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Practice Makes Progress


Gwen Smith

June 6, 2016

Blog, Christian Living, Devotions, Encouragement, Prayer, Worship

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I’ve always been an athlete. As an adult, I enjoy power walking and keeping fit. Growing up, I played on different sports teams all year round, but volleyball has always been my jam.

I played volleyball in college and now I help coach my daughter’s high school team. I’ve been around this game for more than thirty years and I’ve spent more time on the court, on the sand, and on the grass playing and practicing than most people ever will.

You’d think that after all the hours invested I’d have the game perfected by now, right?

Not hardly.

There are still times when I shank a pass and have spike attempts that send the ball into the net instead of over the net. There are still times when I miss a serve.



Each mistake frustrates me. Seriously. I’m competitive and I hate to lose. No matter how much I’ve grown as a player, I’ve come to realize that when I step on the volleyball court mistakes are going to happen and there will always be opportunities for me to grow and progress in my skills. Simple as that.

And you know what? I’ve found the same to be true in my prayer life.

Do you remember that old saying “practice makes perfect?” Well, I think it’s a bunch of beans! I recently heard a phrase that better represents the reality of growth and development: practice makes progress.


Whether we’re talking about our development as athletes, as students, as a wives, as employees, or simply as women of faith – specifically, as women of prayer – we are all purposed for growth until we die.

The truth that the apostle Paul wrote about in Romans 7 still remains: we don’t do what we should do and we do what we shouldn’t. So true. Prayer, I’m afraid, is one of the “don’t dos” for many of us. We all seem to KNOW how important it is to trust God with our burdens, but many of us neglect to put this important discipline into practice.

Do you ever go the phone before you go to the throne?

Yeah. Me too.

There are times when I don’t trust God the way I should. And though I’ve been faith-walking with Him a long time, there are still a million ways that I need to grow. There will always be ways for us to grow and there will always be mistakes for us to work through.

My relationship with God grows when I pray. Yours does too.

Similarly, our trust in God grows as our relationships with Him grow.

Jesus said this, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)

Jesus counts us as his “friends.” That blows my mind! Yet, how many of us would talk to our close friends as infrequently as we talk to Jesus, our Creator and Redeemer?

Of course, it’s not like we can ignore the world around us and pray 24/7. Right? We’re still going to go to work and spend time with friends and family, but in the midst of it all, Scripture instructs us to: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

The practice of a praying life will increase our progress in faith and in trusting God.

This can translate into prayers of thankfulness and petition during power walks, time in the carpool line, while we wash laundry, and take lunch breaks. We can redeem these moments to thank God, and to pray for our children, careers, futures, frustrations, marriages, trials, and our challenges.

When we “do life” with God by exercising the spiritual discipline of prayer our faith grows.

It helps us to trust Him more.

A strong volleyball team is one that relies on each other in the game. As Christians, we have the advantage. We have God on our team. And with God on our team, we cannot fail. Seriously. If God is for us, who can stand against us? (A TWEETABLE!) We just need to talk to Him and trust him, rather than trying to play the game of life on our own.

Practice makes progress.

We will learn to trust God more as we go to Him in prayer.

Dear God,
That You would choose to call me friend is simply amazing!
Thank you that though I’m not perfect, your grace allows me to progress in faith! Please forgive me for the times when I go about my day and “do life” without You.
Help me to continuously pray and to trust You with my burdens.
In Jesus’ name, amen


FOR YOUR REFLECTION: How would you rate your prayer life on a scale from 1-10? Where would you like your prayer life to rank on that same scale? Are you willing to do anything about it? If so, what? If not, why?


FOR YOUR RESPONSE: “Add 10 Challenge” – For one week, I challenge you to add 10 minutes of prayer each day to your normal prayer routine? Will you do it? Yes? Make it public! Leave a comment/commitment below saying, “I’m in for plus ten!”


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About Gwen Smith

Gwen Smith

I am an unashamed, imperfect worshiper of Jesus Christ. I cling to His goodness to cover my mess and purpose my days to live out the hope of the Gospel. It is my joy and passion to inspire women to live fully in grace and truth. I write books, devotions and songs. I speak. I sing. I worship. I post, pin and tweet. I am intensely in love with the Word of God and believe, wholeheartedly, that the Bible is divinely inspired truth.


80 responses to “Practice Makes Progress”

  1. Cheryl says:

    I’m in for plus ten! I need to do this!
    Thanks for your inspiring devotionals.

  2. Judy says:

    How appropriate that this came up today as I have been lamenting on this for some time. I guess God wants to spend some time with me. I’m in for 10! Thank you for investing in us ladies. It’s a gift I look forward to each day as a reminder of who I am, who God is and where I need to be in life!

  3. Natalie Anise says:

    In in for plus ten

  4. Lindsay says:

    I am in for plus 10!

  5. Shirlye Jones says:

    I like that Practice for Progress. I am in for the plus 10.

  6. Sharon says:

    I’m in for plus 10. Thank you for the accountability!

  7. Shelly Easter says:

    I am in for ten

  8. Samantha Hussey says:

    I’m in for plus ten!

  9. Esther says:

    I’m in for plus 10! thank you so much for these devotionals the Lord richly bless and continue to inspire you as you inspire and encourage us through his word.

  10. Pamela Burke says:

    I’m in for plus 10! God bless you and your family!

  11. Sigrid Moehlis says:

    I am in plus 10! Blessings to you and your family and friends! In Jesus Name. Amen

  12. Tasha Joseph says:

    Just an hour before reading this I chose one way to improve my foundation of faith. To chose from some Gospel principles that will keep me protected from the forces of the advisary and I chose Prayer. Thank you Gwen for showing me one more way to improve with the sacred principle.
    I am happily and excitedly in for Plus Ten!

  13. Dawn Kuwik says:

    “I am in for 10 +++ and more.” Yes, even in that boring line at a checkout line in grocery store( I choose to do mental yoga, by praying and praising our Lord).
    It helps me be polite and friendly to an overworked and understaffed store clerk.
    I find the more I pray, the more I need to pray, for all people need each other’s prayers (each and every new day). Make life count, for all of our days are numbered, and we do not get to reset our timers to ours or others lives. So make a good lasting first and last impression of cheerfulness : Joy in knowing our Lord, and try to smile to spread peace and happiness to one another, by lending a helpful hand, heart, and mindfulness to each other’s needs.Prayer is our direct and loving communication with our Lord, without needing any mediator or interpreter for us. I love God, because He first loved me!

  14. Evelyn says:

    I’m in for plus ten

    Thank you Gwen for this

  15. Linda Lewis says:

    I am in for the 10 plus

  16. FAITH STATON says:


  17. Shelia Hammer says:

    Gwen, I’m in for plus 10!!

    I thank God that I stumbled on to Girlfriends in God, and in particular, you. I’m currently reading an amazing book… “I Want It All”!!!

    Thank you! Much love and blessings to you and your family!!

  18. Susan says:

    Yes I’m in for plus ten ?

  19. Bobbi says:

    I started about a month ago praying for individuals as I am getting ready in the mornings. When I put on my wedding ring I pray for my marriage and husband. I have three bracelets I wear everyday. One that i bought for a friend and one for myself. When i put it on i pray for that specific friend and her family and then all my friends in general. Then i have two other bracelets that represent my husband and son that are both in Law enforcement. I pray for the both individually, my sons wife and all Law enforcement in general. Then i pray for the rest of my family. It has been fun and a quick way to get everyone covered before my day gets too hectic.

  20. Hope of A Single Parent says:

    Yes! I’m in for Plus Ten!

  21. Celia says:

    Im in for the Plus 10.

  22. Kim Woods says:

    Im in

  23. Celia says:

    Im in for the Plus 10. I really feel that more focus on God and less of the worldly things is realty needed.

  24. Verla Gilliland says:

    I’m in for plus 10. I know I’ll feel better for it

  25. Rhonda says:

    “I’m in for plus ten!”

  26. rea says:

    I’m in for plus 10

  27. Naansuar says:

    I am in for plus 10

  28. Wendy Lebel says:

    I pray continually throughout the day whenever there is a need or something to praise God about. I am going to take the challenge “I’m in for 10 – plus” to spend more time diligently in the morning praying and seeking Him and his answers.. We can NEVER get enough prayer time.

  29. Dana says:

    I’m in for plus ten!!!!

  30. Dana Roscoe says:

    I’m in for plus ten!!

  31. Bonnie says:

    Rejoice always indeed! Praying and spending time with our Lord in His Word is the best place to be. Thank you Jesus! I love you!

  32. Ginny Suderman says:

    I’m in, plus ten!

  33. Colleen McHatten says:

    Hi, I am going to try my best to do plus 10 this week beginning today! Bless you,

  34. Karen Page says:

    I am in for plus ten for my practice will produce progress for the one I love!

  35. Sue randall says:

    I’m in for plus ten!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! COUNT ME IN

  36. Stephanie says:

    I’m in for ten ?.

  37. Sue randall says:

    I’m in for plus ten!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. Christine Miles says:

    ” I’m in for plus ten!”

  39. Kelly Mendez says:

    I’M in for plus 10.?

  40. Letta says:

    I’m in for plus ten

  41. Vijaya stewart says:

    ” I am in for plus ten ”
    Thank you ??????

  42. Veronica says:

    I’m in for plus ten! To be honest, God is the only one I trust completely for He is infallible. I know His ways are not my way and His thoughts are above my thoughts. With this knowledge I do have trouble understanding at times what happens in life but that is when I know I must trust Him completely knowing what He is doing in our lives is for His glory, not our own. That’s when trust is most certainly tested. But that’s okay, that’s when I’m in for plus ten more. I cannot and would not want to imagine life without my sweet Lord.

  43. Renette says:

    “I’m in for plus ten!” Absolutely

  44. Tina Brown says:

    I’m in for plus ten.

  45. Karen Anderson says:

    I’m in for plus 10!

  46. Good morning ladies,
    My name is Kimberly and i am in for plus 10. Thank you so much Gwen for brining this challenge to lufe. It is exactly what i needed. I am blessed to be part of this challenge , as well as GIG!
    God Bless

  47. Angie says:

    I am in the 10 plus team , thank you .

  48. Olivia Maultsby says:

    I’m in for ten

  49. CynFay says:

    I’m in for plus 10, and your book that I have started recently, Trusting God, has given me good head-start. Thank you for writing that book, it is just what I needed.

  50. Linda says:

    I’m in for ten! For sure.

  51. Nikki P says:

    Gwen, You are such a blessing. You don’t know how much this was meant for me to read. It was an honor to meet you at the Bay Leaf Baptist retreat. The Lord spoke to me almost hourly through you and the women of Bay Leaf. Thank you!

  52. Sayako says:

    Hi Gwen, I really liked this one because it showed me that I am on fire…..Lol Girlfriend I am pass the number 10. I talk to God through out my day. For the smallest thing to the biggest thing. God is my 24/7 and through doing this conversation with our Heavenly Father my faith as grow by leaps and bounds! I watch TBN channel everyday and I am learning so much on top of what I already know. God is my “first priority” in my life! Nothing comes before our Heavenly Father…And I am witnessing His greatness everyday bu putting Him first. I told a lady one day at my daughter’s school that I pray first thing in the morning everyday and she said her first thing is checking her wall on Facebook…..lol I see where alot of people place prayer second or third or fourth,. But I tell you what if you go to your “friend” more on a regular basis amazing things start to happen…Can I get a Amen…;)

  53. Jerlin Simmons says:

    I am in the 10 plus team

  54. Amy DeSonia says:

    I’m in for plus 10!

  55. Kelly says:

    I am for plus ten

  56. Danielle says:

    I’m in for plus ten

  57. Dawn VanVolkinburg says:

    I’m in for plus ten! Thank you for sharing your great stories!

  58. liz says:

    In for plus 10 …Hallelujah. .

  59. liz says:

    Im in….GOD knows all things…I need to strengthen my prayer life. ..THANK YOU for this encouragement ….. GOD BLESS.

  60. Victoria Jusme says:

    Bless your heart Gwen,you are truly spreading the word of God,thank you so much.I am sooooo in for plus ten.Thank you Jesus!

  61. Olivia says:

    I’m I for plus ten.

  62. Child of the One True King says:

    I’m Definitely in for Plus 10!!! You can never pray too much!! Love and appreciate your devotionals!!!

  63. Rita says:

    I’m in for plus ten.

  64. Diane Torres says:

    I’m in for plus 10

  65. keturah simpson says:

    Just love this share today! I’m in for 10 but who’s counting right?!! God is showing me that our time doesn’t have to be always 45mins or 10mins but that a quick 3mins in the supermarket queue is just as relevant. As you put it, in our power walks, while doing laundry…etc. Thanks so much!

  66. Mary House Massey says:


  67. Jan says:


    I absolutely loved your devotional today! The Lord and I have been discussing prayer all week and how we believers take it for granted. It is such a privilege to be able to go into the presence of our Lord and communicate with Him. He has been helping me to see this and realize that we should be doing it so much more than we are (or should I say that I need to be doing it more than I am). I am in for plus ten! Thanks so much!

  68. donna.dbpbd says:

    I’m in for plus ten!!!!!

  69. Heather Stokes says:

    I loved most when in the prayer you said, “You’re grace allows me to progress in my faith.” How true I’ve found that to be even more just recently. Thank you. I also love, “Practice makes progress (instead of perfect).” What a powerful statement!!!! 🙂

  70. Heather Stokes says:

    Love this!!! “I’m in for plus ten.” And I’m excited!!!

  71. Michelle says:

    I am in for ten. Giving God ten more is a privilege!
    Wow “practice is progress”, I receive that declaration.

  72. Joanne Peterson says:

    I love the phrase “practice makes progress!” I’m in for plus ten.

  73. fiona says:

    I’m in for plus ten

  74. Cynthia says:

    “I’m in for plus ten!”

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