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

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Confessions of a critical tongue

Oh, Lord,

I did it again. I'm nit-picking and criticizing. I just can't stop myself. Or at least, I choose not to. I stand in front of people I love and I say unhelpful things with a big megaphone when I should just be listening.

Help me to choose edifying speech. I want to give encouragement to my kids and husband, to speak lovely things about extended family and friends, to notice the good in church, school, and community organizations. I want to be a blessing to others.

Lord, root out this spirit of criticism. I confess it. I know it comes from pride, and I confess it and pray against it in Jesus' name. Help me to learn your humility and your gentleness. Even when I see the wrong in something--even when I should take action against it or call it out--give me the grace to fight sin with mercy and understanding, to love sinners while hating sin. To give the Holy Spirit time to work in his own way and not according to my impatience.

Why is this so hard? I am such a sinner and a hypocrite. Please forgive me of my sinful arrogance and selfishness. I need you. Let my critical tongue remind me that I need you and only you to change me into your likeness. Help me to pause and pray every time I think a negative thought--I want to give the Holy Spirit time to stop me from speaking. I want time to remember your many blessings in my life, to erase my Pharisaical, entitled attitude and give me the attitude of Christ.

If I can learn that--then all my speech and all my actions would only bring you glory and bless others. May I long for that enough to change!

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

"Your attitude would be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God, did not consider quality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:5-8)

image by George Hodan

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Challenge for the National Day of Prayer

It's our National Day of Prayer.

What would happen if our entire nation prayed for souls?
What if, instead of praying over health care and guns and civil rights and freedom of religion and safety against terrorism and Christians in politics (all good things to pray about)--
what if we exhausted ourselves crying over lost people?

What if we focused, not on what they do, but why they do it--
what if we were grieved by our own sinful hearts instead of grieved over the disruptions into our personal liberties and intrusions into our excessive lives?

What if we were willing, like Paul--to be poured out as a drink offering?
To be sacrificed for a greater cause--
for a national and global reawakening?

Are we willing to pray like that?

2 Tim. 4:5-7
"But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardships, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

image by Jean Beaufort