Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Mother's Cry

Dear Lord Jesus,

When you lived on earth, you pined for your children--
you said you longed to protect the ones you loved,
gathering them like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.
So you must know how I feel about my children.

I feel desperate for them all the time,
but especially when we are separated from each other.
I've found that it doesn't matter how old they are.
Do you feel the same way?

Being separate makes me painfully aware of my insecurities as their mother.
It's not so different than when they were babies, and I held their feverish bodies in the middle of the night, realizing just how desperate love had made me.
I remember comprehending that I was just not equipped well enough for this monumental role--
I was not prepared to shape a life.

It was then that I began realizing how terribly I needed you.
I still do.
Age has not lessened my inabilities or insecurities. Or my neediness.
Age has, if anything, created a wiser understanding of all of it.

I still need more than ever.
As my children grow, I am overwhelmed with the rush of time
and the realization that I am still growing myself.
And in many areas, I have failed to grow.

Please, Lord,
make me a mother who still gathers my chicks, who makes them feel safe with me.
Make me a mother who listens instead of lectures,
who encourages instead of interrogates,
who supports instead of criticizes.
Make me a mother who's patient, understanding that a life isn't finished learning and growing until it dies--
until our eternal perfection.
Make me a mother who's respectful of my children's decisions, personalities, fears, and triumphs, who doesn't try to make them like me,
and who rejoices that they are not me.
I pray they are the people you created them to be.

Make me a mother who points my children toward you.
I cannot be a perfect representation of you.
(That's pretty obvious by now.)
But perhaps, my failings will show my children to depend on you.
That none of us will ever achieve perfection.
That the Christian life is about striving, failing, and striving again.
That it's about relationship,
just like mothering is primarily about relationship.

That's my cry, Lord,
I ask you to hear it and somehow empower me to do it.
Or at least work around me and perform something miraculous.

In Jesus' loving name,
Amen.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Prayers for the Traveler

Dear Lord God,
You are everywhere, You feel everything, and You see everything.
You know I'm stressed about traveling.
I'm not afraid--I'm excited, and I feel so blessed.
It's just that leaving work and family behind is worrisome.
Sending my children to travel without me is also worrisome.
The world is a worrisome place.
You know that.
So I place everyone I love into your care.
You alone can protect us.
You alone will guide and direct us.
We are Your children,
Your beloved,
Your chosen ones.
Give us Your peace and Your power
as we go out into new places--
make us missionaries, gospel-bringers--
whether we vacation or serve.
Grow us, refresh us, change us.
Bind the enemy's hands that want to hurt us.
Protect the work You are doing in and around us.
Guide the hands of those who drive cars, trains, and planes;
may they be alert, efficient, careful.
May all the world--not just us--see Your glory everywhere we look.
Grant us spiritual opportunities and give us the courage to take them,
even while we rest and play.
We trust You, and we adore You.
In Jesus' name,
Amen.

image by Daniel Smith

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Prayer to a Good Father

Dear Father in Heaven,

That's a strange concept to me. A heavenly father. Who are you, and how can you love me like a father loves his child when there are 7.5 billion people in the world today? People you want as your children?

You require holiness, but I am so unholy.
You created me, yet I complain about this creation. (Why did you design bodies to change with age???)
You have compassion and patience with me, even though I fail the same faith tests repeatedly.
You are probably annoyed with my whining and entitlement, yet you don't lose your temper or say things you shouldn't.

You don't work too much or fall asleep in your chair or forget birthdays or feel helpless when I'm despairing. (I don't know if earthly fathers do those things, but I've heard that some do.)

This is why Father's Day is hard,
why the concept of a Heavenly Father is hard:
I don't know what good fathering feels like.

But I know what love feels like.
I know what the Holy Spirit feels like when He's speaking through me.
I know what peace feels like when the world is hammering me hard,
what hope feels like when there's no logical reason to hope.
I know what confidence feels like, even when I am painfully unqualified.

Perhaps that's fathering at its best, on earth and in heaven.
Good fathering covers you, protects you, accepts you, directs you, loves you.

So thank you.
Thank you for being a Father to the fatherless.
Thank you for fathering the fathered.
Thank you for being whatever kind of father all 7.5 billion of us need.

We just need to talk to you, to find out Who you are,
what kind of Father you are.
We have to decide not to be afraid to know you.
Because you won't disappoint, leave, die, or hurt us.
And you only do good things.

I love you, God. You are my Father.

Amen.

image by axelle b

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A prayer of destiny over your family


Dear God, Creator and Designer of all life--

I ask for your blessing over my family. Not success--not wealth--not even continual happiness. I beg for your perfect will to be accomplished in their lives. I pray for their destinies--for you to have the freedom to use them like you want to use them.

You created each of them with specific skills, personalities, talents, intuitions, and inhibitions. Oh, Lord, may you have the freedom to use them to their fullest potentials. Give my children and husband tender hearts to the Holy Spirit and courageous spirits in this stress-filled world. Help them look above the chaos and see your face and hear your voice.

Speak into their souls--may they make room to hear you in the quiet places of their lives--and give them the determination to respond in obedience. To step out in faith. To start objectives. To participate in mission. To stand against sin. To not blend in.

Make them bold, missional, fearless, confident in you alone. And give them friends and wives (including me) who will encourage their spirits and calm their fears. May we all be useful in your service.

I speak the name and love of Jesus over them, the One and Only, the Alpha and Omega. Be everything to them. May they never find fulfillment or satisfaction in anything but you.

In Jesus' holy and powerful name,
Amen.

image by Amy Robinson

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Memorial Day prayer

Dear God of all comfort,

Settle over the families today who are missing their loved ones. Reach into those painful places and smooth the fear and anger; stave off the bitterness, and help them find joy today. Give them new purpose and vision--help them to envision and begin a new life without the ones they've lost.

Lord of heaven, comfort us as a nation. I don't ask that you make our lives easy, because nothing with value was ever easy. But give us passion and purpose to live for you, and in so doing, serve our fellow-man. Make us Christ-followers first and Americans second. May our patriotism grow from a love of countryman, not a hatred of foreigners.

Lead the citizens of this land to be strong, compassionate, and honest leaders. May we be a people of integrity--that is what brings honor to the dead. Leadership inspires future heroes. Make us leaders who hold human lives above personal values, ambition, and pride. May we see justice through your eyes alone.

I pray over our nation and over those hurting today to find rest, comfort, and resilience in your Spirit. May we be a nation that seeks after you.

In Jesus' holy name,
Amen.

"It is for freedom that Christ as set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. . . . You, my brother, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighhor as yourself.'" (Gal. 5:1, 13-15)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A request from the discouraged


Dear Lord,

I'm reaching out to you in faith. I'm discouraged, defeated, and despondent. I know you love me, and I know you have great plans for me, but frankly, I'm not feeling it today. I need the Holy Spirit to help me understand the depth and breadth of your love. I want the fullness of God because that will show me how shallow and meaningless this earthly life is. I need a miraculous perspective change. Would you do that for me, because I'm asking you? Because I'm seeking you?

Wait a minute. Am I really seeking you?

Maybe I'm just seeking happiness and contentment, and because I know it comes through you. Maybe I'm sitting here trying to bring you into my world because I want you to make it better. And that is exactly why I need your fullness--the sheer magnitude of who you are.

Please, Almighty God, reveal yourself to me.

Amen.


"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:14-19)


image by George Hodan

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit,

Pour Yourself out on me.
I don't know why I don't talk to You more often,
because I am in such desperate need
of Your power and direction.

Thank You for Your presence.
It is powerful and overwhelming and electric.
It weighs on me and yet drives me to say things I'm afraid to say
and do things I'm afraid to do.
That's all You.

Don't leave me.
Not for a second,
because I can't survive without You.

Convict,
Impress,
Direct,
Ignite,
Discipline,
Probe,
Encourage,
Inspire,
Lead,
Overwhelm--

Anything.

Just don't leave me.

I am Yours, and You are unbelievably responsive to my call.

I love You.
Amen.

"Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me." (Psalm 51:11)


image by Ken E