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A Parent's Prayer (from Romans 12)

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This morning I read Romans 12 and thought, "Wow! This is a masterful prayer for parents (me) to pray over my kids. It says everything I want for them."

So here it is--Romans 12, turned into a parents' prayer for their children, no matter how young or old they are. It is a prayer over their destiny. (You can also read "A prayer of destiny over your family" here.)

Dear Lord God,
I ask for Holy Spirit to influence my children.
May they present themselves wholly to you to you as you want to. Help them not conform to the lifestyles in this world But be transformed from the inside out— May they meditate on Scripture and see the world as you see it. Give them wisdom to discern your perfect will.
Help them to be humble and serving in the church, To take their gifts and talents seriously, knowing you gave them abilities to be used in the body of Christ and not for their own improvement and satisfaction. Give them success by your standards. (A prayer about your child's success

Praying over a hard decision

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I read The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman this past week. It was good timing, since I'm poised to make several decisions that I don't know how to make.

Life decisions are mostly good/good decisions, aren't they? Not good/bad (which would be way easier). What is the next right thing that we should do today? Just do that.

Let's start with a prayer.

Oh, Lord,

I have a decision to make.
I really don't know what to do.
The choices are both good, 
one clearly benefits me more.
Does that make it worse than the other?

I want to glorify you
and bring you honor.
Show me what to do,
and I'll do it.
And if it doesn't matter--
please give me peace about one of the choices.
I love you.

Amen.


"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted …

It's not about me

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Oh, Lord,

This life is not about me.

My pain is not about me.
My relationships are not about me.
My purpose is not about me.
My success is not about me.
My plans are not about me.

Or at least, they shouldn't be.

It's all about you
working through me,
changing me,
changing the world.

What an enormous task you've begun!
I wonder why you use me at all.

So when I sin--
when I misrepresent you--
when I disappoint myself--
when I hurt others--
when I give up--
when I hide--
when I don't believe--
it's all about me.

Life is hard.
Wisdom is difficult.
I only have my own perspective.
But I need yours.

Sometimes your heart is hard to see
because I can only see mine.
I must lean into you,
dig deeper,
remove my blinders,
open my soul to listen.

You alone.
Forgive me for listening to the voices around me
instead of yours.

Amen.


Serving our community with prayer and hard work

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Dear Lord,

We are serving our community this week.
You are reminding us of your great love and mercy
so that we are not distracted by the world we want to see
or ignorant of the world we don't want to see.
May the condition of the buildings we fix,
the lawns we weed,
the materials we stock,
the lives we uplift--
may it all glorify your name and reflect your love for the whole world.
Let us be your hands and feet to our neighbors.
Nothing is too hard,
too awkward,
too humbling,
too uncomfortable to do
that Jesus hasn't already experienced for me.
Thank you for your love and grace toward me
and your overflowing blessings.
Help me reach out to others every day,
not just on a missions week.

In Jesus' precious name,
Amen.


We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your ]faith;if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is g…

A prayer for kids' camp

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Lord Jesus,

You're having such an amazing week at camp
watching your children love your children.

The little ones, away from home for the first time,
are making friends,
trying foods,
listening to lessons,
playing new game,
admiring teenagers,
learning more about who you are.
This week will change them forever.

The teenagers, away from friends and parents,
are taking care of children,
applying sunscreen,
wiping tables,
counting heads,
organizing activities,
leading cheers,
sacrificing themselves for little people.
This week will change them forever.

The adults, away from work and families,
are organizing events,
mentoring teenagers,
hugging children,
losing sleep,
staying positive,
teaching lessons,
running games,
investing in the future.
This week will change them forever.

I pray your blessing over all of them.
Keep them safe,
healthy,
receptive,
tender.

You want to speak to each of them.
You want to nudge them into the next phase of their spiritual development.
You want each of …

Thank you for fathers

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Dear Father in heaven,

Thank you for creating fatherhood
and for men who are courageous and sacrificial while they do it.
Praise God for men that take on the challenge of fatherhood,
who grow into it,
adapt to it,
love it.

Thank you for my dad,
even though I have no significant memories of him.
Even though he died at 33,
he left a legacy.
He had already started building something that would last.

He left big shoes to fill
and a wife determined to fill them.
Thank you for my mother.
For their marriage.
For their commitment to you.

Thank you for all parents
who love their children
and raise them to be responsible,
caring, giving, and God-honoring.
You leave your legacy on all of us.

What a tribute a good father is to you,
the greatest of all fathers,
the one and only.

I praise and thank you for who you are.
Amen.


A scary prayer for grace

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Lord,

I need some grace in my life.
Not for me--I know I already have that in excess.
You lavish your grace and mercy on me,
when, of course, I don't deserve it.
Thank you for that.
It's truly incomprehensible.

I must not be living in consciousness of your grace all the time
because I am often ungracious towards other people.
Me, who's highly flawed,
finds time and energy to judge other people who are also highly flawed.

I get annoyed,
impatient,
frustrated,
upset.

I know that makes me human.
Your grace has told me you understand my frailties
and you love me anyway.
(Once again, thank you.)

If your power is made perfect in weakness,
why do I rebel against my own weakness
and criticize other people's weaknesses.
It's so hypocritical.

I want your power to flow through me,
yet I pretend and fight against the weaknesses that make
your power visible.

I think the antidote to gracelessness is humility.
My flaws should do the trick there,
but I guess I cover them up and pre…

Confessing my country's sins

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Lord of heaven and earth,

You know what's going on in my country.
You know our sins are enormous.
Sickening.
Despicable.
Unfathomable.
Unrelenting.

We exploit the naive, the weak, the old, the poor, and the traumatized.
We kill babies, no matter what their size.
We decide who has a chance to live and what life should look like.
We devalue human identity and created purpose, confusing our children and adults about who they are and how you created them.
We ignore the handicapped unless they do something amazing that fully-functioning people don't do.
We execute criminals, whether they've had a fair trial or not, and we say "Good riddance."
We waste our natural resources.
We mass-murder our own countrymen and look for someone to blame for it.
We desecrate our healthy bodies through dangerous lifestyles, immorality, substance abuse, and food addictions. We call it our personal right to do so.
We waste our time. Oh, such a valuable commodity. We act as if it will neve…

A quick prayer for busy people

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Lord,

Give me energy.
I have a lot to do.

Help me prioritize.
I have a lot to do.

Give me awareness of my surroundings.
I have a lot to do,
which means I may ignore
or accidentally hurt people.

Keep me from hurting people
in my quest to do good.
(You know I have a lot to do.)

Soften my spirit.
The things I have to do
are not nearly as important
as the people I'll pass along the way.

Give me compassion while I'm busy.
You know I want to get things done,
but I want to help people, too.

Okay, you can have my day.
I'll only do what you tell me
and help the people you bring to mind.

Ho-hum.
I was going to do a lot today.
But now I guess I'll focus on the kingdom of heaven instead.

You can't check that off a list,
but it's good stuff, anyway.


In Jesus' name,
Amen.


"Keep yourself in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some, have compassion, making a difference."--Jude 1:21-22

How to pray when you're overwhelmed with loss or sadness

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A day like Memorial Day stirs emotions for military families. (Read my personal blog about Memorial Day here.)

Perhaps it even affects regular families who sit with an empty chair at every dinner table.

Grief is stirred both by remembering and by trying to forget. (Read about remembering grief here.)

What should you do when you're overwhelmed with loss or sadness?

You should lament.

Just complain, vent, rage, mourn, grieve, cry, blubber. To God. Ask rhetorical questions. Make accusations. Just do it with a dependance and faith on God's love for you. Do it with the awareness that you are not and cannot see the whole picture of your life. Understand that grief and loss always blur reality.

With or without immediate answers, when you lament, you must choose to trust in the unseen. That is faith, after all.

For more about the lament, read my recent full Guideposts blog on lamentation here. A brief excerpt is below:

Here are a few things you can include in a lament: How you feel—why…

A prayer over the graduate

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Dear Father,

Thank you for the privilege of raising this child
who is now an adult,
graduating onto new and bigger things.

I ask your blessing and protection over my graduate.
I ask for your Spirit to hover over him and around him,
to speak truth into his mind and courage into heart.
Please give him divine appointments with professors,
employers,
roommates,
friends,
and a future spouse.
Help him to meet the right people at the right time
with a heart that's right and ready to obey your will.

Give him a life of impact and purpose.
Happiness and joy.
Lord, help him to see the positive
and fight the negative
and to be an accurate reflection of your love and grace
to everyone he meets.

He will make mistakes.
He will fail.
He will grieve and have heartache.
But I pray for him to cling to you--
to always lean on you and look to you
for guidance, comfort, and direction.
Remind him to be courageous and try again.
To get back up.
To confess, forgive, believe, and give.

Thank you for allowin…

I really messed up this week: a prayer of awareness and repentance

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Well, Lord,

I messed up this week.
I got upset about an injustice that was done to one of my kids--
which of course, felt like an injustice to me--
and I went all Mama-Bear on some well-intentioned people
who, however unintentional their behavior was, hurt my child.

So I messed up right back at them.
I was nice about it,
but I hurt them with my well-crafted phrases.
I feel terribly convicted,
even though what I said and how I said it may not have been so terrible.

I don't know anymore.
I just know I didn't leave this at your feet.
I didn't turn the other cheek.
(It's my kid, after all!)--
but I guess you know about that better than I do!
I took the bait.
I was less than Jesus about the whole thing.
I lacked grace and wisdom.

Please forgive me for not representing you well.
I've reached out to those I've offended--
I've affirmed them and explained myself--
but I guess I need to boldly ask their forgiveness,
with more groveling and more humility.

Maybe this wh…

What to pray when you feel yourself shutting down

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It's happening--the emotional shut-down is coming!

Have you ever felt this way? I have.

Here are a couple suggestions and a prayer:


Pace yourself to prevent feeling overwhelmed; plan down-time, with non-productive or creative activities.Pray and read your Bible. You need God's presence to re-orient you within a world that never stops pressuring you.Talk to a professional or wise friend or mentor. Venting only feels good temporarily and then reinforces your negative outlook. Hearing the truth and believing it will set you free.Hang out with affirming close friends & family. Your tendency when life is tough will be to isolate yourself; that's when the negativity grows. And now a prayer for renewal:
Dear Lord Jesus,
You understand what it means to be tired, overwhelmed, depressed, and frustrated. That's how I feel.
Please guard my heart and mind, Holy Spirit,  from believing the lies that I'm not enough, that I can't do this, that I should give up, hide, shut down, lash …

Prayer of Focus: Turn Your Eyes On Jesus

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Lord Jesus,

Clear away all the darkness from my mind,
all the petty jealousies and regrets,
the self-doubt and self-loathing
(aka. the pride),
the insecurity and fear,
the ambition and greed,
the self-absorption and self-promotion.

Holy Spirit,
Help me focus on Jesus only.
His love.
His sacrifice.
His calling.
Only He matters.

Amen.

Read these beautiful words from the old hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" by Helen Howarth Lemmel and/or listen to Lauren Daigle sing the song on her album Look Up Child. (2018)

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
and the things of this earth will grow strangely dime
in the light of His glory and grace."


A Prayer following Rachel Held Evans' death

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The death of a good person generally doesn't make sense. It's never the right time. Someone is always too young. No answer to your "why?" is ever sufficient, if it gets answered at all.

Grief is always unbearably hard.

Rachel Held Evan's death doesn't make sense. It wasn't a good time. She was too young. She was accomplishing so much.

When something tragic happens, all I know to do is pray (which is sometimes simply a rhetorical "why????" and that's okay.)

If you're grieving, give prayer a try.



Dear Lord,

Comfort Rachel Held Evans' family, friends, and readers at her sudden death.
Comfort those of us who grieve whenever we feel another's loss fresh with pain.
You can't make us understand,
so just help us to trust you with our loss and our grief.
Use this and every sorrow to bind us closer to you
and find solace and faith in trusting your love for us
and your continued plan to prosper us as your children.
Help us to only depend …

A prayer of spiritual warfare over children's health

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Dear Father-God,

You know what it is to love a son,
give a son,
and lose a son,
so you know what parents go through
when they're worried about losing their kids
spiritually,
emotionally, or
physically.

There are so many ways,
so many paths toward harm,
so many intersections of peril
where the world and the enemy in it
try to snatch up our children,
where the devil speaks lies about our love for them.

I pray your power, love, and dominion
over my children's lives.
You have them,
and you have a plan for them,
even if they don't follow you or your plans.
You will make beauty from the ashes in their lives.

But, oh, I hate the ashes.

Help me trust you with my children.
Help me trust you with my friends' children.
Help me to lament and request in faith,
knowing you love them even more than we do.

On behalf of hurting children,
I pray for patience in affliction,
healing from sickness,
relief from pain,
comfort in sadness,
hope in hopelessness.

In Jesus' name, I pray again…

How to pray a Bible verse when you're grieving

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When grief rolls over you like an ocean, you often don't know what to do except cry and pray.

The problem is usually that you don't know what to pray. You have no words, but your heart longs to cry out.

In times like these, I pray Bible verses. I figure if God inspired them, then they speak the truth He wants to hear. And since the Bible is full of people who prayed prayers of grief, I have plenty to pick from.

Today I found this little gem in Isaiah 25:8-9. Look it up to see the actual words (part of a poem).

Below is Isaiah 25:8-9, made into a prayer of grief:

Oh, Lord,

I believe you came to swallow up death forever.
Could you come and wipe away my tears today?
Remove my disgrace, my shame, my heartache from
being remembered in my life and in this world.

Let people remember me for your influence on my life.
Transform my grief into purpose and blessing.
You have declared this to be your passion.

Someday, people will say,
"Look at what God did through her.
She trusted in …

A Good Friday prayer of praise and thanks

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Dear Jesus Christ,

Thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice--
for accepting the call as Savior of the world.

You took on human likeness, when you were God himself,
and subjected yourself to human pain and suffering.
You loved us so much that you took our sins on yourself
and felt them--held-them--
and died in them, after a day and a night of torture, abuse, and abandonment.

It was all wrong--all unjust--
and yet you agreed to it because you loved us.

You did that for me.

Thank you.
I can only feel overwhelmed by your love
and convicted by your grace.
I am so unworthy you.

And you so patiently wait for me,
call me,
and protect me,
even when I don't answer and don't want you.

Oh, Lord Jesus!
I love you more every day,
but I will never understand the depth of your love for me.

I worship you.
Amen.

Second-most popular prayer

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What kind of prayer do you pray most often?

Requests, probably. Me, too.

Requestsare my website's most-clicked on kind of prayer. It seems we're all looking for the right way to ask God to help us.

Guess what the second-most popular prayer is?

Lamentation.The lament.

I love that. I have an audience of grievers and groaners. Praise God.

Learning to lament has been one of the most impactful aspects of my spiritual growth. Instead of crying in sorrow, lamenting teaches you to cry out to God (that's the literal meaning of lament). Lamentation is faith in action, maybe even more than when I make a request.

When I lament, I dump my heavy burdens, my grief, and my hopelessness at God's feet and say something like,

"I don't know what you're doing in my life right now, but help me trust you. I choose to believe you will work all things together for my good. But oh, God, this hurts so much. Cover me with your Spirit!"

When I make a request, I am hoping and believi…

Prayer for a sick child

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Dear Father-Healer,

Pour out your mercy, grace, comfort, and
miraculous healing over this child
who is sick.
Death and harm are horrible thoughts and horrible possibilities.
Except for you.
Except for your power and your perfect will.

Help me to believe in your goodness and love.

Why must bad things happen to good people?
Why is the world so full of heartache and grief?
Why do you seem to withdraw when grief overwhelms us like an angry ocean?
And most of all--why must terrible things happen to the most innocent of all--
to the unborn, the children, the young, the sweet and kind ones among us?

Illness is heart-wrenching for families of children who suffer--
it's unfair,
tramatizing,
terrifying,
heart-breaking.

You can heal anyone and anything,
so why don't you always do it?
Could you do it here?
Could you please heal this child?
Would you please perform a miracle?

More importantly--
Show us your glory.
Change us and help us feel you close
instead of feeling the pain of your abs…

Meeting God in the quiet place

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Ahh!

Here you are, God.
Waiting for me in this quiet place.

You've been calling to me all week,
whenever I made time to watch the sunset or smelled the freshly-cut grass.
When I took pictures of the cherry blossoms
and admired the beauty of a lake shimmering blue and crystal under a bright sun,
that's where you were.

You were waiting in my moments of wakefulness and sleepiness,
waiting as my first and last thoughts of every day.
There your Spirit whispered prayers for me to the God of heaven.
When I felt fatigue,
you assured me that you would sustain me.
When I felt fear,
you whispered that you would protect me.
When I felt worry,
you promised you would make all things work together for good.

All with your quiet, reassuring presence.

You were waiting here,
on a day I've singled out to meet you.
Out here in the sun and the vastness of a quiet setting
where I've made time to sit with you
and hear what you have to say.

And this is what you said.

Hello, dear one.
I've be…