Friday, October 6, 2017

My confession to you

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 God has great purpose for my life, but when I worry and freak out over the time and effort it takes to obey Him, I reveal how faithless I actually am.

I do not want to be this person. In my Spirit-filled moments, I am. But the rest of the time, I am fighting it. My spirit and my soul are at war.

Heal me, O Lord Jehovah, Rapha and Redeemer!
Only you can take someone as sinful as me
and make me into someone like You.
It's unimaginable, but I believe it's true.
Remind me of Your grace and love.
Pour out Your power on me
so that Your power can course through me 
and pour out on someone else.
You are that amazing! I worship You and adore You!
Amen.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Prayer for a rushed day

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.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Will God answer my prayers?


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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Confessing someone else's sins

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 protection around _________,
not to keep him/her from consequences--
because sin always has consequences--
but to keep __________ from total devastation.
Insert someone into his/her path,
someone to speak truth,
to represent Your love authentically,
to dislodge the lies, the myths, and the willful rejection of Your plan for his/her life.

I confess it all and beg Your mercy and grace for _________.
Draw him/her to Yourself.
You are the only thing that satisfies.
You, the Holy One.

"In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.” The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked."
Amen.


Ezra 9:15-10:1
Num. 14:17-21


image by Barbara Jackson


Thursday, September 7, 2017

Praying Peace and Destiny over your Spouse

*(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 You've given him to carry.
And only Your Spirit will give him the courage to drop all the other loads he carries
that he doesn't need to shoulder.

Give him peace.
Give him wisdom.
Make him intuitive, thoughtful, and kind beyond his natural ability.
May he always walk in Your Spirit, Your grace, and Your strength.

I pray Your blessings on him.
May they rain down on his life like a cascade of waters,
filling up the empty places and overflowing his days with joy and contentment.
May he be content in following You alone.

Move mountains for him,
and move mountains with him.
I pray that the lives he touches and the children he raises
be exceptional followers of You.
I pray Your peace and blessing over his life and over his work.

Thank You for the privilege and responsibility of being his spouse.
In Jesus' name,
Amen.

image by alex grichenko

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Counting my blessings

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.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Prayer for Charlottesville

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 tragedy.
Heal Charlottesville
and protect Virginia.
Protect our country from another century of malice and bigotry.

We worship you and thank you for your
love, compassion, justice, and mercy.
We will never be worthy of your grace!
Amen.

image by George Hodan

Friday, August 11, 2017

Intercession for our country

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 to our world.
May we never confuse him with political activism!

Our love and adoration be Yours alone!
Amen.

image by George Hodan

Friday, August 4, 2017

How to pray a prayer of anguish

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.

Praying God's words back to him keeps my prayer a lament instead of a complaint. Fortunately, most of David's Psalms end with the correct theology that God is good, and He will do good on my behalf. In context, these verses have power; out of context, they might seem cliché.

Here are a few of my favorite passages, turned into prayers that you can use during your dark times:

"Lord, I am in distress! Listen to me! Reach down your hand and hold me up!" (Ps. 18:6)

"Lord, have mercy on me! I'm traumatized. My body and soul are wracked with grief. I can't go on! I feel all my strength fading away. I'm not going to survive. Please rescue me!" (Ps. 31:9-10)

"Lord, I am in desperate need. My enemies surround me, wanting me to fail. Only you can help me. I wait for you to work in my life. Please hurry, before I lose everything!" (Ps. 31:15-16)

"Lord, I am watching the wicked succeed all around me. I'm holding my tongue, even though I want to scream that it's not fair. I'm trying to honor you, but my anguish is increasing. Give me perspective, God! Show me how this will end! But until then, teach me to have hope in you alone." (Ps. 39:1-7)

"Lord, I am so discouraged. All my confidence is gone. I have given up hope. Help me to remember your faithfulness. My spirit is thirsty for you. Please come and refresh me!" (Ps. 143)

So take a minute and pray a psalm of agony. Cry out. God will answer you, because that's who he is. He is acquainted with grief. He can't help but respond to the cries of his children!

image by George Hodan

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Praying for Angels to Surround my Kids

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.

"Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14)

image by  

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

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

Monday, May 1, 2017

Praying Peace into my stormy life

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 drown?' He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?' They were terrified and asked each other, 'Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!' " (Mark 4:37-41)

image by axelle b

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A prayer for Earth Day

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 will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations."
(Psalm 22:27-28)

image by Dawn Hudson

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Thanksgiving for the Cross

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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A prayer against shame

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 unleashed when
righteous, shameless freedom-seekers seek the face of God and pray!

Amen.


"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (James 5:16)

(Meme made in WordSwag)


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A prayer for my teenager

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 him.
Use him.
And because I'm his mother, please protect him.
I love you, and I trust you.
Amen.

image by Kevin Phillips

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

10 reasons you should fast and pray

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 in me patience so I will wait on you, as I should. I sit here, waiting. I know you will come.
Thank you! I love you!
Amen.

image by Kevin Phillips

Friday, March 31, 2017

A prayer for beggars

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. Then I pulled out my wallet and found a $5.00 bill. Not sacrificial, not risky, but something. I wondered if my motives were truly kind or just guilty.

The light turned green, and I rolled down my window and held out the bill. She was ready for it, so she must have been watching me, too. She knows the signs of a driver fumbling for a purse, considering what to give. Acting all casual, like giving to beggars is an ordinary experience.

"Thank you! God bless you!" she said.

"Have a good day," I said.

But our eyes barely met.

Lord, God,
Forgive me. I confess that I am proud and self-absorbed and insecure about my calling. Give me a passion to help the hurting. Take away my cynicism and help me see everyone the way You see them. Remove our shame! It's the enemy's tactic to separate people, isolate souls, and increase pain. I pray for you to meet her physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. I pray the blood of Jesus over her and over me. May we both be transformed by Your likeness!
Amen.


"I was hungry, and you gave me something to drink, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger, and you invited me in." Mtt. 25:35


image by George Hodan

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A prayer for my child's safety

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 do that.
I can only wish it and pray for it.

Speak to him in Your still, small voice.
Help him to make time to hear it.

And lastly, fill me up with faith and love for You,
so that I can trust him to You.
Every day, I struggle with this task of giving him into Your care
and believing that You know best
and that You are working in him according to Your own timeline.

Thank You for entrusting him to me for this short time on earth,
and the even shorter time called childhood.
Oh, how fleeting are the days during which I am a primary influence.
I cherish them, and I ask You to bless them,
in spite of the millions of mistakes I have made and am making.

Bless us, Jesus. Bless us with Your spirit and Your protective hand.
In Your holy name,
Amen.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Praying about a ministry decision

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 pleasant or easy. As much as my insecurity wants ease, my spirit does not, because you are not in the business of making life easy. You are a miracle-worker and a culture-changer. You are redeeming souls, families, and nations.

I want to be a part of that calling! I love you, and I worship you,

Amen.

"Do not let they Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."--Josh. 1:8-9

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Thursday, March 9, 2017

A raw intercession

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 your inheritance,
the recipients of your blessings--
not because we deserve ease and comfort (because we don't!)--
but because your name is Jesus,
the One and Only,
the Lover of our Souls,
the Hope of All Creation.

Covenant with us to use us in spite of our egotism,
to transform us in spite of our failures.
May your name be glorified on earth
forever and ever.
Amen.

(taken from Ex. 34:8-9)

image by George Hodan

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Thy Kingdom Come

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 misra

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Thank You for spring

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

Monday, February 20, 2017

Prayer for Monday

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

Monday, February 6, 2017

Pray Psalm 1 over Your Husband

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 true success exists.

Protect him from superficiality,
from hypocrisy,
from becoming ineffective or powerless in your work.

May he stand strong under fire;
may he submit to conviction;
may he shine bright in a dark world!

You are watching over him.
You are guiding him in your will and in your mission.
He will not waste his life, as the wicked do.

Thank you, Lord.
He is yours, and I worship you.

Amen.

Prayer modeled after Psalm 1

image by Kevin Phillips


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

When you're worried about the world

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 the universe
and light up a world so enveloped in darkness
that it doesn't even realize the light has dimmed.

Amen.

Phil. 2:14-15--"that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe."


image by Nona Lohr

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How to cast away your cares

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 God, I don't want to carry this anymore! I'm heaving all my stress, worry, earthly distractions, and fears far from me--over the cliff, into on-coming traffic, out to sea. Whatever the metaphor. I don't want them. 

I can live without anxiety. I can. So why do I hang on to worry instead of flinging it far from me? I don't need to worry because you care so much about me. You have my life figured out. 
You have regard for me; it matters to you what happens to me. 

Of course it does. That's why you died for me. That's why you placed me in a beautiful world. That's why you want me to pray. 

You love me.

How can I worry? I will praise your name. Lord, I worship and exalt you!
What can man do to me?

In Jesus' name, Amen.


image by Rostislav Kralik
Source:
https://www.blueletterbible.org/niv/1pe/5/7/t_conc_1156007

Friday, January 13, 2017

Specific things to pray over your children

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 each child be overwhelmed with the reality of Your abundant love,
so overwhelmed that it changes them!
Transform them into the image of Christ,
who loved others with infinite love.

And while You accomplish all these transformations,
help me to get out of the way
and let You have Your will with my children--
because they are Yours.

Yours alone.
Thank you for blessing me with them for a short time.
May I live worthy of the calling!
Amen.


image by Amy Robinson

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Spiritual warfare over the rebellious child

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 ask for the Holy Spirit to convict, persuade, and strengthen __________. In Jesus' name, I pray the Holy Spirit's power over the enemy and his forces of evil that daily assault my child. I pray against the enemy's deceitful promises; I pray against the pleasure of evil--may sin taste bitter to my child. Lord, let his/her harmful friends and dangerous actions frighten __________; lead __________ to run toward You for protection, power, and purpose. Help __________ to find his/her identity in You alone, and not in the lies of the enemy of Christ. I claim victory in my child's life because of Christ's sacrifice on the Cross and His powerful resurrection! In Jesus' holy and mighty name, I pray for __________ to return to blessings of a life lived wholly for God. May ________ walk worthy of Your calling, may __________ please You. May __________ conform no longer to the world but be transformed in his/her mind. Lead him/her into your good and perfect will. I give him/her into Your hands to transform him/her through Your power. 

In Jesus' precious name,
Amen!

(Read Romans 12, Colossians 1, and Ephesians 6 for more)


image by George Hodan
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