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Showing posts from August, 2019

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…

Thank you for love of family and friends

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Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank you for your love 
and for demonstrating it through the love of a human family.
What a beautiful concept!

Thank you for creating each person in this world so carefully.
Each is unique in personality and purpose.
Thank you for the overwhelming blessing of children, parents, siblings, extended family.

Thank you for everything--
for the struggles and the pain that living in community brings.
Thank you for the joys and the surprises,
the disappointments and the hope.
Thank you for all of it because you use all of it to make us better and to prepare us for your purpose.

Thank you for the love of my spiritual family,
for friends at church,
for mentors, teachers, and leaders,
for all the people I'll never meet 
who preached a sermon or wrote a book,
or started a non-profit,
or wrote curriculum
that formed me and challenged me and changed me.
Bless them for their service to me because they loved and obeyed you.

I just need your Spirit to help me remember that
everything is good in your h…

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…