Sunday, July 8, 2018

A daily prayer for your children

Dear Heavenly Father,

I give you my children into your hands to protect, guide, convict, and grow. I pray over my children the words you gave the Israelites when you instructed them to impress your commands on their children's hearts. I need your help to do this well.

Help me to impress on my children:
  • to love you with all their heart, soul, and mind
  • to carefully obey all your commands
  • to think about you and understand you during their daily tasks and their journey through life
  • to memorize your holy Word, so it will grow in their hearts and produce godly attitudes
  • to fear (respect) you; to be in awe of your majesty
  • to keep their hearts from idolizing people and things
  • to take your authority seriously--not to test you or ridicule you or disregard you
  • to do right and good, whether they are alone or with others
  • to recognize your hand of blessing throughout their lives and to remember your interactions on their behalf
  • to discern your voice and your expectations from the world's, and to distance themselves from accepting falsehood and fallacies
If you are able to impress your heart and mind on theirs, then they will bring you glory, and you will prosper them. May they always seek the prosperity that can be measured in eternity, rather than prosperity on earth! May they live lives worthy of your sacrifice.

Thank you for my children. I give them to you, today and every day. Make me strong enough and faith-filled enough to let you keep them in your care!

Amen.




Friday, July 6, 2018

Prayer over a child's opportunity

Dear Lord God and Holy Spirit,

My child has an opportunity today--
one of those many milestones we parents feel are so important.
And they are, for succeeding in this world's system
and for maturing into an adult.

I give him once again into your hands.
You have his future in mind.
You created him for this moment
and for the million moments
before and after today.
You know how each part fits together.

Thank you for the thousand times you protected him,
the thousand times you comforted, encouraged, convicted.
May he feel your presence around him and before him today.

Give him courage to be honest about himself.
Give him confidence to see what you're already doing in him and for him.
Give him wisdom beyond his years.
Give him optimism and boldness--
enough to propel him toward your will
and enough to steer him through the trials that will come.

You crafted him.
You called him
You saved him.
And you gave him to me for a little while.

Thank you for the blessing of being his mother
and the challenge of being his compass.

I humbly ask you to guide and direct him,
to pour out your blessings on his life,
to fill him with your spirit.

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Monday, July 2, 2018

What to pray when you're angry

Lord,

Set a watch over my mouth.
Help me not to sin when I'm angry.
I mean, right now.
Clamp me down.
You can take care of this problem
if I just wait and listen
and behave like Jesus would.

(Wow, this is going to be hard.)
Once again, help me!

Amen.

“'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." (Eph. 4:26)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A confession of injustice

Dear Lord God,

You forgive us when we confess our sins,
and you give grace when we confess the sins of our ancestors--
of our family and our city and our country.

So I confess the great wickedness of our nation
at oppressing the poor,
marginalizing women, minorities, the elderly, and the ill,
enslaving the African-Americans,
red-lining poor communities,
indenturing and imprisoning the uneducated and underprivileged.

I confess our systemic white privilege,
even as I want to believe I am not a benefactor of it.
I confess our sins of racism and segregation,
even as I say that I have not overtly participated in any of it.
It is our heritage, and we are wrong to minimize its legacy.

I confess the church's sins of politicizing moral issues,
of drawing party lines through issues of compassion, grace, and mercy--
of using topics of mass incarceration, death penalty, immigration, life, and welfare
to divide party lines and provide ease and security for the privileged.
I confess these sins on behalf of the countless Christians who claim your name but do not behave like you did.

We do not touch the diseased,
help the prostitute,
protect the children,
shelter the foreigner,
or befriend the poor.

You condemned the religious rule-followers.
You called them serpents, dirty dishes, tombs.
You hated their sacrifices and their charitable donations and their prayers.
They made you angry.

We are them.
Oh, too often, we are them.
How angry do we make you
when we cry, "Lock him up!"
"Kill them all!"
"Take her children away!"

We do your name such injustice
when we prevent your creation from experiencing justice.

I confess it all.
I bear the blame.
May we all bear it,
and then, may we change.

Change us, oh God!
It's what you do best.
Instead of praying "Change them," change us!
and it's how the world will see that you are a God of love and justice.

Amen.

"Oh, Lord, we acknowledge our wickedness and the guilt of our fathers; we have indeed sinned against you. For the sake of your name, do not despise us; do not dishonor your glorious throne. Remember the covenant with us and do not break it. Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? Therefore, our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this." (Jeremiah 14:20-22)


Friday, June 22, 2018

Holy Spirit, Give Me

Holy Spirit,

Give me the faith to pray big prayers.
I want to experience you
working miracles,
healing my emotions,
transforming my mind,
softening my heart,
directing my destiny.

Give me courage to fight for others
instead of against others.
I want to see you
reconciling races,
restoring relationships,
reuniting families,
bringing closure,
healing wounds,
saving souls.

Give me the confidence to believe your timing is perfect.
I want peace while
believing in a future,
accepting disappointment,
striving for faith,
enduring hardship,
conquering temptation.

Give me You.

Amen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

It's raining

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the rain
and especially for not flooding my basement.
Your mercies never fail.
And apparently, the rain doesn't, either.
But you know best.

Amen.


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Help me be brave

Lord,

I'm facing something hard.
Help me be brave.

I don't want to worry about appearances or image--
I only want to reflect your love and mission for the world.
That's pretty scary.
It means I must live in you and outside myself.
I must seek your will,
trust your voice,
obey your commands.

Help me be brave.
Bravery comes from strength.
Strength comes from hardship.
Hardship surfaces with opportunity and destiny.

You understand hardship,
and you understand me.
You certainly know my destiny because you created me for it.

Help me to rest in you
and the courage you provide,
to do anything you ask,
go anywhere you call,
say anything you tell me to.

Amen.

"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." (Joshua 1:9)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

I'm sorry I've been away

Lord,

I'm sorry I've been away for awhile.
I let my daily routines consume my time.
I let my mind fill up with lists and stresses.
I really just needed more of you.

Help me to seek you first and your righteousness.
You will take care of the rest.
Change my devotional time to reflect new priorities.

I long for your presence and for your Spirit.
Come to me, indwell me, change me.

I'm yours.
Amen.

Matthew 6:31-33

Monday, June 4, 2018

Praise for the sunshine

Praise the Lord!

It's finally sunny again!

What a glorious morning 
with blue skies and warm sunlight!

I'm truly awed by your creation
and the impact it has on my life
and my emotions.

Thank you for the sunshine and the beauty all around me. 

Nature proves your love,
your provision,
your creativity and ingenuity,
your existence.

You don't have to make flower petals so exquisite, but you do.
You don't need to paint a different sunset every night,
with varying hues of orange and pink and purple,
but you do.
You don' have to make fluffy clouds the filter the sunlight like lacy fingers across the sky,
but you do.

You keep doing it,
every day, every year,
even though the world is sinful and messy and unbelieving.

Thank you.
I believe in all that you say you are,
and I believe you do all that you promise to do.
I love you.

Amen.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Thankful for America

Dear Lord God,

I am blessed to live in America,
a free country,
even though I chafe under the ambition and corruption so often present in public officials.
I am proud of our soldiers and civil servants,
even though I read stories of their brutality and injustice in the news.
I appreciate the protection I have to believe, write, live, and worship,
even though I recognize our country's moral decline.

We are a sinful people and a sinful nation,
and yet you choose to love us and use us.
You have blessed us with opportunity and responsibility,
and so much good has been accomplished in the world through our nation.
Because of your love and mercy.

Thank you for the men and women who have served our country,
faced danger,
missed loved ones,
endured trauma,
fought to recover,
and came home.

Thank you for the ones who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives
so we could enjoy freedom.
Bless their families and cover them with your loving care.

Thank you for trusting us with your message of hope
and the resources to help other people.
May America be a country that reflects your love and compassion to the world!

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.--Psalm 33:12

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Flood me


My Lord,

It seems like you want to flood us.
Streets,
ditches,
streams,
rivers,
sidewalks,
basements.

I'm not enjoying it.
You can stop anytime.

But that's not you.
You can't help but flood the minds and hearts of your people.
Sometimes your Spirit comes in like a tidal wave,
just to remind me who you are
and what you are capable of doing.

I know you are all-powerful.
I know you're the Living Water.
I know you give life--
you don't take life.

You refresh, you satisfy, you fill.
You are enough.
You are more than enough--
I can't handle your power or your mercy.
I can't understand it.

So when I feel that I have more than I can handle,
I must be looking at the floods around me
instead of looking up to you
who are more powerful and more capable than anything this world can throw at me.

Flood me.
Help me not to fear your flood
but to ride the waves--
to sail on--
to walk on water--
to drink from your cup.

Make the water that you give me
well up and flood everyone and everything around me.
Make me your tidal wave of love and mercy.

You are my Living Water,
and I thirst for you.

Amen.

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you."--Isaiah 43:2

"Jesus said, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.' "--John 4:13-14

Thursday, May 17, 2018

I believe you love me

Dear Lord,

All your ways are good.
I believe you love me.

When life is difficult, and circumstances don't go my way,
I believe you love me,
and you're working out a plan to mature me.

When people and struggles are cruel and unforgiving,
I believe you love me,
and you're teaching me something about myself and about yourself.

When you bless me with family love and encouraging friendships,
I believe you love me.

Yet you don't love me any more when my life is easy than when it is hard,
even thought that seems true to me.
Ease is not better proof of your love,
but it does reveal the degree of my faith in you.

Thank you for your patience with me,
for your long-suffering nature that understands how many times it takes for me to believe and accept truth,
especially truth of your sacrificial and eternal love.
As if you had something more to prove!

Living by faith and not by sight is hard for me--
I so easily forget that you are love,
all the time,
when I feel loved and happy
and when I don't.

You never change.
I believe you love me,
and that makes my life glorious and astounding.

I love you, too,
in my feeble, human sort of way.

Amen.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.--Psalm 145:17

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Thank you for the blessings I understand and the ones I don't

Dear Lord-Provider,

Thank you for answering my prayers.
I'm grateful for your blessings,
even when they happen in your timing and not mine.
(Your way always seems way too long in coming.)

I'm trying to believe that your timing is perfect,
even when I can't see that it is.

I know I need patience
and faith to trust you.
I'm glad you're working on this in my life,
even though I hate it.

I love you.
In my feeble, pathetic, human way,
I love you.
And I desire to love you more all the time,
not just when you bless me.

Until you make me wait another time
and then bless me again after I've waited,
I just want to say--

I believe in your timing.
I'm grateful for the blessings I understand and the ones I don't.
I trust your will for your gifts that are coming,
no matter what they look like at the time I receive them.

Amen.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

What are my idols?

Dear God Almighty,

I want to sit in your presence and hear you speak to me.
But perhaps I'm worshipping something else,
something about me and for me,
instead of listening for your will
or obeying what I already know I should be doing.

I do desire clean hands,
a pure heart,
and a soul that's not idolatrous.

The truth is, worship of you only is hard.
I naturally drift toward self-centeredness.
Show me where I go wrong,
where I steer away from loving you completely.

What are my idols?
Are they people I love?
Success?
Acceptance?
Recognition?
Security?

Cleanse me of these desires
and give me a pure heart
that seeks only You.

You are my One and Only,
my Alpha and Omega.
my Beginning and End.
You alone.

And thank you for your patience with me.

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Psalm 24:3-4

Friday, April 27, 2018

When you want to quit praying


Dear Lord,

I'm tired of praying about this.
Nothing changes.
Do you want to help me?
Do you hear me?
Will you respond to me?

I'm waiting.
Help me to grow while I wait.
Strengthen my faith--
I don't trust you enough.

Help to to readjust my focus,
to remember that your plans are bigger than my plans,
that your love spans generations, cultures, and centuries.
You are producing good works in me and in many other people, too,
while I wait here impatiently,
trying to decide if I should quit praying.

I'm sorry.
I'm so selfish and demanding.
Help me to persevere,
and by being faithful in prayer,
I want to bring you glory,
today and every day.

Strengthen my resolve.
Help me not to grow weary in praying.
Give me a harvest of good works,
a life lived in complete surrender
and total expectation of the abundance of God's love!

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Read Lori Hatcher's blog post today, called "Powerful Hope When You're Ready to Quit Praying."

1 Thess. 5:17--"Pray without ceasing."

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

Dear God,


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