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Showing posts from 2017

Praying for protection and healing

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Dear Heavenly Father,
Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals--

Please protect and heal my loved one today.
You created him,
You love him,
You have a purpose for him.
It is Your nature to heal, restore, and renew.
Please grant healing and restoration to him today so he can continue the calling You've given him.

I trust You, and I trust Your will.
I give You control (because You already have it), and
I will show that by giving You myself and my worries.

Rapha, Healer, You make all things new and beautiful.
Heal my tired spirit and my anxious heart.
Make me like You,
full of hope and joy.

Forgive me for the many times that I doubt because I don't see healing happening like I want it to.
Healing is Your call.
Your gift.
Your perfect will.

I love You.
Amen.

I want You

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Dear Lord,

I want so much.
I want happiness and success and impact.
I want friends and family.
I  need to stop a second and thank you, because your generosity has exceeded my wants.

Thank you for using me.
Thank you for saving me and filling me and hanging with me even when I stop hanging with you.
Thank you for gifting me, even though I don't always appreciate the gifts you choose for me.
Thank you for my family, for our home, for our opportunities,
for all the things I grumble about that are incredible blessings.
May I complain less, argue less, pout less, despair less, give up less.
Because all things are possible in Christ.

I want your will.
I want what you want, in the way that you want it for me.
I just want You.

Amen.

Make me a Servant

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Lord, Servant of All,

Please help me to serve others with a happy heart.
Shut my mouth when I want to complain.
Prick my heart when I feel selfish.
Censor my thoughts when I think I deserve more--
when I believe my life should be marked by happiness, love, appreciation, and respect.

You know what it feels like to be
overlooked and misunderstood,
to work hard at something difficult,
something that expends all your energy
and hurts you deeply inside,
only to be rejected by the ones you served.

Give me your attitude--
or at least, help me to learn it.
I know it comes through hard work.
I'll do it.
I want to be like you, Jesus.
Servant of Man.
Bearer of the cross.
Sin for me, although You knew no sin.

May I serve like You serve!
Amen.

Praise for the Creator

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Dear Lord,

You inspire me with your creation.
I am in awe of your majesty.
How did You craft such brilliant colors and mix them together, painting them on trees and bushes, just to astound me?
Every autumn, the voice of your artistry
calls for attention.
It give me just a glimpse of who You are
and what You can do.
Anything.
You created the world;
You set it in motion;
You turned it on its axis
and send it in its orbit
to give the world seasons and climates,
days and years
which with to praise adore You.
I cannot fathom Your goodness or Your power.
I can only worship You for it.

Amen.

"He changes times and seasons . . . . He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning."
(Daniel 2:21)

Praying for Cuba

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Dear Lord of all,

I can't stop thinking about Cuba.
I see them in their churches,
with hands raised in worship,
arms thrusting the air, feet moving,
bodies swaying,
lost in their love for you.

I see them speaking to neighbors,
telling people about Jesus,
the answer to everything.
I see them calling down the Spirit,
crying over people,
ushering in your healing power.
I see them being Jesus everywhere.

Lord, keep them safe.
Strengthen them in their love for you.
Increase their resolve to reach their country for you.
Protect them from complacency.

May your Spirit roar over them like fire.
Move through them like wind.
Alight on them like a dove.
Holy Spirit, descend on Cuba.

Oh, Lord God, give me just a taste of their passion for You!

Amen.

My confession to you

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I read James 5:16 today. I think I should follow its commands.
It's a good, albeit humbling, cleansing method.

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." 

I am proud: I care what people think and want them to respect and like me.
I want to think I'm better than other people at the things I value.
I am petty: I worry and obsess over things that don't really matter in life.
I am unforgiving: I sometimes harbor secret resentment toward people who have wronged me. I cover it up by being nice to them, but deep down, I probably don't want them to prosper.
I am selfish: I think of my own needs and desires first. Even when I serve people, I am often aware of what I'm "giving up." This is still being self-oriented.
I am forgetful: I focus on the present, to the detriment of the past and all God has already done for me.
I am faithless: I believe that G…

Prayer for a rushed day

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Lord,
I have so much to do today.
This week.
This month.
My spirit feels rushed and anxious.
Calm me and remind me that all I have to do is worship You.
Just listen, obey, observe, act.
I just need to be You today to someone else.
So what do You want to do today?
Who needs Your Spirit and Your love?
I am Yours today.
Amen.

Will God answer my prayers?

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I've been wrestling with some big decisions.

So I opened my Bible, and there was Psalm 145. Incredible!
Just what I needed. Here's a snippet:

"The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fufills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him, but the all wicked he will destroy." (Psalm 145:17-20) What are you wrestling with?

The Lord is near and listening for your voice. You can pray this prayer:
Lord, I need you! Help me believe that You are loving and gracious, and You have good plans for me. My desire is toward You. May that desire intensify rather than wane. Watch over me and guide me to speak truth to You, to believe truth about my life, and to leave everyone and everything else in Your care.  Amen.
image by alex grichenko

Confessing someone else's sins

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Lord God, the Holy One--


You are gracious and full of awesome power and purity.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.

I come today on behalf of someone else.
I want to pray for ________'s repentance,
so first I must ask you to forgive me of my wrong-doing and selfishness.
Convict and remove all the little pet sins I shelter in my life,
the things I say aren't a big deal.
Root them out.
I'll brace myself.
I know it will hurt a little to be honest with myself and change my will and behavior.
But when I do, I will have peace.

Forgive me, please.

So now I ask you to forgive __________. I confess on his/her behalf.
Forgive him/her for rebellion, selfishness, pride, and ignorance of Your laws and Your expectations.
Moses confessed for Israel, and even though they rarely repented,
You had compassion on them,
for Moses' sake.
You showed grace and mercy and lovingkindness.
Because someone cared enough to ask You for it.

Show Your lovingkindness to __________.
Put a wall of…

Praying Peace and Destiny over your Spouse

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*(If you're a husband, switch all the him, he, and his to her, she, and her!)


Dear Lord God Almighty,

You've created my spouse with special care.
You've fashioned his mind to process and his temperament to respond
in the exact way You want it to.
You've given him the ability to lead and follow,
to be patient and impatient,
to be confident and worried,
to wait and to act.
Your wisdom tells him what to do when.

Protect him from discouraging influences,
from critics, cynics, fools, and braggarts.
Send Your angels to guard the mission You've designed for him
and guard his heart from discouragement and disappointment.
When he sees the enemy, may he give those souls over to You.
May he love his enemies with Your love.

Speak to him. Send whispers of hope shivering through his soul.
Touch his memory and imagination with creativity that can only come from You.
Make his heart feel light and happy,
even while it carries a heavy weight.
Only through You can he manage the load Y…

Counting my blessings

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Dear Lord,

Thank you for all the beautiful, ordinary blessings that are not so ordinary.
Thank you for my home (which has issues),
my vehicles (even when they don't work),
my food (even when I complain about cooking),
my family (even though I take them for granted).

I am so blessed.

Thank you for my country (even though it angers me),
my freedoms (even though I complain about not having more),
my work (even though I want more and want to be more).

You have blessed me beyond measure.

My world is gorgeous, and I live in it.
My home is loving, and I live in it.
My dreams are attainable, and I live them.

Why do I forget how blessed I am?

To whom much is given, much is required.

Everything I have is yours,
and it's all extra.

Lord, teach me to number my blessings, as well as my days.

Amen.


Prayer for Charlottesville

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Lord, Comforter and Redeemer,

Take these troubled times and bring good from them.
Somehow, throw your spirit of comfort like a mantle over the grieving,
over those traumatized by the Charlottesville rally,
and most of all over those injured and killed there.
Infiltrate their homes and their conversations--
let your spirit be felt.
Comfort those grieving for loved ones lost through senseless violence.

Bring justice, swift and sure.
Not revenge. That is not your way.
But justice, peace, and sanity
to a situation raging out of control.

May this tragedy in Charlottesville wake up a sleepy country
to the ravages of deep-seated prejudice and hatred.
Somehow, draw us toward your spirit of wisdom,
fill us with a desire and determination to be
loving, forgiving, compassionate, determined.
Give us the courage to stand for righteousness,
to shirk stubbornness and pride,
to abhor hatred.

Change us.
And even while you work so great a miracle,
lighten the heavy hearts of those closest to the traged…

Intercession for our country

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Dear Lord,

You are the King of Kings, so you understand kings.
You are not surprised by the world's presidents, generals, dictators, prime ministers, shahs.
You understand power, corruption, responsibility, greed, pride, and ambition.

Please influence our leaders.
Give us grace when our leaders make foolish choices.
Give us grace when we make foolish choices, when we elect godless leaders and when we pretend like it's not our fault.
Give us a chance to learn and correct our mistakes.
Protect us from evil--from wanting it, from protecting it, and from excusing it.

Make us a thinking, active, and responsible people.
Forgive us our sins.
Forgive our leaders of their sins and place God-fearing individuals in their paths to influence, challenge, and show them the love of God.
Please give us another chance to serve you better--more fully--more sacrificially.

May the church rise up--not as a political force--
but as the hands and feet of Jesus!
He is the only one who can bring peace …

How to pray a prayer of anguish

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Have you ever felt emotionally raw and desperate? Angry, even? My first response in these situations is either to rage at God or someone else. God is a better choice. The best response is to pray a prayer of anguish. To lament. It's one of the ways that God responds to human desperation.

Grief, when directed at God, is a prayer. It's a lamentation that expects a response. Anguish can prompt the most beautiful and heart-felt prayers we ever pray.

Maybe you're not sure what to say. That's okay, too. The Holy Spirit hears the groaning of our hearts and responds to us with grace and love (Romans 8:26-27).

I go directly to Psalms when I need to groan. I start at Psalm 3, and I just keep going until I've said enough. I've underlined a lot of verses about anguish and fairness and deliverance in those pages, so I pray those verses back to God. Somehow, reading the Psalms give power to my prayer and assuage any guilt I'd have for expressing my pain and misery.

Prayi…

Praying for Angels to Surround my Kids

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Lord of Heaven,

You have angels at your disposal,
worshipping You,
defending Your holiness,
protecting us, Your children.
You are great and mighty in power
and full of love and mercy.

I ask You to send more angels
to surround my kids today.
Minister to them--
encourage them,
guard them,
defend them against the onslaught of the evil one.
Wage war over them
because You created them to be filled with power and authority in Jesus' name.
You intend for them to silence evil,
withstand persecution,
and glorify You.

May my kids honor and please You today with their thoughts, actions, and motivations.
May they be pure in heart and mind.
May they function as You intended,
surrounded by heavenly hosts
with swords drawn
and voices like thunder.
In the power of the Holy Spirit, my kids will slay spiritual giants and conquer enemy territory.
I believe it in the name of Jesus, the King of all Kings.

Thank You for Your angels.
I call on them in Jesus' holy name--
surround my kids today.

Amen.

A Mother's Cry

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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 ne…

Prayers for the Traveler

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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 coura…

A Prayer to a Good Father

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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 fe…

A prayer of destiny over your family

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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 …

A Memorial Day prayer

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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 na…

A request from the discouraged

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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. AmI 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…

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit

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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

Confessions of a critical tongue

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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 a…

A Challenge for the National Day of Prayer

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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 foug…

Praying Peace into my stormy life

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Dear Lord,


I'm speaking Your words over my crazy, jumbled life:

Peace, be still.

I can't calm down on my own, so help me breathe in Your beauty and Your calm.

Peace, be still.

I can't control the things around me, so give me the courage to stop trying, stop striving, stop worrying.

Peace, be still.

You guard me, around and before me. You designed me perfectly to carry out Your will. You have marked out my way. So why am I afraid?

Peace, be still.

I wallow in discouragement and negative thinking, and I turn aside from You, searching so many other places to find motivation, assistance, encouragement, affirmation, and love. Help me hear Your words:

Peace, be still. Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?

You, Prince of Peace, are the answer.

Amen.

"A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, 'Teacher, don't you care if we dro…

A prayer for Earth Day

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Lord, Creator of the Earth,

It's Earth Day.
Lord, help us to protect and care for your earth,
because that's the job you gave mankind to do.
May our care for Earth point us toward you!

Lord, may the whole earth see you today
in your sunrise and sunset,
in the flowers and trees,
in the animal kingdom,
in the fury of storms and the radiance of daylight.

Lord, may each of us display grace, mercy, kindness, and love
because that's who you are
and we are made in your image.

May the whole earth sing your praises
and revel in your majesty.
The earth is yours, and we all belong to you.
I pray your Spirit over the earth.
Lord, bring souls to yourself today
because they see you everywhere they look.

Help me reflect your glory and goodness today.
May I not despair, worry, or panic
because the earth is filled with violence and abuse.
You are moving rulers and changing nations.
You will bring all glory to yourself.
I trust you,
and I worship you!

Amen.

"All the ends of the earth wil…

Thanksgiving for the Cross

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This is a poetic prayer about how the crucifixion affects my life.

Dear Jesus--

Because of the cross,
you understand pain;
you can erase suffering--
your healing I'll gain.

Because of the cross,
you can understand sin;
your gift of forgiveness
will grant peace within.

Because of the cross,
you drew your last breath;
in becoming mortal,
you freed us from death.

Because of the cross,
my debt has been paid;
no longer I'm guilty
a daughter you've made.

Because of the cross,
I have access to you;
you hear all my prayers,
you make dreams come true.

Because of the cross,
I will live saved and free;
no longer I'll struggle with
whom I should be.

Because of the cross,
I'm changed every day;
I live life with purpose,
for you've shown me the way.

Amen

image by Suzy Dubot

A prayer against shame

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Dear Holy God,

You feel the ache I'm feeling.
You know the weight and sorrow of sin,
even another person's sin,
especially when it affects me.
Shame rolls in like a tidal wave,
wave after wave,
hitting the shores of my soul.

I want to cower and cover up
my sins and the sins of the people I love.

I chafe under conviction
(the very thing that seeks to release me)--
while I protect my shame
(the very thing that keeps me in bondage).

Oh, Father, give me the courage to welcome conviction for my sin
and the tenacity to fight the shame.
Your Spirit convicts,
but Your enemy shames,
because he knows that shame will make me hide in the shadows,
hide from the body of Christ,
and hide from You.

Lord, make us freedom-seekers!
Give us the desire to live freely in Your convicting presence,
in the holy of holies, where our souls are laid bare before You.
Help us confess our faults to one another
and pray for one another
so that we will be healed!
There is no limit to the power that will be un…

A prayer for my teenager

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Dear Lord,

Please surround my teenager with your presence today.
Walk with him, sit by him, whisper to him when he's alone.
Give him ears to hear you and a voice that praises you.
May the knowledge he has of you seep into his daily living.
Guide his thoughts, channel his emotions, temper his actions
so that wherever he is and whatever he does,
he brings you glory.
Even when he strays, doubts, or disbelieves,
stand close to him and remind him gently
that you are his father, his savior, his everything.
Forgive him for his many sins and restore him to you.
Guard his heart and soul. Defend his mind.
Bring him friends and mentors to reflect your love and grace,
your mission and passion--
people who will influence him to grow,
to reach his world,
and to live in relationship with you.
I pray the blood of Jesus over him
and the power of the Holy Spirit upon him.
Remember that you gave him to me,
and I gave him back.
He's yours. I want you to have him because you know him best.
Mold hi…

10 reasons you should fast and pray

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Here are 10 reasons you should fast and pray:

1. Jesus fasted (Mtt. 4:2).
2. Fasting accompanies fervent prayer (Ezra 8:23, Dan. 9:2-4)
3. The early church fasted before making decisions (Acts 13:1-2).
4. Jesus taught his disciples how to fast (Mtt. 6:16-18).
5. Jesus said his disciples would fast in his absence (Mk. 2:18-20).
6. Fasting accompanies worship (Lk. 2:37).
7. Fasting puts you in an attitude of repentance (1 Sam. 7:6, Neh. 9:1-3)
8. Fasting reminds you that nothing is an important as hearing from God (Jer. 36:6-9).
9. Fasting increases patience, which is a necessary part of praying (Psalm 35).
10. Fasting facilitates grief and wisdom in your response (Neh. 1:4)

Dear Lord Jehovah,
I am in awe of you. I confess my many sins, and I bring to you the sins of my loved ones and ask for your mercy on their behalf. Move in me, and move in them. Let your spirit pour over us and drown us with your presence. Lead us in your will and give us the courage to obey your call. Oh, Lord, build…

A prayer for beggars

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I saw a woman standing on the median yesterday while I waited in my car for the light to turn green. I read her cardboard sign, which asked for money and promised not to spend it on alcohol or drugs. She had a crutch, and I noticed that she limped as she paced.

I admit, I watched her carefully to see if the limp was legit.
I wondered what it would be like to need handouts to survive and why someone would stand all day on a median instead of finding a job. Was she homeless? Jobless? Or was begging her job, and her Honda was parked in the Burger King parking lot across the street?
I was judgey and sympathetic at the same time, and I hated myself for it. I noticed she didn't look at any of us drivers; she just stared straight ahead, holding her sign steady. I thought she must get tired of drivers not wanting to meet her gaze, themselves staring straight ahead over their steering wheels, uncomfortable and conflicted about her presence.
I looked ahead, too, praying about what to do. Th…

A prayer for my child's safety

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Dear Lord Jesus,

You hear the hammering of my heart,
the ache of letting a child go out into the world,
although it terrifies me.
Your mother must have felt that way every day.
Today I'm releasing my child a little bit more,
and it hurts deeply--
not because I don't want him to go
(although there's a teeny piece of that)--
but because I don't want him to be hurt.

I ask You--I beg You--put a hedge of protection around my child.
Send Your angels to encircle him,
to fight for him, to protect him against the forces of this world that seek his harm.
Protect his mind from secular thinking.
Protect his heart from loving the temporary things of this world.
Protect his body from physical and emotional damage,
from impurity, from hate, from unforgiveness, from bodily harm.

And while You protect him, breathe life into his spirit.
May he feel the most free, the most happy, the most fulfilled, when he is in Your presence.
Give him a longing for You and for Your Spirit.
Only You can…

Praying about a ministry decision

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Dear Lord,

I'm investigating a new opportunity for ministry, and I want to hear your voice.

It's been on my mind. I've felt passion for it. I've investigated a little. And I feel your spirit stirring me inside.

Should I do this? Is this what you want?

I'm not really qualified. I'm not confident. There are probably other people who could do it better.

Yet I know from experience and reading the Bible that these facts are often an indication that you are calling me. You usually call me to tasks greater than I can handle so I will turn to you for everything.

I will give myself to prayer and Scripture this week so I can hear you when you speak to me. I am committing to you right now to obey you in whatever you ask--to follow wherever your will takes me.

Any other response removes me from your blessing. I can't live without your blessing on my life. And by "blessing," I mean your favor. I realize and remind myself that blessings aren't always pleasa…

Give me patience

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Lord,

Please give me patience.
And I'd like it today.

Amen.


image by MALIZ ONG

A raw intercession

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Dear Lord Jesus Christ--

You are full of mercy and love,
and you amaze me
because we are a desperate and sinful people,
and yet you don't annihilate us.
At least, not yet.

And so I pray to you.
Grant us mercy--give us time to repent.
On behalf of those who serve you,
if we have pleased you with our rare and paltry obedience,
please go with us into the earth.
Convict us.
Transform us.

Forgive the arrogance and selfishness of us, your name-bearers.
We misrepresent who you are to your world.
We are stubborn and rebellious.
We elevate our own agendas.
We hate the lost, and we compete with our brothers,
and we call it Christianity.

Please forgive our wickedness.
Our sin is grievous to you,
and it confuses your message of forgiveness to the world.
Under the canopy of spiritual election,
we have confused freedom with grace,
conservatism with purity,
and protection with compassion.

Your heart must be breaking at the sight of us.

We bear your name,
and we look nothing like you.

Make us you…

Thy Kingdom Come

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Dear King of Kings,

You are the ruler of all things and all people,
yet you don't wield your authority or intimidate us into doing your will.
So I know that I can ask you for help.

I need your direction
to  prioritize my day
in a way that advances your kingdom.

This is difficult.

Because even the good things I do,
I often do because they benefit me.
They make me feel better about myself,
and they build better relationships with other people, which also benefits me.

That's not building your kingdom. It's building mine.

Although the process will be uncomfortable, make me selfless.
Although it will hurt, teach me to sacrifice my desires.
Although serving others will mimic failure,
help me to see that true success only occurs in the kingdom of God.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Ah! There it is!
A perspective change.
Oh, to live life with another kingdom in mind!

Lord, help me to be heavenly,
even during my earthly grind.

Amen.

image by RAJESH m…

Thank You for spring

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Dear Heavenly Father, Lord of Creation,

How do You do it?
Year after year, spring astounds me.
Thank you for the beauty of the flowers, the budding trees,
the singing of birds as they flitter through the branches,
gathering twigs for their nests.
Thank you for creating such incredible details
and weaving the world together in a tapestry of majesty.
Your love is boundless,
and I am awed by You.

Amen.


image by Bobby Mikul

Prayer for Monday

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Dear Lord,

It's Monday.
(But you know that already.)
Monday probably doesn't affect your work week one bit,
but it has enormous implications for mine.
Pressure (I have so much to do).
Adrenaline (the fight or flight kind).
Discouragement (I'll never get this all done).
Despair (I'll never be free of this pressure).

Now comes the breathing exercise.
Hoo-hoo-hee-hee.
Almost like I'm giving birth.
That's not what you want for me today.
It's not what you've planned.

Breathe.
I'm going for a walk, and I'm going to give this all back to you,
just like I do every Monday.
And every Tuesday-Sunday if I choose to live by faith instead of by sight.

Oh, God of heaven and earth,
Give me your Presence and your peace.
I am way too human
and way too incapable of performing what you have for me today.

I want your will, your way
Today and every day.

Amen.


image by Karen Arnold

Pray Psalm 1 over Your Husband

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Dear Lord, the Husband of my soul,

You have blessed me with a husband here on earth.

I ask you to pour out your blessing on him because you are good,
not because he or I deserve your blessing.
Guide his feet down the path of righteousness,
Guard his ears from acknowledging worldly advice or accepting godless counsel.
Keep him from forming friendships with people who mock truth and stymie mission.

Give him joy in your presence.
May he delight in you and in your truth!
Help him to crave your Word,
to read and reflect on the truth you reveal to him.
Give him the wisdom to hear your voice and the courage to obey your commands.

Nourish his soul so he grows like a tree
with deep roots of solid faith
and branches heavy with spiritual fruit.
In your power, help him impact souls and change lives.
Help him to stay strong in you--not to grow weary or discouraged,
not to break under the stress of this world.
Give him prosperity in the kingdom of God
and help him remember that is the only place tr…

When you're worried about the world

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Dear Lord, God of heaven and earth,

I know You aren't the least bit worried about the state of our world, but I am.
You aren't concerned that my children will grow old in a less-than-free country, but I am.
You aren't panicking that the gospel will cease to get out, but I am.

You've been doing this awhile.
You know that the gospel spreads under persecution.
You know that people finally stop relying on their own wits when their leaders abuse power, and they remember You.
That eventually, when life gets hard enough, Your people repent.
When they see a difference in Your children, the lost seek You,
that revival will sweep across a people like a field caught on fire.

That's what You want.
We want ease.

Change us, Lord!
Change me!
Make me a warrior.
Give me courage to stand for truth and to speak out against injustice--
not to be politically correct--
but to be spiritually correct.
Give me Your heart of compassion
and Your Holy Spirit.

Make me to shine like stars in th…

How to cast away your cares

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Dear Lord,

Today has been really stressful. I'm reminded on Peter's advice to the church in 1 Peter 5:7:

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."

I'm looking up the meanings in this verse, and with your help, I want to really "cast my anxiety on you." I'm not being critical, but this sounds way easier than it it.

Here's what I found out (which you already know):

The idea of "cast," which is epiriptō in Greek, means  "to throw out, throw on, throw down." In other words, chuck it! Heave it far from you. Lord, I think you're serious about this casting thing.

Then Peter uses 2 different words for "care" in this little verse: merimna,melei.

The first (a noun) means "anxiety; distraction, cares, anxiety pertaining to earthly things"; the second (a verb) means "to care about, have regard for."

So here's my prayer--my deep soul-hungering prayer that is desperate to feel peace:

Lord …

Specific things to pray over your children

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Dear God, who is the perfect Father,

I pray your presence over my children today.
Please send your Spirit to guide, direct, encourage, prompt, and convict them,
so they will lean into the Spirit's voice and follow it,
even if they aren't aware that it's really You.

Give wisdom and courage to the one who's interviewing for a job.
Give resolve and determination to the one who's in school.
Give patience and vision to the one who's planning out his life.

Encourage integrity and purity in the one who's dating.
Comfort the one who's discouraged and dismayed.
Spark imagination in the one who's feeling uncreative and unproductive.
Bring healing to the one who's heartbroken.
Reveal mission to the one who's longing to serve.

Stir compassion in the one who's inattentive to suffering,
generosity to the selfish,
stability to the insecure,
joy to the saddened.

And above all, lavish Your love on them, as You always do.
But help them to feel it!
May eac…

Spiritual warfare over the rebellious child

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Sometimes, we notice our children slipping away from active faith.
Or we notice stagnant lives, and we stress about them taking a spiritual nose-dive.
Or perhaps they are actively pursuing God, yet we worry about outside influences.
And then there are those frightening times when they just don't care about God at all;
perhaps they are making dangerous and sinful choices.
And we can't stop it.

BUT WE CAN PRAY!

Here's a prayer of spiritual warfare to pray over your wayward child:

Dear Father in Heaven,

You understand a parent's heart. You know that even though I trust You, it's so hard to leave my child completely in Your hands. I'm worried, even angry about the evil influences that push against ________. Please place Your hands around _________ and guide him/her into Your presence. Give him/her a thirst for You and a dissatisfaction for the pleasures of this world. Place people in _________'s path to influence and encourage him/her toward the heart of God. I as…