Mary DeMuth is a writer and speaker who loves to help people live re-storied lives. She's the author of more than 30 Christian living books and is extremely passionate about prayer! It was such an honor to sit down and talk with her after hearing her speak years ago at a conference.
Mary speaks around the country and the world and is the host of the popular daily podcast Pray Every Day, where she prays for you every day of the year. She is the wife of Patrick and the mom of three adult children, currently living in Texas.
To connect with Mary and see the resources mentioned in the show, click here!
Mary, I love how big of a role prayer plays in your writing, your speaking and your podcasting. And so I'm super excited to have you today to share with listeners about. Just how God developed this in you and gave you a heart to speak into prayer in the lives of your listeners and readers. So would you talk to us a little bit about how that started and developed in you?
Right. So I think it actually, that's a really great question. I think it started the moment I met Jesus. I was 15 years old and everything started with a prayer. So the whole relationship with Jesus, I didn't know anything about him. Um, it was completely a shock to my system to even learn about Jesus or to hear stories about him.
I didn't understand that he had anything to do with Christmas or Easter. I was completely unchurched and also a traumatized kid with lots of baggage, sexual abuse, lots of it. Um, divorce of, of, uh, mom, a couple of times and lots of abandonment, drug abuse in the home, unsafe places. I mean, just all the things that could happen to a little kid, uh, happened to me.
So by the time I was 15, I. I right before that I was ready to take my life. But then I started to go to young life and I started hearing the gospel. And so I met him at a weekend camp and I said, would you be the dad that will never leave me? Because by that time my biological father had died and that really just began this long.
Decades, long journey of prayer and really honest prayer. I never, because I didn't grow up in a church, I didn't have like, Oh, this is how you're supposed to do it. Or, you know, you have to say it this way. So, so start off with a conversation and. I also had the opportunity in college, as you can imagine with all that trauma, I was just falling apart all the time.
And once I was out of my unsafe environment and, uh, the lion's share of my healing that God has done. And I'm still in the process of course, but was because people that I knew loved me and. And lay their hands on me and they prayed for me. And so this power of prayer was at the very beginning of my Christian life.
And I saw a do miracles in my own heart through not just my own prayers, but through the prayers of other people. Yeah, I love that. And a few years back, which is so fun to think back on now, I heard you speak at the, she speaks conference, which is one of our favorite events and you gave away your book Jesus, every day in the session that I attended.
And that was such a sweet gift. And I remember coming home and just kind of implementing that into my quiet time over the year that followed. So it's a for listeners it's a year long. Prayer book, and it's just a really sweet resource. I've loved it. And would you just tell listeners a little bit about this book and how God put the idea on your heart?
Every book has a journey I fully believe in, so I always love hearing writers tell theirs. Well, it had a couple instances where I'd written some devotionals for, um, for other entities, just not under my own name. And I knew that it was something I wanted to do, but. I think I kind of started not to dis um, the, uh, what's the Jesus calling not to diss it, but, um, but to, I know what is how that book was really resonating with people.
And Jesus was saying stuff to people in that book. Um, and I thought, wouldn't it be interesting. And wouldn't it be instructive and helpful to have people respond to scriptures and say stuff to Jesus about that scripture. So to pray scripture back to Jesus. And so the format of Jesus everyday starts from Genesis or something from every book of the Bible.
Sometimes a couple of times for each one, um, from Genesis all the way to revelation. So you get the whole council of scripture in a year. But it's a prayer that you pray back to Jesus. And it is if you're, you're kind of struggling in your thought, in your thought life, of course, but also in your prayer life, this is a really good way to frame your prayers and to kind of give you permission to be really honest in your personal life.
Yeah. Yeah. I love it. And you also host a podcast as well called the prey everyday podcast, which I love. So will you tell listeners about that and how they can incorporate it into their quiet time and into their prayer life? Yeah. So this was interesting. Um, I have a mastermind group, a writer mastermind group, and we meet, uh, every other week during the year on zoom.
Hello. And, uh, and then which we all are very familiar with zoom right now, soon everything's soon. But, uh, we also meet in real life once a year and right after Jesus everyday came out. I was kind of at a loss as to what should I do to, I loved that book and I really wanted it to give, I wanted it to get into people's hands.
And, uh, the mastermind group actually came up with the idea of you should start a podcast where you pray for people every day, according to scripture. And I was like, that's a dumb idea because wow, that's a lot of work, but as I sat with it and the Lord kind of messed with me about it, I was like, that sounds right up my alley.
I love to pray. And, um, So this pray everyday show gave me the opportunity to read scripture and pray for people everyday for about five minutes. So super simple. Um, right now we're going through the whole book of acts. So I read about 10 scripts, 10 verses a day, and then I pray according to those verses for my listeners.
So it's not just me praying to God about myself. Um, although I'm sure that happens once in a while, but it's really about me praying for you. Based on the scripture themes that we're covering and that Diana of course, in the book of acts, it's just like so awesome. Like please provide for us the way you've provided for them.
Please do miracles through us the way you did through them. Please heal my broken body. Please heal my broken mind, all those things. Um, come to bear when you're reading through scripture. Yeah, that's so great. I love that. You're doing that. And yes, you're right. It is a lot of work. I always salute my friends that have a daily podcast because I know how much it is to produce something we do once a week.
And, uh, well I say we, because I always like to talk in community type words, but I'm a one man show. So I, I understand the work that that requires. So I love that you do that though. I think it's, it's so helpful and. Just glad that God's using it in that way. And so I love going back to what you said when we opened just about how.
You know, you didn't grow up in a church where you didn't grow up with these very structured, memorized, almost type prayers. You just, you just start talking to God. Right. And so I'd love for you to encourage listeners that maybe feel intimidated by even a phrase like praying every day, or maybe they are a new believer or they're trying to.
Still figure out these rhythms of being a Jesus follower. How would you encourage that person? Well, my favorite prayer to pray is really simple and it's just, I can't, you can help. So that's five words you can say, and it really pretty much. Um, you know, caps encapsulates our lives. We can't do it on our own.
He can help us and help. Um, so that's very simple. Uh, you don't have to have any sort of highfalutin language. Really. I think the hurdle that a lot of people have to get over is. Is the fact that God already knows it all. Um, so part of you being like, well, he already knows, so why would I say it? Um, but then some people may be thinking, well, if I say it out loud, then it becomes really real.
So both of those things, um, Can be kind of accomplished if you, uh, realize that he does know it all, but he wants to be in communion with you. It's it's like if you have children and your child suddenly stops talking to you, you know, something's wrong. And once they talk to you about it, the relationship has the opportunity to be restored versus if they give you the silent treatment treatment.
And if we've been in marriages, but. We either of us have played the silent treatment with each other. I'm sure that hasn't happened to you, but it's happened to me. It's a very, uh, it's a very dismissive part of relationship. It means that I don't care enough about you to communicate with you. And so, um, to cultivate, you have to think of prayer as this relationship to cultivate that you're simply letting God know as if he was your very best friend, the things that are on your heart.
That's that's as simply as I can put it. Yeah, I love it. I, it makes me think of this story that my husband told in a sermon, not that long ago, but he had heard a story of someone running a marathon and. The guy was asked after the fact somebody had observed him kind of chanting this phrase and they thought, well, maybe, you know, it was he praying, you know, what was he saying to himself, those last few miles of the race?
And he said, yeah, I was praying. And I, all I was saying to God was. God, you pick up my feet and I'll put them down, you pick them up and I'll put it down. And that was just such a real example. I think my husband was talking about endurance and just praying through those seasons of endurance. And I just love that picture of, you know, it was so simple, but God, you pick up my feet and I'll put them down, you pick them up, I'll put them down.
And anyway, what you said, just kind of made me think of that story. So w. How would you encourage someone who feels that maybe their prayer life has gotten stale or maybe even distracted? I think we've all had maybe those, those seasons or those moments when that happened. So how would you encourage somebody in that place?
Yeah, that's really good. I I'm going to back up to the story your husband told because I ran a half marathon and my last mile was just, please don't let me die. I thought I was going to die and I didn't die. Cause I'm still here, but it wasn't like pick up my feet. Just don't let me die. Um, but yes, uh, I think a lot of us go through stages and we, we also need to offer ourselves some grace, because if you're like me, um, you can be your own best critic.
You can be very hard on yourself and you can beat yourself over the head for being the worst prayer every ever. And, um, that doesn't encourage you to pray it. Discourages you more and the longer you go between praying the harder it seems to get to do. So, cause you kind of have to accomplish so much, but you know, right now in this moment you can come clean.
If you feel like you have a sin that's been bothering you or nagging at you. This moment, this very moment that I'm talking, you can say, I'm sorry. I repent. I'm please forgive me. Please restore the joy of my salvation. Please set my feet upon a rock, making my footsteps from, um, again, the only thing I can really say is, uh, It's just about being honest with God.
If you feel like your prayer life has become stale, you might try a different Avenue for praying. So you can write it down in a journal. Sometimes that really helps me because then I can look back on it a lot easier than kind of vaguely. Remember that I prayed for this one thing and now it's kind of answered, but I never got to celebrate cause I never wrote it down.
Um, Or taking a walk alone and just having that be your time of prayer. And nowadays it's okay. You can talk out loud and people don't think you're weird anymore. So you can actually say your prayers out loud in nature, which is really, really lovely. And then another thing I would encourage you to do, if you have any sort of artistic bent, or even if you don't want us to illustrate them too.
Um, that was kind of the thing that started me on this. This adventure of, I have an Etsy shop now where I used to, and I still do do a piece of art every day for lent. And it was really my way of praying my way through those 40 days and preparing my heart for Jesus and the message of Christ. And I'm putting them down in a pictorial way.
Really. Enlivened my prayer life. And so pay attention to the ways that God has creatively made you. Uh, maybe you, maybe you pray better through worship and just singing out loud as your prayer. I do that when there was church, um, when there's a couple of people in my life who have strayed from the Lord, And I, sometimes as I'm worshiping, I will sing their names into the song as a prayer to bring them back home.
So there's all sorts of creative ways that you can revitalize your prayer life, love, prayer journaling as well. Just, it's so neat to look back and, you know, read through old prayer journals that, you know, I wrote when I was in high school or college or just a totally different season and just. I don't know, it just creates such a heart of gratitude in me to watch how God has met me in those times.
Or, you know, the best example I can think of is my whole adult life, at least, well, probably starting in high school, over different seasons. I prayed for my future spouse and. And I recorded a lot of those prayers. And when we got married, I married my husband, Dustin, last may. We just celebrated our first anniversary this week.
And, um, I was able to, I ripped out all those prayers from all the notebooks I could find when we got engaged and I made this wooden box for him. And that was part of his wedding gift. And it was just so sweet. To look back and read over all of those things that I either prayed for him or prayed myself, you know, that God would develop in me as his future spouse and.
Um, you know, whatever that is that you're seeking God for whatever season you're in. I think that it is powerful as, as you said, there's many ways to pray. There's many ways to, um, you know, whether it's in nature or praying out loud or in a prayer journal, but journaling has always been really special to me.
So I love that you mentioned that. So in your every day life, What does your prayer life look like? And sort of your quiet time with God look like these days. So I know a lot of our listeners. Are in some place of ministry. Right? So a lot of us are creating content if you will, which is a buzz word. So, you know, maybe we're riding or we're podcasting speaking.
So you prep for all these things. But I think there's maybe a tendency sometimes in those places for there to not just be that, that time, that you're just sitting still with God, just to be in his presence. Right. So how do you strike that balance and what does that look like in your life? Great question.
Um, I have gone through seasons of this where the, you know, when I first became a Christian, I learned about the quiet time and I did it. And, and then there were times of motherhood where it was just like, I can't, you can help kind of thing. Or I was trying to grab it when I could. Um, and then there've been times of deep, long study.
Um, recently I've been reading the Bible rapidly, like in two or three months in a chronological format. And that has been really great for me. Or I had a book that just came out called outrageous grace every day to prepare for that. That's going through the whole book of Romans in 90 days as a devotional.
And in order to do that, I read the book of Romans. Every day for 90 days and that's, it takes 44 minutes if you're a fast reader. Um, but that kind of rapid reading of scripture has been really great for me lately. Um, just absorbing, absorbing, absorbing, and understanding the whole narrative and story of scripture.
But in the past couple months, I've kind of returned back to that morning time where I, um, I read the scripture. I write down something I'm grateful for. I write down something God's teaching me and then I actually physically get on my knees and I pray the thing that has made it so amazing the past couple months is that I've been grabbing my iPhone with me while I'm praying on my knees.
And if God brings someone to mind, I just record a prayer for them while I'm on my knees. And I sent it to them in the morning and that has enlivened my. My wife and my heart more than anything else of late, because I just know God has placed them on my heart. He loves him so much. And wouldn't it be fun to receive a prayer from someone else just knowing God is mindful of you.
Right. And so it's just brought me great delight. It's such a joy to serve people in prayer that way. And so that's the thing I've been doing lately. Wow. I love that. I'm going to have to try that sometime. I know, you know, how encouraging it's been to me when God's brought me to mind to somebody else. And, you know, you even just to hear, you know, I specifically prayed this for you today or something like that is such an encouragement, but to gosh, get, you know, an audio file of that, that would be such an encouragement.
So I love that idea. That's great. Okay. So I'm going to take a hard right turn because I, because of something that somebody recommended to me a couple of weeks ago, so I'm actually in the process of navigating through writing my first book proposal. Well, not my first book proposal, but my first good book proposal, or you begin, I'll be good.
Who knows? You have the world's best template for both. Do I do? Hey, so we have a ton of writers that listened to the show, speakers, writers, those kind of people are kind of people. So will you tell listeners just about your writing career? You've written like 87 million books, right? Like what are, what are you up to these days?
In terms of number, is it 40, 43? Wow. Yeah. So my 43rd book comes out this summer. That is incredible. So are as, okay, let me go back to the template. And then I want to hear about the new book. When did you decide like. Somebody needs this resource. People actually get this right? Like how did all that happen?
Yeah. So I started off my career as a novelist, primarily I, I consider myself a novelist mostly, but most of my recent books have been nonfiction just because that's what the market is bearing right now. And one of the reasons I didn't want to write nonfiction was that I didn't want to write one of those stupid proposals because they were so impossible to me and they seemed.
Terrible. So I just gotten a, well, when I first was agency back in 2004, I was writing a parenting column for a local newspaper and I got paid $25 a column, which was awesome for me. And my husband was going to seminary at the time. I'm Andy at Dallas. And, uh, he, we were poor. So any money that came in it was awesome.
Anyway, uh, my agent said you should write a parenting book. And I was like, you're the dumbest agent ever? I didn't say that. But I grew up in this crazy home. Right. I didn't know how to parent, I didn't know anything about Parenthood. I, all I did was just get on my knees and cry a lot because I didn't know what I was doing.
But he kept bothering me about it. And eventually I said, well, I feel the book I'll write is for those of us who don't want to duplicate the homes that we were raised in, he said, do you need to write that book? And I was like, Oh, I've got to write a proposal. Well, the real hero of the story is my friend, Leslie.
She later went on to co-write the polygamous daughter with Ana LeBaron. She's a great writer. And she had a template. She had her own proposal that she had written and she. Just lent it to me so that I could at least see what it looks like. And so I was able to craft that proposal. And then I got another call from my agent saying, I need another proposal for a parenting devotional, which became ordinary mom, extraordinary God, which is a mom devotional.
And, uh, he said it was a Friday when he said that and he said, I needed on Monday. It's like, okay. You just learned to say, okay, when you're first out writing. So anyway, um, I decided to help other writers cause it was such a nice thing for Leslie to do for me. So at my website writer, mastermind.com, you can pick those up.
They're really inexpensive. So you can get a nonfiction proposal tutorial for 10, and then you can get the template for three. The template won't make much sense unless you get the. Tutorial. So the templates in a word doc, so you just it's associate everything to do and you just fill it out. Um, but that's kind of the story of all of that.
It's kind of a long roundabout story, but that's the story. I love it. I love it. Well, I know that that has helped so many writers along the years. So I personally just so appreciate that you, that you're willing to share. So that's a cool story that I know where it came from. So tell us what, I guess you can tell us about book number 43.
I'm excited. I'm not sure which one is 43. There's two kinds of buying. And I haven't heard when one of them is releasing, but the one that I'm excited about, well, I'm excited about both one's fiction, one's nonfiction, but the nonfiction is related to the podcast and it's simply called pray every day. And it's 90 days of looking at EV almost every prayer of the Bible.
And then, um, You know, working out, what are those, what do they mean? What does this mean in terms of my own prayer life? And, um, so I'm excited about that's coming out with harvest house this summer. Awesome. We will be on the lookout for that. That's super exciting. So the last question that I ask every guest, it's my favorite question, because every answer is so different and that is what is the best piece of advice that you've ever been given?
You know, as I saw that question, I. I couldn't necessarily think of a, and that told me something that I was gardening one day and I was looking at the vast, I don't have a big yard, but just looking at all the weeds and the whole yard. And, um, I was overwhelmed and I felt the Lord say to me too small and tend to large.
And that has been such a great spiritual practice, but also a great practice in my writing career. Sometimes we can look at the yard of our life and see all the weeds and just. Like scattershot it in, you know, I pick a weed here, pick a weed over there, but it never seems to get done and there's no satisfaction in it.
And we don't really dig in and get what we need to get done. And so on that day, I just chose a three by three foot area of dirt and tended the heck out of it. And there was so much joy in tending the heck out of that. Three by three. And then every time I walked by it, I was very satisfied. And so I think there's some really beautiful applications to our lives that we choose.
We go smaller, but we cultivate that one small place really, really well. Find your niche, find your place where God has, has you, and really tend to it. Well, That is wonderful advice. So Mary tell listeners where they can stay in touch with you. You get all of your books, all that good stuff. Um, my books are every anywhere books are sold.
Uh, you can find out more about me on Mary demeter.com. I do right or masterminds. I've both of the new ones are closed, but the new ones coming up in September, you can firstname.lastname@example.org also has all those products we talked about. Um, Pray every day.show is the podcast. And, um, I think that's it.
Yeah, I've got other websites, but those are the main ones. Awesome. Very cool. Well, Mary, thank you for being my guest today. This was so much fun. It's been my pleasure. Thank you.