Den Sessions

Weekly devotional worship recordings from my den.

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Joanna May - Den Sessions 1 - July 2015

I'm starting a new concept which is "Den Sessions" and they are what it sounds like: devotional worship sessions from my den after my kids go to bed. I'm expecting to be able to do maybe one a week, not sure how long they'll be, but I'd love to have you follow along.

This first one has some real awkward moments. I'm a little rusty and there are also dynamics like wearing headphones. In this 30-minute segment, I struggle a bit. I don't have a music stand, so I loose all my papers. Twice. I didn't get a good seat on the keyboard and my right hand starts cramping after a while. It's also hard initially to get in a prophetic flow of worship by oneself. I struggle for words and phrasing, and am also noticeably out of practice for spontaneous singing.

But despite all that, I really enjoyed it. I felt the presence of the Lord, and was really ministered to. I didn't quite get out of my mouth what I was receiving from the Lord very articulately, but it's along the lines of:
We ask the Lord to refine us and make us holy as He is holy, and then life happens to us. (In my case, I was thinking about career, the chaos of children and household maintenance, etc.) and we somehow think that that 'life happeneing' is either an indication of our personal failure or a confirmation that Lord didn't hear our prayers, when in actuality THAT is His method to bring about His purposes within us, to refine us, to make us like Him. It doesn't come in the grandeur, it comes in the mundane, the exhausting, the disappointing, the enduring.
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Joanna May - March 2012 Devo

in Intimacy with Jesus
1-hour devo from March 2012. Mostly spontaneous singing on grace, freedom from striving, "new creation" identity.

John Sheasby - Hebrews 1: Heirs

in Spiritual Life
John Sheasby has more teaching materials on his website: - I have provided this mp3 here as a way to quickly link to it as it is so powerful!

Joanna May - May 14 Devo

This is an almost 2-hour recording of a devotional worship session at the International House of Prayer on May 14, 2011 at 2PM. Mostly spontaneous worship songs, and thoughts, I sing about the Lord freeing us from the opinions and judgments of man - how even the prophet Samuel evaluated David initially by his outward appearance, but how the Lord looks at the heart. There is a mini-ministry time for people listening to relinquish pain from leaders not recognizing their calling or destiny, and to again be anointed with the oil of God, and a destiny that no man can take away.

I really enjoyed this set, and the Lord spoke to me personally through it quite a bit. I hope you enjoy it.

31 Jan 2011

The Aching, Sobbing, Heartbreak of Longing

in Intimacy with Jesus

A few nights ago, I was playing my piano and singing and worshiping when suddenly it hit me: the aching, sobbing, heartbreak of longing. I started crying, "What if I never get there in God. What if my lifestyle, my job, the way I spend my time, my house, my spouse, my dogs, my apathy, lethargy and laziness, the weakness of my frame, the cares of this life, and all the things that could, get in the way of my pursuit of the Lord!"

My husband found me there in a puddle over my piano and held me while I sobbed.

Days later, the overwhelming emotions of the moment are gone, but the constant desire to be near to the Lord remains along with lingering questions about how to go about that, and fears that it may never happen.

I am going to be 26 in a month, and I remember like yesterday when I moved to the House of Prayer almost nine years ago. I was a wide-eyed 17-year-old looking upon that time of my life as the commencement of my pursuit for the knowledge of God. I remember vividly our prayer room "day of consecration" in our internship. My friend Abbie and I sat beside each other for 12 hours, and at the end of our day, we were crying and still weren't ready to leave. It was a precious time where every sermon contained some nugget of revelation that I was eager to receive, when all I wanted was to be like Mary of Bethany wasting my life at the feet of Jesus. When I imagined myself 10 years later, it was such a glorious thing because surely I would be so close to the Lord.

The years have been good, but they've also been hard. I've learned a lot of things, and much of it has been the hard way. I've learned that a ministry didn't save me, Jesus did, therefore I live for Him alone. I've learned that people make mistakes, and the mercy I don't give is the mercy I don't get (thank you Kevin Prosch). I've learned that just because I have a particular gifting, or personality, everyone else doesn't have to suffer because of it. I discovered that I didn't miss out on anything by pursuing Jesus instead of college, or my career, relationships or influence. I didn't miss a blessed thing.

I've gone through financial debt, depression, health problems, broken heart, being completely misunderstood, making an ass of myself, and feeling totally disqualified from the call of God. I've also experienced healing, restoration, deliverance, supernatural encounters, favor and provision.

I have learned so much about the end times (Escatalogy) and the theology of Jesus (Christology), I've gained immense practical ministry experience, led worship for countless hours in corporate worship settings with full band, and by myself in prophetic spontaneous worship, I've prayed for people and have seen them healed of physical ailments and delivered from real demons. I've had dreams, and seen them play out on the news, and I've given specific words that have come to pass. And I know countless others just like me. And the frightening reality is that dozens who have experienced the very same thing now find themselves in a stagnant form of religion denying the power of God that is available. And I really really really don't want that to be me.

What I'm most worried about isn't sin necessarily. I've been in sin before, I'll probably (although hopefully not) be there again, but whatever that sin was, it always ate at me. My conscience troubled me into repentance. Willful disobedience to the Lord is just really a very unpleasant experience. No, what I am more worried about is the complacency of the mundane. For me, the great difficulty is faithfulness - no more than just faithfulness, more like taking ground in the day-to-day.  When you're living out your life, most of the time it just doesn't seem that glorious. Most of the time, I feel like my life consists of working, laundry, cooking, cleaning, trying to remember something I wanted to do or was supposed to do, more cleaning, working on the house, letting dogs outside, and back inside. When I do get a chance to read my Bible, pray deliberately, and worship, much of the time I feel like I'm fighting with my brain to get some space back to devote to the Lord, and trying not to simultaneously make my grocery list.  I want to be watchful that the complacency of the mundane doesn't drown out my passion for the Lord!

There are many scriptures that deal specifically with this issue, I will just list a few that bring my attention to the reality that many people will become jaded with life, their love for Jesus will grow cold, they will worry and be consumed with anxiety, and the pursuit of wealth.

  • "Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap" Luke 21:34
  • "Because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold."  Matthew 24:12
  • "The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful." Matthew 13:22

and like I said, I really really really don't want that to be me. (Part of me wants to detour briefly to the subject about how the Humanity of Jesus gives so much dignity to our own often mundane human experience, but I'm going to save that one for another blog post.) For now, I'll leave you with this message from Dana Candler from a few weeks ago about Renewing our Pursuit for the Knowledge of God, which is what I'm doing right now too.  I'm not giving up on that desire of fellowship and abiding with the Lord, and neither should you.

08 Dec 2010

My Personal Restoration

in Favorite Musings
I went out to our backyard today with the puppies and took a look at our yard. If you've ever seen the movie, Secret Garden, then you can imagine what it looks like - it's the "before" shot. We moved into our house over 7 months ago - just days before our wedding (something I don't recommend to couples) and realized very soon that our house had been vacant for some time. Turns out, it was around 18 months.

The Friday we walked in, there was a green film of mold on almost everything, it was musty, dusty and humid. The outside wasn't much better. If you drive by, you can still see that our house has an animal print paint job, with patches here and there. Our acre yard was positively overgrown with all sorts of trees, bushes, weeds, ivy, and grape vines. There were frightening out-buildings, and penned enclosures on each side, and a few of the trees had died and looked like corpses standing in the yard. Our gutters leaked, flooding our basement with 7 inches of water in the first rainstorm.

We spent much of the summer trying to get this house in shape. Tearing down 6-foot fences, hauling out an old trailer, burning brush and a rotten wood pile, clearing out railroad ties along the fence (how Jason and our puppy discovered the yellow jackets). We scaled the roof, replaced appliances, and a toilet, removed layers of wallpaper, patched and painted walls, pulled up carpeting, and removed cupboards. We learned a little about plumbing and carpentry, stain removal and upholstery, painting and refinishing. About enough to get us in some serious trouble.

Some days our house looks pretty good, in a certain light, but sometimes the cleaning and renovation just makes a bigger mess for the time being (like what I've currently done to our hall bathroom).

But working on this, our very own house, has given me such a greater appreciation for the necessity of the progression of time to bring about change. It just doesn't happen overnight. I see it's application not just in our house and our yard, but in my life too. Sometimes I feel like my internal development and this house are running parallel.

Being married has brought about a whole slew of new "things" I have to deal with in my heart. Some good things, innumerable not-so-good. I knew that would be the case, but we were so stressed leading up to our wedding, it was easy to look to that date, May 1, as the day that would make everything in our lives finally land in perfect harmony. We didn't realize that it would be the day we had to really start working for it.

I so wanted to be the perfect wife, with the perfect heart responses at all times, proficient in cooking and cleaning, kind and compassionate, angelic really. I tell J, I had these expectations that we'd spend our evenings before a roaring fire playing chess, or reading aloud some classic literature and the Bible. That we'd get up early and watch the sun rise, have matching tool belts and twin drills to renovate our house together at every opportunity, work together to hone our cooking skills. We'd mature into these well-rounded people basically overnight. In our perfect house, where there lives a perfect couple, who are individually perfect people. Surprisingly, it hasn't happened quite like that.

I am pretty impatient. I've prayed that the Lord would help me be that Proverbs 31 woman that all of us are supposed to be on Day 1 of marriage. I wanted the Lord to look at my life, make a calculated inventory of my weaknesses, and in a clean sweep, make them all go away, so that I can live the rest of my years in a state of perfection, kind of like Enoch you know. Slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean.

It's hard for me to have grace for the process, whether it's for myself or for J.May, or for anyone else really. It's so much easier to be absolutely black and white, impatient and legalistic. But I'm realizing that, apart from a few miraculous and instantaneous moments of breakthrough, which are wonderful and I would like more of, most of the work of the Lord in our lives is a process. The problem comes not that He is unfaithful to continue the work of sanctification, but when we grow weary in well doing and in perseverance, and we slip back into our old patterns. We give up on the process because we're looking for some arrival point. But when the destination becomes the city whose Builder and Maker is God instead of an arbitrary point where our spiritual and emotional maturity reach a high point, that's when we can really relax and trust Him.

For me, the challenge is not simply to let the Lord love me, but to let Him take His time. To learn to be patient with myself at my own weaknesses while He goes room by room as a Master Craftsman restoring the brokenness. To not give up when He opens a closet and I see all the clutter inside, or works on the wall to discover 3 layers of ugly wallpaper. To trust Him when He has to take the axe to 37 trees in my garden that have become a nuisance. And when I look back over the last 7 months and look at the progress we've made in this house, (and also see the mess of our hall bathroom) I'm reminded that in time, I'll look back upon myself right now, and see all the glimmers of my own personal restoration.

John Sheasby - Pursue Life


This is a radical message that still challenges the way I think about kingdom living. More from John at

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