5 Reasons Why Prayer is More Than Bringing Requests to God | alyssajhoward.com

5 Reasons Why Prayer is More Than Bringing Requests to God

We talk a lot about prayer requests in church. We pray for our loved ones, our country, ourselves, and the list goes on. But here’s a part of us that knows we are called to make prayer more personal… to use this time to not just ask God for things, but to thank Him for His blessings and to spend time in His presence. Jesus is regularly seen in the Gospels praying and seeking after His Father’s heart. This is why prayer is essential to our faith. It’s our direct line of communication to God. Continue Reading

Training for the Hills: When Life Feels Like an Uphill Battle

As a runner, it is important to never give up on the hills. Stay steady, maintain your form, and you will reach the top. The same is true in life.

Hill training can be very intimidating for the novice runner. Because I spend most of my time running indoors on a treadmill, I sometimes forget about hill training altogether. Training is essential, however, when it comes to tackling hills. Whether going uphill or downhill, both present a new set of challenges. And these challenges help us to grow as athletes – both mentally and physically. Continue Reading

A Question of Identity: Who Are You Really? | alyssasjhoward.com

A Question of Identity: Who Are You Really?

Are you a follower of Christ? It’s a simple yes or no question. In Matthew chapter 26, it was a question that Peter couldn’t answer. Of all people, one would think that a disciple of Jesus could have answered that question with ease. He had walked and talked with Jesus. He had witnessed all of his miracles and teachings. Yet when put to the test, he failed. Peter could not identify himself as one of Christ’s followers. Continue Reading

True Love is Patient (even when we don't want to be) | alyssajhoward.com

True Love is Patient (even when we don’t want to be)

1 Corinthians 13 is known as the Bible’s “love” chapter. You may have heard it quoted at weddings… Christian and non-Christian alike. The chapter gives us a long list of character traits that true love exhibits. One thing I find particularly interesting about this passage is that the very first attribute listed is patience. (Everyone’s favorite – right?) Yes, true love is patient, which makes the opposite true as well. A lack of patience means we are not operating in love. Continue Reading

Facing Criticism in a World that Loves to Criticize | alyssajhoward.com

Facing Criticism in a World that Loves to Criticize

Criticism happens. Occasionally it can be a positive or constructive tool in our lives; but more often than not, it ends up leading to hurt feelings and defensive emotions. In school, our teachers critique the homework we submit. In the workplace, our boss is criticizing our job performance. At home, our friends and family critique the choices we make in life. Facing criticism is simply a part of life, and we must learn to handle it with grace and understanding. Continue Reading

Church... Do I Really Need to Go Every Week? | alyssajhoward.com

Do I Really Need to Go to Church Every Week?

This question is becoming more and more common in today’s culture. I grew up in church my whole life, and as a believer, attending church simply came with the territory. I never questioned going because I believed that it was something Christians were fundamentally called to do… much like prayer and reading the Bible. It wasn’t until I started attending a public high school (and left the comfort of my Christian private school) that I started meeting people who claimed Christianity but didn’t see the need to attend a weekly church service. This threw me for a loop. Honestly, I knew that going to church didn’t make you a Christian. I just didn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to go to church. Continue Reading