Monday, March 28, 2016

Prayer to "Be Still"

Lord Jesus,

I'm tired. I'm so, so tired. Give me the courage to slow down so you can whisper your peace into my life. Help me to rest in you--more than that, help me to be content resting in you. Content without the noise of rushing through life, hurrying to false contentment. You are enough for me. I don't need the busyness. Help me to stop striving and pushing for more. I know that you are God. You will be exalted among the nations. (If I am still before you. If I can hear your voice.) I love you!

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ps. 46:10 (NIV)--"Be still and know that I am God."
(NASB)--"Cease striving and know that I am God."

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Prayer for Belgium

Our Lord, our Banner and our Savior,
I pray for your protection and blessing on the people of Belgium. I pray for you to reveal yourself to them through the love of Christ and those who believe on you. Give missionaries, pastors, and priests there the compassion and strength to share the love of God. Unite people in humanitarian efforts. Holy Spirit, halt the hate and the fear and cover people with your peace. Protect and keep us and draw us to yourself. I ask for your Spirit to convict the hardened hearts of the terrorists involved, causing them to confess their sins and assist authorities in stopping the violence. It would seem impossible, but with God, all things are possible! Prompt hearts and minds to turn toward you, the only protector of our souls and the one who loves us with everlasting love!
I ask this in Jesus' name,
Amen.


image from http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=belgium+flag

Monday, March 21, 2016

Everlasting Faithfulness

Lord, El Olam, the Everlasting God,

Help me to trust in you
Because you are eternal--you have always been, and you will always be.

When trouble comes, and there's no end in sight, help me to trust your will.
When I feel betrayed by someone close, help me to trust your friendship.
When life seems unfair, help me to trust your justice.
When I am anxious about the future, help me to trust your peace.
When I am lost, looking for direction, help me to trust your guidance.
When my circumstances seem hopeless, help me to trust your wisdom.
When everyone feels untrustworthy, help me to trust your character.

You have always been faithful to those who seek you--
Always just to those who need justice--
Always strong to those who lean on you--
Always loving, even when I am unlovable.

You are everlasting,
and so is your faithfulness,
your mercy,
your grace,
and your unending love.

Why am I worried? Why am I fearful?
I will hope in the Lord, from whom all blessings flow.
I will trust in you.

Amen.

"Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. . . . I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."--John 14:1, 6

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Why my tulip magnolia reminds me of God

The tulip magnolia trees in front of my house are the first blooms I see every spring. When those pink blossoms burst from their fuzzy February buds, my heart begins to soar. Regardless of a last-season frost or sudden heat wave, they still emerge. As they unfold, I can almost hear God's voice whispering, "I'm back! I'm about to do something great here."

Soft sprouting petals fade from dark to light pink. More signs of spring appear in my yard: the daffodils shake their perky yellow cups; flowering quince bursts in a mass of tiny coral petals; next, the cherry tree blooms fuchsia, then the flowering dogwoods, the tulips, and azaleas follow, all various shades of pinks, whites, and purples. I remember that God is faithful. (Maybe that's why He goes to all this trouble?) I meditate on my Creator and His creation. I smile with joy and hope.

Every year, my yard follows the same pattern. Trees bloom faithfully in their prescribed order, always new and yet somehow predictable. They bud, they bloom, they drop their petals, they leaf, they provide shade from the summer heat. Always timely and surprisingly glorious.

My trees and flowers sing of God's faithfulness. He is worthy of my praise and trust, because He has extravagantly provided. And next year, God will again paint a picture in my yard--not because I deserve it, but because He is good and faithful. His promises are true.

Thank you, God.

"The grass withers, and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever."--Isaiah 40:8

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Your Vantage Point


Lord Jehovah,

You are powerful enough to calm the hurtful memories that haunt me.

You are peaceful enough to teach me calm when I feel overwhelmed by fear.

You are gracious enough to replace pain with joy, bit by bit, so that I learn to trust Your hand on my life.

You are loving enough to overlook my shortcomings, yet at the same time, bring gentle correction where I need it.

You are God enough to know all things, provide all things, and deliver all people--yet You were man enough to taste anguish; to live in our narrow, stress-filled world; to welcome our weak platitudes; to endure the confines of humanity.

You can do anything. Your vantage point exceeds all others.

Why do You even bother with me?

I can't figure it out.

But I thank you!

I love you, in my weak, human little way.

Amen.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Peeling me like a birch tree

Dear Lord Creator,


Life is hard.
Are you growing me?

I want to grow strong and straight and sure, 
but I feel safer when I'm not growing, not changing, 
not venturing out into new territories. 
Somehow, you know what's best for me. 
You gently peel away my tough exterior, like white bark from a birch tree that hovers over the water's edge.
You unmask my pretense, my pride, my accomplishments--
You tear away what I wear to hide my shortcomings
that actually keeps me from maturity, beauty, and destiny. 
You know that I will not grow unless you pull away my bark and uncover the tender trunk underneath. 
Then you can broaden my perspective-- expand my territory-- 
raise my branches heavenward
to provide shade and protection for others.
You give me the chance to grow 
a little straighter,
a little taller,
a little more beautiful.

But if I resist the peeling,
I will not grow at all.

Psalm 1:1-3
"Blessed is the one . . . whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planed by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither--
and whatever they do prospers."

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Path toward Destiny

When the path of life confuses
and the way seems hard to find,
When the voices all around me
blur with the voice inside my mind,
When I'm not sure of direction,
I need only to listen close
to the God who planned my future--
He's the one who loves me most!

According the Isaiah 30:20-21, we may struggle in life, but what we consider suffering, God deems a gift to grow us into the image of His Son. So when we falter on the path toward destiny, let us listen to the One who designed not only the path, but also the destination!

"Though the Lord gave you adversity for 
    food and suffering for drink,
he will still be with you to teach you.
    You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
21 Your own ears will hear him.
    Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
    whether to the right or to the left."--Isaiah 30:20-21








Sunday, March 6, 2016

Paraphrasing Psalm 8 into a prayer

Oh, Lord, my maker, you are incredible!
May your name be recognized and revered throughout the earth!
When I think about the sky and the earth,
the whole of your detailed creation,
with planets in their synchronized orbits
and animal kingdom living in perfect harmony--
who am I
that you even care what I think or what I fear?
You have taken the time to create me with exquisite detail,
fashioning my form and face,
my personality and my gifts,
all so that I can bring glory to you by knowing you
and reflecting your image?
Who am I, that you grant me free will
to worship you or to worship myself, made in your image?
Who am I to be loved by you?
In all the earth, you are the most incredible!

Amen.