Friday, April 19, 2019

A Good Friday prayer of praise and thanks

Dear Jesus Christ,

Thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice--
for accepting the call as Savior of the world.

You took on human likeness, when you were God himself,
and subjected yourself to human pain and suffering.
You loved us so much that you took our sins on yourself
and felt them--held-them--
and died in them, after a day and a night of torture, abuse, and abandonment.

It was all wrong--all unjust--
and yet you agreed to it because you loved us.

You did that for me.

Thank you.
I can only feel overwhelmed by your love
and convicted by your grace.
I am so unworthy you.

And you so patiently wait for me,
call me,
and protect me,
even when I don't answer and don't want you.

Oh, Lord Jesus!
I love you more every day,
but I will never understand the depth of your love for me.

I worship you.
Amen.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Second-most popular prayer

What kind of prayer do you pray most often?

Requests, probably. Me, too.

Requests are my website's most-clicked on kind of prayer. It seems we're all looking for the right way to ask God to help us.

Guess what the second-most popular prayer is?

Lamentation.

I love that. I have an audience of grievers and groaners. Praise God.

Learning to lament has been one of the most impactful aspects of my spiritual growth. Instead of crying in sorrow, lamenting teaches you to cry out to God (that's the literal meaning of lament). Lamentation is faith in action, maybe even more than when I make a request.

When I lament, I dump my heavy burdens, my grief, and my hopelessness at God's feet and say something like,

"I don't know what you're doing in my life right now, but help me trust you. I choose to believe you will work all things together for my good. But oh, God, this hurts so much. Cover me with your Spirit!"

When I make a request, I am hoping and believing that God will answer it. When I lament, I do so from a posture of hopelessness and complete despair. I don't request. I just groan.

And the Holy Spirit interprets that groan. And it is sweet music in God's ears. Our groans show our utter dependance on Him.

There is no greater act of faith that to trust in God's goodness when it doesn't feel like He's doing good for us.

Just keep crying out to Jesus. He is, after all, called "the Man of Sorrows." He gets it.

Amen.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Prayer for a sick child

Dear Father-Healer,

Pour out your mercy, grace, comfort, and
miraculous healing over this child
who is sick.
Death and harm are horrible thoughts and horrible possibilities.
Except for you.
Except for your power and your perfect will.

Help me to believe in your goodness and love.

Why must bad things happen to good people?
Why is the world so full of heartache and grief?
Why do you seem to withdraw when grief overwhelms us like an angry ocean?
And most of all--why must terrible things happen to the most innocent of all--
to the unborn, the children, the young, the sweet and kind ones among us?

Illness is heart-wrenching for families of children who suffer--
it's unfair,
tramatizing,
terrifying,
heart-breaking.

You can heal anyone and anything,
so why don't you always do it?
Could you do it here?
Could you please heal this child?
Would you please perform a miracle?

More importantly--
Show us your glory.
Change us and help us feel you close
instead of feeling the pain of your absence and the lack of your loving care for us.
Those things are not true.

You are love.
Help us not to fear.
In the powerful name of Jesus,
Amen.


"Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him." (James 5:13-15)



Thursday, April 4, 2019

Meeting God in the quiet place

Ahh!

Here you are, God.
Waiting for me in this quiet place.

You've been calling to me all week,
whenever I made time to watch the sunset or smelled the freshly-cut grass.
When I took pictures of the cherry blossoms
and admired the beauty of a lake shimmering blue and crystal under a bright sun,
that's where you were.

You were waiting in my moments of wakefulness and sleepiness,
waiting as my first and last thoughts of every day.
There your Spirit whispered prayers for me to the God of heaven.
When I felt fatigue,
you assured me that you would sustain me.
When I felt fear,
you whispered that you would protect me.
When I felt worry,
you promised you would make all things work together for good.

All with your quiet, reassuring presence.

You were waiting here,
on a day I've singled out to meet you.
Out here in the sun and the vastness of a quiet setting
where I've made time to sit with you
and hear what you have to say.

And this is what you said.

Hello, dear one.
I've been waiting for you.
I've been calling your spirit to join mine.
I'm so elated that you came.
I just want to be with you.
I want you to know me like I know you,
completely, fully, and without confusion or judgment,
without fear.
I love you perfectly.

And I know you love me as perfectly as you can.
It's why you came to meet me today,
so I can perfect that love a little more.

It only happens in the quiet moments,
in the silence of vulnerability
and the freedom of worship,
that you feel me,
understand me,
and find me.

Ahh! I'm so pleased you came.
Let's revel in our time together.

Amen.

"My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with  its mother; like a weaned child I am content." Psalm 131:1-2


Thursday, March 21, 2019

Praise about new things

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the beauty of the four seasons
and for the privilege of living in a place that experiences all of them.
Today is the first day of spring.

Of course, it's raining.
But that's okay.
Rain is the evidence that you are working in the world,
that you are changing, growing, and creating
new things,
even the predictable flowers like daffodils and crocuses
and the less-predictable flowers like tulips
(why don't mine come up more than once?).

You bring deer into my yard to rest.
You paint breath-taking sunsets across the horizon in the evening.
The cherry and pear trees are bursting with white and pink, cheerful and radiant.
The world smells of earth and grass and mulch.
Clean, fresh, and vibrant.

Why do you take the trouble with colorful details?

Because you long to reveal yourself to us.
Your blessings are new every morning.
You love to remind us that you are constant and yet inventive.
Your creation is not thwarted by our neglect or destruction of the beautiful world you've made for us.
Your love for us remains true, faithful, everlasting.

Spring signals that you haven't forgotten us,
that your have new and beautiful plans for us,
that if we have faith, we will watch magnificence unfold around us.

What new things are you planning for me?
What will you create next?
What will you resurrect from the winter of my life?

I praise you and thank you.
What an amazing God you are!

Amen.


"And he who sits on the throne says, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' And he said, 'Write, for these words are faithful and true.' "--Revelation 21:3

Sunday, March 17, 2019

"The Prayer" sung by Celine Dion and Josh Groban


Get out your tissues. I'm sharing one of the all-time greatest duets, which happens also to be a prayer.

It's a prayer about losing your way,
finding grace in God's love,
and leaning on Him when you don't know what to do.

So it applies to pretty much to any situation. Here you go--

"The Prayer" sung by Celine Dion and Josh Groban


I pray You'll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don't know

Let this be our prayer
When we lose our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with Your Grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

La luce che to dai
I pray we'll find your light
Nel cuore restero
And hold it in our hearts
A ricordarchi che
When stars go out each night
L'eterna stella sei
Oh, ho

Nella mia preghiera
Let this be our prayer
Quanta fede c'e
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place
Guide us with Your Grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

Sognamo un mondo senza piu violenza
Un mondo di giustizia e di speranza
Ognuno dia la mano al suo vicino
Simbolo di pace e di fraternita

La forza che ci dai
We ask that life be kind
E'il desiderio che
And watch us from above
Ognuno trovi amore
We hope each soul will find
Intorno e dentro a se
Another soul to love

Let this be our prayer
Let this be our prayer
Just like every child
Just like every child

Needs to find a place
Guide us with Your Grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

E la fede che
Hai acceso in noi
Sento che ci salvera


"The Prayer" is written by David FosterCarole Bayer SagerAlberto Testa and Tony Renis.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A parent's prayer (for God to work in my kids)

Dear Heavenly Father,

Give me opportunities to have meaningful conversations with my children.

Help me to pray first, then listen, then encourage and support
before I correct or teach.
Help me love them how you love them,
how you love me.

You are always supporting,
always encouraging,
always careful,
always present.

You are an amazing Father.

I want to support what you are already doing in their hearts and in their lives.
Convict them of their sin.
Encourage them in their spiritual growth.
Answer their prayers.
Bless their lives.

I don't want to interfere with the Holy Spirit by trying to be another Holy Spirit.
That's not my job. It's yours.
My job is to point them to you,
no matter what age they are.

Live in me.
I surrender to your will in my life.

Live through me.
I defer to your plans for my children.

Live in my kids.
I trust that you will lead them as they follow you,
and when they don't follow you,
I trust that you will lovingly call them back.

That's the kind of Father you are.

Thank you. I love you!
Amen.