Thursday, April 26, 2018

How you re-create spring and me: A prayer of thanks and wonder

Dear God Creator,

Wow! It's spring, and I'm startled by the beauty you've created.
How could anyone invent such varied and delicate blossoms
or paint such a canvas as Virginia in the spring?
White, pink, fuchsia, purple, yellow, periwinkle, green--
the colors of flowering trees and plants
blend together in shocking splendor.

You did this because you love me
and you can't help but create, again and again.

You're doing it in me every day,
re-creating something that was dormant during the winters of my life,
something I've given up on and decided I can't change.
I've decided that some part of me will never improve.
That this is just the way I am.

Yet the Spirit of God in me says,
 No.
You were created for something more.
You are splendid.
I am making you new, always pruning, always nurturing,
always alive and hopeful,
like spring.
You are being re-born.
This is what I do.

I create.
I make all things new.

Thank you.
I worship you for who you are and what you can create.

Amen.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A little big prayer for blessing


















Lord,
Bless me, indeed.
Enlarge my territory.
Put your hand on me and never remove it.
Keep me from harm and from causing pain.
Be with me in a big way
because you're a big God.
The One and Only.
Amen.

From The Prayer of Jabez, 1 Chronicles 4:10

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A prayer for the Hybels

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the incredible years of service to the Lord that Bill and Lynne Hybels have given. I ask for you to bless them and comfort them during this horrific time of humiliation and exposure.

I don't know what's true and what's not true,
so I'm not grieved that Bill has "fallen" from his pedestal.
He shouldn't have been put on a pedestal,
and people shouldn't want to knock him off it.

I'm grieved that Christians have gone public in the media against one of their own.
I'm grieved that the media is writing sensational headlines, sloppy reporting, and undocumented allegations.

I don't want to believe the accusations. But that doesn't really matter.

My concern is for the people involved.
To feel betrayed, vilified, and hunted is a terrible thing.
To be the betrayer, villain, and hunter is perhaps more terrible because the vengeance of God is coming.
I pray against the devil's work.
I pray against vengeance, pride, bitterness, despair, hatred, and self-righteousness on any side.

The enemy is having an enjoyable week, and I ask you to repress him.
Squelch this story and do the work you do best.

If Bill is guilty, the story is horrible because hate will never bring him to repentance.
If Bill is innocent, it's horrible because hate has divided the church and torn down a respected public figure who might never recover from it.

Bless this family with your unexplainable peace.
Bring clarity, peace, hope,
conviction where necessary.
Forgiveness and restitution.

The Hybels need a miracle to survive this. Willow needs a miracle. Ortbergs need a miracle. These women need a miracle. Good thing that miracles are your specialty.

You know all things, and you extend grace to everyone, to every sinner.
I confess their sins, whatever they are. Grant each person grace and mercy,
A stronger and renewed love relationship with you.

Somehow, salvage this mess so your name will be glorified,
'cause right now, your name is taking a big hit with the lost world.

I am in awe of you already, because I know you're going to do something amazing.

In Jesus' holy and loving name,
Amen.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Thank you for my children's struggles

Dear Father,

Thank you for my children.
Thank you for their imperfections and their struggles.
Thank you for walking through life with them,
speaking into their lives,
using every hardship and every conflict to re-orient them to you.
And you don't hurry or panic when they don't learn the lesson
the first or second or hundredth time.

You keep loving and showing yourself to them
by bringing influencers across their paths,
by painting nature all around them,
by making your Word alive and powerful in their hearts and minds.

Thank you for being their God,
as much as you are my God.
You have a future and a hope for them,
a destiny of your design.
You will use all their mistakes,
all their experiences,
all my failings and my influence
to mold them into the people you want them to be.

I am in awe of your goodness and your sovereignty.
Why do I worry?
My children were your children first,
your perfect, unique creations,
an expression of yourself,
with a little bit of us parents mixed in.

Your work is remarkable!
Thank you for letting me experience them
as their parent.

Amen.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

I hope you're glorified

Lord,

I hope you're glorified by my life,
with the choices that I make every day
that don't seem important in the present,
but perhaps they are in the long-run.

I hope that doing housework,
schoolwork, career work, and relationships
glorify you during all the little unseen moments,
when I'm kind in spite of being annoyed,
careful in spite of being tired,
righteous when nobody's looking.

May you find pleasure in my joy
and return tender mercies for
my failings,
and I pray for all of it to bring you the glory you deserve.
Your glory shines over all the earth!

In Jesus' wonderful name,
Amen.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

A prayer against betrayal

Dear Lord Jesus,

Tonight is the night you were betrayed. You had your last dinner with your close friends, and Peter said he'd die for you, and Judas Iscariot slipped out to meet the Pharisees and collect his 30 pieces of silver. Then you took the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray with you and for you; you were headed into the greatest struggle in all of history.

Judas kissed you. Oh, the nerve of him!

Then the soldiers took you away for an illegal trial, built on lies and false accusations, while John watched and Peter cursed out the servants for suggesting that he knew you.

How could they could betray you, they who knew you so well and who served with you for three years. If they could betray you, what hope is there for me?

I am unfaithful, fearful, weak, ungrateful, even doubting. I am so unworthy of your unfailing faithfulness and grace. How can I become more resolute?

Lord Jesus, fill me with the Holy Spirit. May I go into garden and pray to you for strength and courage. May I pray for the whole world. Strengthen me and use me. Give me the boldness to endure persecution and mistreatment. And while that happens, help me look to you instead of at my circumstances.

Help me live in the eternal rather than the temporal.

And thank you for your forgiveness--for the many times I've already betrayed you and for the many times I will again. But I rest in your strength and your faithfulness!

Amen.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

When you hate someone

Have you ever felt disdain for someone? Hatred, even? Guilt that you should forgive an enemy, but you don't know how?
Maybe this will help.

Dear Lord,

You know my heart, so I can't pretend I don't feel this way.
I'm angry.
My pride is hurt.
I feel manipulated, or betrayed, or used
by someone.
I don't like that person at all.
I don't want to say "I hate,"
but I wonder if it's true.
Am I a person who could hate someone?

No,
I just don't trust him.
I just can't forgive her.
I just don't want to be with him.
We're just not friends.

These are the things I tell myself,
but you know they aren't true.
I hate.
I withhold forgiveness.
It makes me feel powerful,
or at least that's what I think.

It's not true.
It's a trap.
There's no freedom in hate and unforgiveness.

Seventy times seven.
That's what you said.
You forgave me,
so I need to forgive everyone else.
No one has sinned against me
like I have sinned against you.

Change my heart
and help me to love others like you love me.
It's hard to believe, but
you love us all the same.

Lord, forgive me, please.
I confess my sin.
Cleanse me of it.
Give me your love
and help me to see people the way you see them.
Show me something today about this person--
some hurt, some fear she has.
Show me his humanity--
the things that make us so similar.
Help that realization to humble me,
instead of it making me proud, judgmental, and defensive.

I worship you in all of my unworthiness.
I'm amazed that you love me at all.

In Jesus' name,
Amen.


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Prayer for a busy day

Dear Lord,

I want to spend time with you today, but I feel so rushed.
I have so much to do.
I know you understand.

No, wait.
Help me prioritize.
You first.
Then what ministry would you have me do?
What people can I touch?

And help me not to obsess about my to-do list
that's sitting there on the table screaming at me.
Things are less important than people.
My world is less important than your plans for me.
This life is less important than the life to follow.

I know that.
And yet--
it all feels so terribly important.

Use me.
Change me.
Give me your eyes to see the life you want for me
and the courage to live it.

Amen.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Prayer for the immigrant and refugee

Dear Father of the fatherless,

I pray your compassion and mercy over the world's immigrants and refugees.
May I always welcome the lost and weary in Jesus' name.
Give me courage to defend the fatherless,
to assist the widow,
to welcome the stranger,
to offering healing to the sick,
to rescue the oppressed.

May we never see nationality, creed, or culture
because You don't see them.
You see people--
hungry, afraid, terrorized, hurting,
displaced, marginalized, misunderstood, resourceless.
These are problems created by humans against humans.
And these problems interfere with seeing You.

Convict me when that's all I see.
Use me to show Jesus' love through what I do and what I say.
Keep me from political agendas instead of prayerful purpose.

If I truly want to be like You,
this is how I will behave
and what I will believe.

"Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor."--Ezekiel 22:7

"And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."--Micah 6:8 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Confession from a control-freak

Lord of Lords,

I want you to be present in my life.
I even want you to be in control--
so why do I chafe against life's constraints, against unwanted circumstances?
Why do I grumble about the time it takes for you to work in my life?
Why do I say I want your will, even while I plan and control my own destiny?

I worry about what will happen and what hasn't happened.
Although  I don't blame you audibly,
I find myself annoyed with my life
and avoiding my quiet time with you.
Because I've distanced myself from you.
My life is a testament to how and if and when I let you work.
My attitude reveals my heart.

I respect the beauty of your power, but not the impact of it.
It's like controlling the ocean, the surf, and the shoreline and thinking that would make the ocean better.
In essence, that would ruin the majesty of creation.

Lord, help me be willing to give you my whole heart.
Convict me when I don't.

Please forgive me. I want you to have all of me.

Amen.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Praise and thanks for using me

Heavenly Father,

Why do you bless me so much?
I am in awe of your perfect ways and the grace you give when you let us become involved in the work you're doing around the world.

Today you let me meet a child I've sponsored for 15 years, halfway around the world.
We share love and appreciation for one another, even though we had never met or talked before today.
You have knit our hearts together in the Lord.
Even though we don't share race,
culture,
economic status,
gender,
age,
or interests,
this relationship has enriched and changed our lives.

Your Spirit accomplished that.
Thank you for using me and blessing me in the process.

How awesome are your ways, O Lord!
Amen.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Thank you for the snow . . . and for heat

Lord God,

Your creativity and artistry amaze me.
Thank you for the beautiful snowfall.
And more importantly,
thank you for my home and my heat.

You are too good to me.
Amen.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Help me prioritize

Lord,

Help me prioritize.
My work is piling up.
I have so many projects, pressures, and demands.
At work and home, the list is endless.
I've missed some family time.
I haven't exercised.
My devotional life is poor.
Friends are waiting for lunches.

I'm like Martha--worried and upset about many things.

Few things are needed--
or indeed only one.

Help me see You
in order to choose You.
Instead of asking You to point me toward the priority that I should do first,
I want to make You the priority.

Help me to chose what cannot be taken away.

First You.
Only You.

I choose You. In Jesus' beautiful name,
Amen.


Luke 10:40-42