Monday, May 30, 2016

A prayer for blessing our nation

Lord of heaven, the God of the whole earth and of America,

We are a smug, selfish people. Forgive us, Lord, for asking for you to move in our nation merely because we want spirituality to be popular and sanctification to be easy. Forgive us for wanting laws that accommodate our spiritual goals rather than laws that motivate our spiritual fervor.

Bless us with your conviction and the power of your spirit! Manifest your patience and lovingkindness for our weaknesses! Continue to bless us--not with material wealth and extravagant living--but with the reality of your presence. May your presence go before us, go with us, and shield us from behind, as we deliver your message to a lost nation of peoples. Give us the courage to share your word, as it lives and breathes among us, transforming us to become more like you.

Make us into missionaries within our own borders! Bless us with courage and determination to share Christ rather than impose morality.

Give us patience and lovingkindness for others, as we desire for ourselves. May all your plans succeed in your timing and for your purpose. We are the people you have called and chosen--not to live prosperous and happy lives, but to share the good news with a nation that doesn't know who you are or what you've done for us.

Bless America through our testimony, and nothing else.

Amen.

"But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance."
--Psalm 33:11-12


image by Linnaea Mallette

Monday, May 23, 2016

Prayer for Perspective

Dear Lord God,
whose will is too complex for me to comprehend--
I praise you.

"You have preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.
For you tested us; you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.
You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance."

Give me the faith and courage to trust you and your will like that!--
That regardless of my circumstances and my fears,
I will believe that you are doing a mighty work unknown to me,
in and around me.
And even through me,
even when it feels like you are hurting me or persecuting me or ignoring me.
I may never understand what you are doing,
but that's okay because you don't answer to me,
and I am not entitled to know the ends of your plans for this world in which I live.

"I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you.
Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.
Praise be to God who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me."

Your love is enough.
Your will is enough.
I will praise you.

Amen.

(Psalm 66)


image by Gerhard Lipold

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thank you for my children

Lord of mercy and love,

Thank you for my children.
Thank you for their successes.
Thank you even for their hardships
because it builds the character that I want them to have
and the character you want me to have.
(Because parenting always leads me back to you.)
I can't love them without your love
or lead them without following you.
I need you more than they need me or I need them.
Just you.
Help me to trust you with their lives,
through joys and sorrows,
triumphs and pain.
You have already shown yourself to be trustworthy--
They are your love language to me.
Your whispers of hope, healing, and heaven.
They are my greatest blessings.
Thank you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I love you.
And loving them gives me a glimpse of who you are.

Amen.


Monday, May 9, 2016

A prayer for the freak-out moments

Lord of heaven,

I am freaking out
about everything I need to get done today.
Slow my heart rate.
Give me peace in my anxiety.
Nourish my soul.
Strengthen my faith in your plan for me.
Calm my mind and focus my thoughts of you.
You are Lord of my world and all eternity.
You amaze me.
Why do I let my list of responsibilities and expectations rob me of the peace you long to bring?
My obsession over the demands of this life is idolatry.
It is self-focused.
It is worship of an altered life, one that centers on the earthly realm instead of on your kingdom.
Center me.
I was not created for my to-do list.

Amen.

image by kai Stachowiak


Friday, May 6, 2016

A Prayer for Knowledge and Faith

A God who is omniscient is the reason I pray.

You create and impart all knowledge, even those who choose to believe You don't exist. I am awed by Your patience and Your grace in allowing each of us to search, resist, or find You as we will.

You don't push. You don't cajole. You don't condemn.

You just love.

You must know that Your love is irresistible to me. Your love persuades me to see You and experience You for who You are, somehow a deity who knows everything about me and yet is not repulsed by me. You aren't afraid that more knowledge of life and science will turn me away from You. Indeed, more knowledge ought to produce more faith.

An omniscient God knows that knowledge and faith are congruent and complimentary. You invented science--You designed its intricacies. I'm sure much of science is yet to be discovered. And yet my ignorance doesn't anger You. You smile and wait, like a patient father, for this over-confident human to grasp even a touch of Your creativity.

This is what I pray, to the one who knows everything:

Oh, Lord, Reveal Yourself to me.

Reveal Your power, Your will, the complexities of Your existence. Show me enough of Yourself so I believe, and give me the courage to accept the mysteries I'll never be able to comprehend.

Help me realize that a God whose actions I can explain would be no God at all. He would be me.

And I don't need to pray to myself. I'm the reason I need to pray to You. I can't really comprehend anything that goes on in my heart. It's desperately wicked, and it deceives me daily. (Jer. 17:9)

Create in me a new heart, O God. (Ps. 51: 10). Help me not to trust my own understanding. I adore You. I fear You. I believe in You.

Amen.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your path straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)


image by Petr Kratochvil