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You can have all of me

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Lord,


You can have all of me.
My self-image,
my dreams,
my family,
my career,
my pain,
my fear,
my plans, 
my secret places.

I surrender.
All of it.
I give it to you.

It belongs to you, anyway,
because I belong to you.

I don't know why I keep pulling this all back on me.
It weighs me down,
clouds my thinking,
discourages and scares me.
I am weary from the burden of it.

You want to carry it for me.
You want to carry me.

So you can have me back again.
Again and again
and every time I forget and pull this all on myself.
Again and again.

I love you.
I trust you.

I need you.

Amen.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”--Matthew 11:28-30

For more prayers about this, click below:
"When you want to quit praying"
"What to pray when you feel yourself shutting down"
"Show me where I'm holding back your s…

3 Prayers for your child's teacher

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Teaching is a difficult, exciting, and taxing profession. It requires both emotive and logical perspectives, tenacity and patience. Firmness and empathy. Long days and long nights of uncompensated self-sacrifice. Teachers need your prayers and support to do their jobs well. Here are some ideas: 


Dear Lord,
Give my child's teacher encouragement today.
Help her/him connect with all the students,
model unconditional love,
realize the importance of teaching and molding lives.
Remind him/her to take the long look,
past homework and tests,
past student squabbles,
into the future where these children--
including mine--
become responsible, thoughtful, caring adults.
Help him/her be proud of that accomplishment.
Amen.


Dear Lord, 
Give my child's teacher discernment and wisdom in handling crises in the classroom.
Give him/her boldness to champion the outcast
and mercy in punishing the foolish.
Help him/her eliminate injustice and teach kindness.
I pray for a generous spirit, a willingness to reach out, a …

A prayer for teachers

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Dear Lord Jesus,

You are the great Teacher.
You opened minds,
explained truth,
challenged cultural norms,
welcomed questions,
defended the outcasts,
championed justice,
presented absolute truth
with absolute grace and mercy.

You loved the unlovable.
You confronted the arrogant.
You encouraged the weak.
You comforted the grieving.

You were the ultimate Teacher.
This is my wish,
my goal,
my calling--
to recognize those that need a gracious word,
to challenge those whose minds are made up.
To call students to a greater work than they have ever imagined.
(Click here to read "The Abolition of Man: i.e. The end of real education")

Mold me into the kind of teacher you are,
as much as possible.
Give me your wisdom to recognize need,
to see beyond the subject material and personalities.

Help me see people like you see them.
Make me an instrument of your love and grace this year.
(Click here to read "Believe, love, learn: how thinking like a child could change your life.")

In Jesus' name,
Amen.


"…

How to pray for the fruits of the Spirit (and understand what they are)

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Dear Lord,

I need the fruit of your Holy Spirit,
the evidence that you are working in my life
and producing works that are honoring you.

Give me love like yours that doesn't see status, race, gender, intelligence, economics, politics, personality, age, or sinfulness. Help me just love souls like you love souls. This is not a gift so much as it is a decision. Help me decide to love like you. (Click here to read "Why love hurts.")

Fill me with joy at being in relationship with you. This, I think, is also a decision. Help me decide to choose joy and thankfulness for any and every situation, to have the faith that you are present and you will accomplish good in me and through me. Your will and timing are always best. Remind me not to chase after happiness because that is fleeting. Joy lasts. (Click here to read "Handling joy and grief at the holidays.")

Help me seek peace over safety, security, and being proven right. Convict me when my decisions and actions are mo…

Prayer for the first day of school

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Dear Father,

Wrap your arms around my children on their first day of school.
Turn anxiety into excitement.
Turn fear into courage.
Turn embarrassment into eagerness.
Turn shyness into hospitality.
(Read "How to Help Your Children Walk Away" here.)

Continue to transform them into the image of Jesus,
who loves everyone,
accepts everyone,
and stands for truth.
(Read "A Prayer for your College Student" here.)

I pray for the Holy Spirit to speak unimpeded into their hearts and souls,
to convict, question, confirm, and encourage.
Teach them truth, even midst untruth.
Show them inclusion, even midst exclusion.
Help them distinguish acceptance from tolerance
and innocence from ignorance.
(Read "4 Values Moms Need This School Year" here.)

Mold them into your image--
a person of grace, truth, and love.
(Read "Specific Things to Pray over your Children" here.)

Protect their hearts and minds from the enemy of their souls,
which means teaching them to guard them…

Spirit of God, Overwhelm my children

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Spirit of God,

Overwhelm my children with your Presence.
Cover them with your perspective.

(Read "A Daily Prayer for your Children" here.)

Infiltrate every aspect of their lives,
into their media,
their relationships,
their classrooms,
their fun time,
their family time.

When they see injustice,
remind them to turn to you for answers.
When they feel afraid,
pull them into your protective embrace.
When they feel tempted,
whisper truth into their minds and hearts.
When they feel alone,
surround them with your continual Presence.
When they feel overwhelmed,
bolster their courage in the God who has conquered everything.
When they feel lost,
guide them back to your will, your calling, and your people.
When they sin,
convict and restore them to relationship with the Father.

(Read "A Prayer for my child's safety" here.)

Lord, be an ever-present Friend and Comforter,
the first place they turn in the morning, 
and the last place they turn at night.
No matter what happens during their days,
I pray fo…

Prayer to guard my emotions because my kids are leaving

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Dear Lord,


You know I've got a big couple of weeks coming up. 
My children are leaving the nest in a variety of ways. 
Whether first time, second time, or last time--it doesn't really matter.
There is a stabbing pain when my kids move away.
Release,
pride,
gratefulness,
worry,
and then loss, 
which tries very hard to morph into panic and desperation.
(Smothering and helicopter-ing seem like options, even
though I condemn it but secretly want to do it.)

My emotions are going crazy,
so I know that my feelings and thoughts cannot be fully trusted.
I must lean into you only.
Worry makes me assume the worst.
Loss makes me feel rejected.
Panic pushes my loved ones away.
(Read a blog about losing your kids to college here.)

Control my thoughts, Lord.
Speak truth to me, and help me hear you.
Help me to focus on your love and grace to me,
not my feelings of loss or worry.
You've got this. You've got me.
You always protect, always draw near, always speak to those who seek you. 
And to those who don't…

Praying to trust God

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Lord God,

Why do I panic about the future?
Why am I afraid
even though you are present in my life,
guiding and directing me,
loving me?

I will purpose to trust in you.
Please help me in my weakness.
You know how weak I am,
how fear is so powerful,
how self-doubt seems to prevail.
All the time.

You are enough.
You are more than enough.
You are everything.

I love you, and I trust you.
I trust you.
I trust you.
I trust you.
I trust you.

In Jesus' name,
Amen.


"He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me."--Psalm 18:19

(Read a blog about change that scares you here.)

7 Reasons God may not be answering your prayers

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Below is a guest post by James Watkins, one of the first editors to publish articles by me. He happens to be a great prayer warrior, as well as successful editor and author. And he's funny. I know you'll be challenged and inspired by this article by him (the links in parentheses are mine): On the kitchen wall in my boyhood home hung a plaque that promised “God Answers Prayer.” Because of those words, reinforced in Sunday school and Bible storybooks, I got the idea that prayer was a 100-percent-guarantee, lifetime-warranty, you-must-be-completely-satisfied-or-your-money-back, over-night-delivery promise.

And so, as a first-grader, I prayed for a pony for my birthday . . . and didn’t get it. I prayed for a pony for Christmas . . . and didn’t get it.

During adolescence, I prayed that my face would clear up, and those prayers weren’t answered either.

As I grew up, so did my prayers. They were far less selfish and included more altruistic requests such an end to the Vietnam War; fo…

A prayer for my kids to serve God

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Lord in Heaven,


I ask for your Holy Spirit to quicken my kids' hearts toward your mission.
I pray for them to love you from genuine thanksgiving and praise,
not from obligation, selfishness, or pride.
May they truly believe how much they need you in every facet of their lives.
Convict them when they relegate you to Sunday mornings or small group.

Fan the flame of service in my children.
Stir in them a desire to serve others,
to disciple others,
to help others.
Give them compassionate hearts and eyes to see the world.

Let every conversation, 
every relationship,
every media post,
every book,
every mission statement
be filtered through your calling on their lives
to love you
and to love others.

This is all I want--
I want kids who are completely committed to you.

In Jesus' powerful name,
Amen.


"We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: …

Prayer of belonging from 1 John 3

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Dear Lord,

How great is the love you have lavished on me
that I should be called your daughter! (blog here)

The world does not see me like your daughter.

The world says I'm a middle-aged wife and mom with a quasi-successful career as a teacher, with unlikely success as a writer. I live in the suburbs, I never have enough money, I work too much, I socialize too little, I say the wrong things to my children, I ignore too many needs around me.

But that is not who you say I am.
I have inherited your kingdom.
I'm a princess who never had to kiss a frog or wake from a coma or wear a glass slipper.
I'm deserving of your grace and love because you choose to make me deserving.

My unreservedness serves only to make me grateful and humble, if I choose.
Or I can choose shame, materialism, perfectionism, workaholism, self-fulfillment, popularity, anxiety, fatigue, and pursuit of health and beauty.
How foolish I am to think those things will make me fill the hole that you placed in my S…

A prayer from weakness

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Dear Lord in heaven,

I feel weak today.
So, so weak.
Emotionally,
physically,
mentally,
spiritually.

I feel insufficient.
Not enough.
Less-than.

I think you call this a strength
because I'll to turn to you in my desperation just to survive.
In my frustration, I might actually listen on you.
Wait on you.
Pray to you.
Obey you.
Trust you.

This process makes me stronger
because it gives your strength a chance to work in me
and change me.
You make me enough, just as I am,
when I have you.
I can do hard things when you're the strength behind my obedience.

Thank you.
You are so gracious and merciful.
You love me, bless me, and guide me.
I am in awe of how you work
and why you decide to work in me and through me.

I praise your name, O Most High.
In Jesus' powerful name,
Amen.


"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on…

Praying for children with disabilities

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Dear Lord,

When you create a person,
you plan that child before conception.
Your plan is perfect.

When children are born with disabilities
or develop disabilities in childhood,
people often assume something is wrong with them.
But that's not how you see them.
You have planned every person with purpose and calling.
It's up to us to trust you how that looks
and how that person should be allowed to function and thrive in a world that stereotypes everyone.

I ask that you give patience, compassion, and energy to parents and teachers
whose children have disabilities,
children who learn differently, move with difficulty, or sit without responding.
Give families and caretakers joy in the present moment,
hope for the future,
and no regret for the past or for what might have been.

I ask that these children be filled with joy and happiness;
help them to manage their frustration, anger, and confusion.
Fill their loneliness with meaningful relationships.
Help them develop their passions in…

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