Praise


Before you can ask God for anything, you need to sit in God's presence and understand his character. If you recount God's forgiveness, love, grace, trustworthiness, protection, etc., you can face anything. The trick with praise is to affirm who God is--not what he's done--because that takes the focus off what you think he should do for you and leaves you alone with your faith in him. Faith, after all, is trusting when you don't know what will happen next. That's where God wants us to live.

Psalm 34:1 "I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips."

Prayer to guard my emotions because my kids are leaving


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, you call to them, you woo them, you welcome them.

My children are safe in your care, regardless of their decisions.
I am safe in your care, regardless of my emotions.
You have placed destiny and calling over us,
and you will bring it to pass.

I only need to trust you and follow you.
I love you.
I entrust my children to you once again.
Every day.
Every moment.
Because you are God, and you will always do what's right.
I will be okay.
(Read another blog about surviving this here.)

In Jesus' name, 
Amen.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. (Psalm 34:17)

If you obey all the decrees and commands I am giving you today, all will be well with you and your children. I am giving you these instructions so you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you for all time.” (Deuteronomy 4:40)

Read "A prayer for your college student" here and "A prayer for the lonely parent during the school year" here.

Hang in there! God understands the pain of losing a child.


A prayer from weakness

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 me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

 

A Good Friday prayer of praise and thanks


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.

Meeting God in the quiet place

Ahh!

And I know you love me as perfectly as you can.
It only happens in the quiet moments,
Ahh! I'm so pleased you came.


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 been waiting for you.
I've been calling your spirit to join mine.
I'm so elated that you came.
I just want to be with you.
I want you to know me like I know you,
completely, fully, and without confusion or judgment,
without fear.
I love you perfectly.

It's why you came to meet me today,
so I can perfect that love a little more.

in the silence of vulnerability
and the freedom of worship,
that you feel me,
understand me,
and find me.

Let's revel in our time together.

Amen.

"My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with  its mother; like a weaned child I am content." Psalm 131:1-2


Praise about new things


Dear Lord,

Thank you for the beauty of the four seasons
and for the privilege of living in a place that experiences all of them.
Today is the first day of spring.

Of course, it's raining.
But that's okay.
Rain is the evidence that you are working in the world,
that you are changing, growing, and creating
new things,
even the predictable flowers like daffodils and crocuses
and the less-predictable flowers like tulips
(why don't mine come up more than once?).

You bring deer into my yard to rest.
You paint breath-taking sunsets across the horizon in the evening.
The cherry and pear trees are bursting with white and pink, cheerful and radiant.
The world smells of earth and grass and mulch.
Clean, fresh, and vibrant.

Why do you take the trouble with colorful details?

Because you long to reveal yourself to us.
Your blessings are new every morning.
You love to remind us that you are constant and yet inventive.
Your creation is not thwarted by our neglect or destruction of the beautiful world you've made for us.
Your love for us remains true, faithful, everlasting.

Spring signals that you haven't forgotten us,
that your have new and beautiful plans for us,
that if we have faith, we will watch magnificence unfold around us.

What new things are you planning for me?
What will you create next?
What will you resurrect from the winter of my life?

I praise you and thank you.
What an amazing God you are!

Amen.


"And he who sits on the throne says, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' And he said, 'Write, for these words are faithful and true.' "--Revelation 21:3


Prayer about grace, for grace


Oh, Lord God,

You are full of grace for me.
Help me to full of grace for other people--
not so quick to judge and condemn.
Not find it so easy to think ill of someone's motives
and criticize why they do the things they do
or compare myself and be jealous of them.
You give me grace, and yet I am ungracious.

I want to think of myself with "sober judgment,"
in humility, honesty, and transparency.
I am flawed.
I am sinful and selfish,
and yet you call me beautiful, holy, and desired.

That's because of your grace.
I don't deserve your love and mercy.

Give me the eyes to see everyone the way you see them.
I want to see potential,
value,
worth.
I want to see someone full of promise,
who maybe just needs a chance.
Someone full of gifting,
who needs an encourager, not a competitor.

Maybe they need someone to listen,
someone to love,
someone to affirm their value.
Someone who will point out what they're doing well
instead of what they're doing poorly.

My gifts are according to your grace,
and so are everyone else's.
May I be faithful to the gifting!
May I honor you instead of honoring myself
or expecting other people to honor me.

How backwards I get this.
All because I'm proud, entitled, anxious, and insecure.
All because I keep believing the lie that what I do or what people think of me
someone dictates who I am.

I am yours.
I am a reflection of you.
I am your messenger and your mouthpiece.
I am your living legacy.

You overwhelm me.

In the gracious name of Jesus,
Amen.


A prayer of hope for the holidays

Christmas is hard for people who grieve.
They remember other Christmases filled with memories and laughter, and grief becomes overwhelming.
Or perhaps Christmas is their loneliest time, without any cherished memories, which makes it that much harder to be festive.

Is Christmas hard for you?
Does it make you feel hopeless?

Just since December began, I've attended one funeral, watched one on television, and revised my family, whom I haven't seen since my mom died. Collectively, grief is strong and real.

But I do not grieve as one without hope (1 Cor. 15:18-20). Perhaps that is why we sing the "Messiah" at Christmas. Hope began with the birth of a baby, but hope continues through Jesus' resurrection and  his predicted triumphant return. Hope culminates with the "Hallelujah Chorus." (Turn up the volume--it's the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!)

This Christmas, pray this prayer of hope.
Hope dispels grief.
Hope gives suffering a context and a reason for being.
Hope is the essence of Christmas.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for sending Jesus to be the Savior of the world.
Thank you for saving me!
I am awed by your sacrifice, by your love, and by your plans for mankind.
You are my hope, my comfort, and my joy.
You are my everything.
I trust you--
and by doing that, I worship you,
my Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
Amen.

A prayer of imprisonment and freedom

Oh, Jesus,

Your humility surprises me.

You understand loneliness and rejection.
You were a refugee.
You were misunderstood, misrepresented, hated, and tortured.
You were wrongly accused in a court of law.
You were a prisoner.
You were executed without having a fair trial.
You died.

Oh, the depths that you undertook
to feel the depths of human pain
and human separation from your love and forgiveness.

What kind of love makes God willingly become
its creation--
especially a creation who will condemned and shamed,
who will lose his human rights and experience human death?

You were willing to die
for everyone who has ever done an evil thing.
You cover sins so numerous and so hideous,
so inexcusable
yet somehow, forgivable.

A willing prisoner,
a willing death,
to free me from the prison of my soul.

Amen.


"God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land." (Psalm 68:6)




You make me shake my head


Oh, Lord,

You astound me and make me feel grateful.

When I look around my world--my house and work and family--or when I behold your natural creation of mountains and oceans and fields, I just shake my head with wonder.

Wow.

Thank you.

Thank you for my family, my home, my church, all which sometimes frustrate me.
Thank you for my freedom, which I take for granted.
Thank you for life and health, which I really take for granted.
Thank you for my mind, which isn't as quick as it used to be, but it's a blessing nevertheless.
Thank you for the beauty of the world, for all its variety:
for the marvelous expanse of nature
and also for the cities and countries filled with people, who I misunderstand or don't think about at all.
Thank you for your living Word, which I don't read as much as I should, although it inspires and changes me.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you through the church, which I often make about fulfilling me instead of about honoring you.

Thank you for your love, grace, patience, and encouragement while I wrestle with my humanity, my self-centeredness, and my fear.

You make me shake my head.
Why do you love me?
Why do you even bother?
I must be so aggravating to watch.
I keep struggling with the same lessons, the same problems, the same habits.
And yet you wait, you love, you remind, you cheer.

Thank you.

Amen.

"Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep . . . How priceless is your unfailing love!" (Psalm 36:5-7)

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.

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


I hope you're glorified by my life

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.

Praise for the Creator

Dear Lord,

You inspire me with your creation.
I am in awe of your majesty.
How did You craft such brilliant colors and mix them together, painting them on trees and bushes, just to astound me?
Every autumn, the voice of your artistry
calls for attention.
It give me just a glimpse of who You are
and what You can do.
Anything.
You created the world;
You set it in motion;
You turned it on its axis
and send it in its orbit
to give the world seasons and climates,
days and years
which with to praise adore You.
I cannot fathom Your goodness or Your power.
I can only worship You for it.

Amen.

"He changes times and seasons . . . . He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning."
(Daniel 2:21)

Praise and Comfort

A Paraphrase of Psalm 66


Almighty God,

The whole world will shout with joy to You and testify of You,
telling everyone about the amazing things You've done for mankind.
We worship You! How awesome are Your dealings with us!
Your enemies cower under Your majesty.
They cannot hide from Your power.

Everyone,
Take notice of God's care:
He miraculously interferes in the natural causes of the earth and rescues us, miraculously.
He controls and oversees mankind, even while evil men rule the earth.
They will not win over Him.
Everyone, praise the Lord! Tell others of His powerful deeds!

He keeps us from demolishing our own lives, if we let Him.
He challenges our faith by leading us through difficult circumstances.
He allows us to be tested, persecuted, and oppressed.
Yet He endures affliction with us and brings us out into a sunny place.

Then we worship Him,
because we see Him for who He is:
great, powerful, loving, and just,
a God who can be trusted.

Everyone, come and listen to my testimony:
I have endured a desolate place of sadness,
yet I see God everywhere.
When I feel hopeless, I hope in Him.
When I feel lonely, I lean on Him.
When I am anxious, I rest in Him.

God alone, who created the heavens and the earth
somehow has time for me.
I will pray, even if I haven't prayed for awhile.
I will sing, even though I don't feel like it.
I will worship because I cannot enter His presence and not.

Praise the Lord, who hears my prayers,
who does not hold my humanity against me.
If I cover up my sin, He won't listen,
but if I uncover the secret places of my heart,
He will come and and rest and fellowship with me.

I am overwhelmed by Your love, O Lord!

Amen.

image by Lilla Frerichs


What will you do for me today?

Dear Lord,


I will praise You.
Your blessings are new every morning.
Great is your faithfulness.
I wonder what You will do for me today?
Whatever You decide, it will be incredible,
gracious, and for my benefit.
Maybe I should be asking,
what will I do for You?

Amen.

"Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lam. 3:22, 23)


Prayer for Perspective

Dear Lord God,

whose will is too complex for me to comprehend--
I praise you.

"You have preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.
For you tested us; you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs.
You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance."

Give me the faith and courage to trust you and your will like that!--
That regardless of my circumstances and my fears,
I will believe that you are doing a mighty work unknown to me,
in and around me.
And even through me,
even when it feels like you are hurting me or persecuting me or ignoring me.
I may never understand what you are doing,
but that's okay because you don't answer to me,
and I am not entitled to know the ends of your plans for this world in which I live.

"I will come to your temple with burnt offerings and fulfill my vows to you.
Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.
Praise be to God who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me."

Your love is enough.
Your will is enough.
I will praise you.

Amen.

(Psalm 66)


image by Gerhard Lipold

Lord, You did it again! (a praise for grace)


Dear Lord,

You did it again! 
You answered prayers we didn't deserve to have answered.
You gave grace in the midst of our frailties.
You sprinkled favor on us like a gentle rain; 
Your radiance shined on us,
like the sun breaking through after a storm.
Thank you!
Thank you for being Yourself, Your loving and generous self,
who gives to the just and the unjust,
the holy and unholy,
just because You're holy.
You gave us another gift today, 
just because You're You.
We are eternally grateful.
Help us to live worthy of Your grace here on earth (at least as much as possible).
It's what You want from us--
relationship,
obedience,
glory to God.
May You lengthen our memory of this day until the next time
we wonder if You love us enough to hear our prayers.

In Jesus' precious name, Amen.


image by MALIZ ONG


Why am I afraid?

Dear Lord,

Why am I afraid of the things I can't control, when You are all-powerful?
Why am I afraid of failure, when You've promised give me a future?
Why am I afraid to defend the truth--when You have called Yourself the Truth?
Why am I afraid I won't be happy submitting to Your will, when lasting joy can only be found in You?
Why am I afraid to share the gospel, when Your good news has the power to set everyone free?
Why am I afraid to worship You, when I know that pursuit of success will never satisfy me?
Why am I afraid to forgive others, when You let me live in grace?

Why do You even put up with me?

It makes no sense. But You are patience and mercy and love. Thank you!
Thank You for power, purpose, joy, salvation, intimacy, forgiveness, and grace. You amaze me!

I love You!! In Jesus' name, Amen.

Psalm 56:11--"In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?"

image by Piotr Wojtkowski




Paraphrasing Psalm 8 into a Prayer


Oh, Lord, my maker, you are incredible!
May your name be recognized and revered throughout the earth!
When I think about the sky and the earth,
the whole of your detailed creation,
with planets in their synchronized orbits
and animal kingdom living in perfect harmony--
who am I
that you even care what I think or what I fear?
You have taken the time to create me with exquisite detail,
fashioning my form and face,
my personality and my gifts,
all so that I can bring glory to you by knowing you
and reflecting your image?
Who am I, that you grant me free will
to worship you or to worship myself, made in your image?
Who am I to be loved by you?
In all the earth, you are the most incredible!

Amen.



Doxology

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
Praise God, all creatures here below,
Praise Him, above all heavenly hosts,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Amen.

image from www.sheetmusicdirect.com

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