying, in particular, for anyone who is trapped, whether they would say that or not, in the spiral of fear or anxiety or lust or anger or just sad?
Jennie: I'm going to pray on my knees, because we are fighting spiritual forces. The greatest desire of the Enemy is to cause every single human who hears my voice right now to be stuck and helpless and hopeless and distracted and addicted and checked out.
God, that is against your will for us, and I believe things are at stake that we can't imagine, yet you imagine them, and you know them. So, I pray for your Spirit to set us free, God, and not in some magical way but in participation, choices we make every day to pursue you instead of to pursue the world, to pursue you instead of to pursue our flesh and what it craves and what it wants.
God, I pray for a holy people, set apart and blameless, not perfect but covered with the blood and living like it, believing it; God, not just saying, "Yeah, I'm a Christian," but believing that that changes everything and letting it. God, I pray against half-heartedness. I pray, God, that our whole hearts would be surrendered to you, and in any place that they're not, God, would you root it out? Would you show us? Would you help us name it?
The place that we've loved something more than you, that we've let the Enemy lie to us, that we've completely submitted to darkness in a way that is not pleasing to you. God, show us. Make it so clear where we can't shake it, and help us confess it. Help us surrender it. God, I pray for every person hearing my voice. God, would they not be apathetic. Would they walk out of here. Would they grab people by the shoulder and say, "How can I fight for you? How can I pray for you? How can I help you love Jesus more?" Would we be those kinds of people for each other.
Would we believe that you are more powerful than the Enemy who is seeking to kill, steal, and destroy us, and would we act like it. Would we go to your Word constantly, God, not even daily, but hour by hour would we be going to it constantly, because it is the only hope we have. Without it, God, we are hopeless, we are helpless, we are worthless, we are unlovable, but because of you, we are the most loved people on planet earth. So, help, God, that love go and reach out to the ends of the earth.
God, I picture everybody in here, and I'm picturing this generation, and I'm picturing us in heaven. More than anything else on earth, I want so badly for us to get up there and high-five and be like, "We left it on the field. We did everything we could to build the kingdom of God while we were here." So, anything prohibiting that in me, in us, God, take it out and help us be faithful to choose you day after day. In Jesus' name, amen.
David: You guys give it up for Jennie Allen. Thank you, Jennie. I'm just going to wrap this up, and then we're going to close in song. I think some of us in the room are in that escape room. You're in that place, and you feel stuck. I want you to know it's because you are. It may be stuck in depression. It may be stuck in anxiety. It may be stuck in a pornography addiction. It may be stuck in a really toxic relationship.
There's so much trauma from sexual abuse you've never told anybody about. It wasn't your fault, but you've never dealt with that, and now it begins to bleed out into your life. You don't trust people because of what your dad did, and you're stuck. You're in those walls, not physically but inside of your mind and inside of your life, and it's impacting the rest of your future and your current reality.
You're going to be there, and you're going to be stuck until you do what we had to do in that escape room, where you're willing to say, "I don't care. I need help. I need a clue. I need something from the outside to help me get unstuck." You go to God's Word and God's people, and do you know what you're going to find? You're going to find steps toward freedom. You don't have to stay stuck, but let me be abundantly clear: you're going to until you're willing to do what the Bible says is called surrender.
"I can't do it all on my own. I can't fight this on my own." You weren't made to fight it on your own. You were made to go to God's people, to God's Word, and say, "I need help." Tonight is a chance for you to do that. If you take those steps, your life and your future is going to change, and if you don't… Let me be clear. If you're 30, ten years from now you're going to be the same. That thing you're hiding…an eating disorder, a past abortion, shame and guilt you carry…is not going away. If anything, it may just grow and grow until you're willing to say, "I need help."
What you'll find is God, his Word, and his people come rushing in. Tonight, I wanted you to hear there are steps you can take, but you have to be willing to say, "I want to be free. I need help." Others of you are in a place where you need to know the greatest thing you need to surrender is the fact that you think you could earn a relationship with God. You've never put your faith in Jesus. In fact, you don't even know what the Bible teaches.
You think the Bible teaches good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. "I just need to be a good person. This place has pretty cool vibes, and they don't make me wear a suit in church. That's kind of cool. So I'm coming in here." You think God is angry at you and can't forgive you, that you need to read your Bible and attend church, and then he'll love you more, then you could have a relationship with him.
You have bought a lie. The Bible doesn't teach that. It teaches not good people in heaven, bad people in hell. Forgiven people go to heaven, and the only way you get forgiveness is by putting your trust not in what you have done or what you did to be the thing that keeps you in relationship with God or keeps you out of heaven with God. That has never been what Christianity teaches.
Do you know who gets to have a relationship with God? Do you know whose life begins to change? Do you know who spends eternity in heaven? People who go, "I'm not enough. I surrender. If I'm ever going to have a relationship with God, it's only because of Jesus." "I think I'm a good person. I try to be nice. I pay my taxes." Not enough! The Bible has never taught those things matter. It has never taught those things change how God feels about you.
It teaches people who say, "I am a sinner. My life is full of messed-up decisions I made. I have hurt people. I've done things I'm ashamed of, but because Jesus on that cross gave his life for me, paid for my decisions, my sin, all of those have been forgiven. God doesn't hold them against me. Any sin in my future is already forgiven, because on that cross the Son of God came to this earth, was crucified, was buried, and rose again."
Do you know what that shows? He paid for all sin ever. He conquered all sin. He even conquered death. When he rose from the grave, it's like the check cleared. The credit card went through. It was more than enough. People who accept Jesus paid for their sin are people who spend eternity with God. Those are people whose lives change.
Do you know what it takes in order to do that? It's a really hard thing. You have to say, "I need help. I can't do it on my own." And you know what? You can't, and God doesn't want you to. He has done everything he can to say, "You can't. That's why I gave my life for you." If you'll trust in that, your eternity will change, and your present reality will begin to change. Let me pray.
Father, thank you that you are more powerful than any thought pattern, any cosmic forces of darkness, any enemy in this world. You're more powerful than any evil that could take place in the hearts of people. You're more powerful than sickness, than sin, than death. You are victorious, and nothing can stand against you. You have allowed us through your Spirit the weapons to wage war in the mind.
So, I pray tonight that those who are battling anxiety would experience freedom, not just in a moment but in a day by day, moment by moment, second by second, thought by thought war by holding on to what is true, what's noble, what's pure, what's lovely, what's right; you would begin to create pathways and change the way they think and, therefore, change the way they live, and you would set people free.
I pray for those who have never put their faith in Jesus that tonight they would realize they're a sinner. They've done things that according to your Word, you say the wages of sin, or the repayment for sin, the consequences, is separation from God unless you're willing to say, "I need help, and I accept what you did for me." That they would receive the payment your Son gave, the Savior of the world, the King of Kings, and they would find rest in your hands, in your plan, in your love.
Father, all of us need your help. We have 60,000 thoughts a day, many of which, maybe most of which, are not in a direction that's leading us to the life we want. They're not captive to your Spirit. So, we ask and invite and plead that you would help us, God. Thank you that you've provided your Word and your people. Help us to go to war. We love you. In Christ's name, amen.