Request

When most people think about praying, they think about making requests. They need wisdom, relief, help, or a downright miracle. And God wants to answer all our requests because He loves us with an inexplainable love. But like any good parent, He can see our heart's motivation and He knows what we really need, so His answer might not be the one we're looking for.

Jn. 14:4 "You may ask anything in my name, and I will do it."


A Prayer against disease


Jehovah-Rapha, 
the God who Heals,


I ask for your blessing and healing over my friend who's sick.
Disease is such a hard thing to understand.
(Click here for "Prayer for a sick child.")

I know you're a Healer and the Great Physician,
so you don't delight in our pain and illness.
I know you use it to draw people to yourself.

Use my friend's illness.
Use my friend's family.
Use the trauma and grief associated with sickness, diagnoses, and fear for the future.
Use it all.

Make us witnesses of faith that you heal,
that you love,
and that you protect.
You have plans for all of us.
Your way is perfect.

Help me to trust you for myself and for my friends,
in sickness and in health.

But Lord, please, take away this disease and bring glory to yourself through a life that's healed.
Please heal because you are the Healer.
Please comfort because you are the Comforter.
Please sustain because you are our only hope.
(Click here for "A Prayer of spiritual warfare over children's health.")

In Jesus' name, 
Amen.


"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick."-- Matthew 14:14



Make me a blessing

Lord Jesus,
Make me a blessing today.
I have to have a difficult conversation with someone.
Pour me out.
Help me reflect your love, grace, and holiness.
You are my beginning and my end.
Be my middle today.
Be my everything
so I can transfer your everything to someone else who needs it.
Which is all of us.
I love you.
I need you.
I want to be like you.
Amen.


'New Wine' from our new album "There Is More"
HILLSONG UNITED
36,688,620 views
Apr 6, 2018

VERSE 1: In the crushing In the pressing You are making new wine In the soil I now surrender You are breaking new ground PRE-CHORUS: So I yield to You and to Your careful hand When I trust You I don’t need to understand CHORUS: Make me Your vessel Make me an offering Make me whatever You want me to be I came here with nothing But all You have given me Jesus bring new wine out of me VERSE 2: In the crushing In the pressing You are making new wine In the soil I now surrender You are breaking new ground VERSE TAG: You are breaking new ground BRIDGE: Where there is new wine There is new power There is new freedom The Kingdom is here I lay down my old flames To carry Your new fire today Words and Music by Brooke Ligertwood © 2017 Hillsong Music Publishing CCLI: 7102397


A prayer for teachers

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.


"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."(Romans 12: 6-8)

"Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." (James 3:1)


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


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 motivated by pride and selfishness. Peace comes at a great price, and it arrives through mercy of the undeserving. If I want peace, help me groom mercy. (Click here for "4 lies about fulfillment.")

Lord, give me patience. This one scares me because I know patience only comes through hardship and suffering. But without patience, faith is impossible. I will always be leaping ahead of your will and missing it completely. So help me become courageous enough to learn patience.

I need to develop more kindness. I need to stop and notice people who are hurting, people who need prayer, people who would benefit from a gentle word instead of a brusque statement. Make me kind and tender, attentive and compassionate. Teach me to think of others-first in every situation. Remind me that kindness could change everything for someone else. And may I be content with nobody knowing what kindnesses I perform.

I want goodness. Not the kind I can brag about. The real goodness that's integrity and righteousness--making right decisions when nobody's watching, when everybody's doing something else, when being righteous hurts. When it costs me something important. May I listen to the Holy Spirit and respond in meekness and obedience to his prompting. The right decision is rarely the easy decision. Give me courage to lean into hard, right decisions, even when it means fighting hard for it. (Click here to read "At war.")

Develop faithfulness in me. That means I forgive and restore. I welcome second chances in myself and others. I endure and persevere when the work is hard, when people fail me, when nobody notices what I'm doing or what I've accomplished. I am faithful in my work because I love you and I only care what you think. I do not live and work for the applause or recognition from people. I choose to believe in God and God's Word, regardless of popular opinion. Faithfulness is counter-cultural. (Click here to read "How to transfer faith to your kids.")

Develop gentleness in me. Wow, this is hard one because it seems personality-driven. It's meekness. It's strength under control. It's power delivered softly, with respect. Being gentle means I understand that God has a plan and I'm not going to rush it or hurt people to get what I think I deserve. I will handle people with care.

Help me develop more self-control. I need to think before I speak, text, tweet, blog, or email. When I feel angry, violated, embarrassed, stupid, or ashamed, I need to stop myself from reacting and consider the other fruits of the Spirit. How can I respond with kindness and gentleness? What does righteousness tell me to do? How does love react? When I control my emotions and thoughts, I can control my behavior. All of this starts with letting the Spirit transform my thoughts. (Click here to read "How to control your anger.")

Who do I think God is?
What do I think I deserve from God?
What does God require of me?
(Click here to read "Who are you and why are you here?")

These are the transformations I want. Holy Spirit, you have free reign to change me.
I trust you.

In Jesus' name,
Amen.

Click here to buy Soulspeak, a book that teaches you how to be transformed.






7 Reasons God may not be answering your prayers

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; for peace between the races as riots broke out across the nation; and— again—pleas for my face to clear up. No answers.

Now that I’m in the third quarter of life’s game, I still have more losses than wins in my prayer bracket. Numerous friends have died of cancer—despite fervent prayers, fasting, and biblical practice of anointing with oil. Christian business leaders, who honored God in their tithing as well as treatment of employees and customers, went bankrupt. Despite prayers for safety, missionary friends have been kidnapped, raped, and killed. Friends who have faithfully spent their entire lives pastoring, are now in government-subsidized housing and trying to survive on food stamps.

So, why doesn’t God answer prayer? Or more accurately, why doesn’t God answer prayer the way we want him to answer? Here are some clues from Scripture:
1. It may not be his perfect plan
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus prays, “May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10 NASB). The purpose of prayer is to align our desires with our Father’s desires. He is not our personal online store’s “wish list.” It is not a time to educate God about our lives and the state of the world, but to pray for his will to be done on earth. Yes, prayer is a time to “ask” for needs, but most of all, a time to ask, “How can I do your will within the sphere of my influence today?” (Read a blog about finding your calling or purpose here.)
2. It may not be good for us
Sometimes we ask for things that are simply not good for us. My friend, Robert Hollinger, puts a spin on Jesus’ promise in Luke 11:11-12: “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?” (NASB).
Robert quips, “But sometimes we ask for snakes and scorpions.”
And God graciously answers no. Our Heavenly Father knows best and particularly what will not be good the long run. A no answer is often a positive answer.
3. It may not be the right time
Horatio Bonar encourages us: “No prayer is lost. Praying breath is never spent in vain. There is no such thing as prayer unanswered or unnoticed by God, and some things that we count refusals or denials are simply delays.”
Delays in an answer are often helpful. Perhaps it’s to increase our faith. Here’s my theory: faith develops during the time—often a long time—between the human deadline and heavenly deliverance. Or maybe to write a more exciting story. As I read biblical stories, I’m convinced that God loves drama. The story of the three Hebrew men in the fiery furnace probably wouldn’t have made it into the Bible if Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had simply overpowered the guards and high-jacked a chariot. (Read a blog about learning to wait here.)
But most of all, delays often increase God’s glory. The story of Lazarus’ resurrection is a classic story of waiting. After Jesus is notified that his friend is dying, he waits until he’s been dead four days to arrive on the scene. Now, what would have given Jesus more glory? Healing Lazarus from a serious illness or raising him from the dead? The delay brought Jesus glory and “many of the Jews believed in him.”
4. It may be the result of unforgiveness, anger or resentment
Again, in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus prays, “Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12 NASB).
The Bible is very clear that unforgiveness and prayer do not mix: “Whenever you stand praying, forgive if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions” (Mark 11:25 NASB).
The apostle Paul writes, “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension” (1 Timothy 2:8 NASB).
(Read a blog about forgiveness and other things here. Or prayers of confession here.)
5. It may be we have wrong motives
Jesus’ brother, James, writes in his letter about unanswered prayer: “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure” (4:3 NASB).
If our motives do not flow out of love for God and our neighbor, they are not a part of God’s plan.
(Read a blog about motives and love here.)
6. It may be we are plagued with doubts
Faith certainly plays a role in answers to prayer.
“But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6 NASB).
The woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ robe was hoping to be cured after years of hemorrhaging. “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction’” (Mark 5:34 NASB).
However, there is grace for those of us who don’t seem to possess a Spirit-given gift of faith (1 Corinthians 12:9 NASB). I’m so like the father who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus and confessed, “I believe. Help my unbelief.”
(Read these prayers against doubt here.)
7. It may be we are disobeying the One we pray to
The history of Israel makes it clear that “God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law” (Proverbs 28:9 NLT).
The only prayer of a disobedient person that God promises to hear is the prayer of repentance.
“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:21-22 NASB).
And sometimes, there doesn’t seem to be any reason. But we are assured by God, “‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the LORD. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine’” (Isaiah 55:8 NLT).
Because God is our loving Heavenly Father, we can be assured that he himself is working out all for our ultimate good—if we love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). And what is that purpose. Verse 29 tell us clearly: “to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Perhaps, that’s why our prayers are not being answered in the way we want them answered.
(Read or pray some prayers about obedience here.)

Copyright © 2017, 2019 James N. Watkins
Adapted from God I Don’t Understand: Unanswered Prayer, Unfulfilled Promises, Unpunished Evil. (It’s a revision of The Psalms of Asaph.) Learn more about the book and Jim at jameswatkins.com. He is an award-winning author of over 20 books and 2,000 articles as well as speaker. He loves God, his family, writing, mentoring writers and Chinese food—in that order.


Prayer for my kids to serve God


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: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God." (Colossians 1:9-10)

Other prayers you can pray for your kids:

"A parent's prayer (for God to work in my children)"
"How to pray God's word over your kids"
"A parent's prayer from Romans 12"
"How to change a Bible story into a prayer for your family"
"A daily prayer for your children"
"A prayer for my children's hearts"
"A parent's prayer"





Prayer for belonging from 1 John 3



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 Spirit so I would find you!

Let me not be led astray by the world's priorities.
If I do right, I am righteous.
Like you.
This is how I know I'm your daughter.
This is why my heart can rest in your presence,
even when I feel less-than.
You are greater than my failings,
and I can ask your forgiveness and grace whenever I want it.

You are the great Father
and the holy Son.
And you choose to love me.

Amen.

This prayer was taken from 1 John 3.

Listen to the worship son "Sons and Daughters" by North Point InsideOut: Hear Album, Apr. 6, 2015.

Pre-order the new book SOULSPEAK: PRAYING CHANGE INTO UNEXPECTED PLACES here.

Praying over a hard decision

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 to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." (Romans 12:1-2, MSG)


Serving our community with prayer and hard work


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 giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-8)



A scary prayer for grace



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 need grace for other people.

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 pretend they don't exist.
Maybe that's why I criticize?

Humble me.
Oh, that's a scary prayer
because I know you'll do it.
But I want your grace in me and through me,
so I want the process of humbling to take place.

Eeek! I'm afraid now.
Lord, give me courage to be changed by you.
Make me gracious.
I know this is going to sting.

I love you, and I trust you.
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." 2 Cor. 12:9




A quick prayer for busy people


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



What to pray when you feel yourself shutting down


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 out,
wallow.

That's not who you designed me to be.
You crafted me in your image.
I bear your likeness
and am filled with the power of your Spirit 
and your calling.
I am created for greatness that reflects who you are--
not who I am.

I am a living likeness of you.

That makes me brave in the face of adversity
and strong under pressure.
It makes me try again when I fail
and give you the glory when I succeed.

I will live in your strength today.
And if I do that, I will succeed in the areas you've planned 
for me to triumph.
It's all about you.

Thanks for reminding me of that.
It's a good thing I decided to pray today.

I love you.
Amen.

PSALM 5:1-3--"... consider my sighing. Listen for my cry for help.... In the morning, oh Lord, you hear my voice..."


"The Prayer" sung by Celine Dion and Josh Groban


Get out your tissues. I'm sharing one of the all-time greatest duets, which happens also to be a prayer.

It's a prayer about losing your way,
finding grace in God's love,
and leaning on Him when you don't know what to do.

So it applies to pretty much to any situation. Here you go--

"The Prayer" sung by Celine Dion and Josh Groban


I pray You'll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don't know

Let this be our prayer
When we lose our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with Your Grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

La luce che to dai
I pray we'll find your light
Nel cuore restero
And hold it in our hearts
A ricordarchi che
When stars go out each night
L'eterna stella sei
Oh, ho

Nella mia preghiera
Let this be our prayer
Quanta fede c'e
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place
Guide us with Your Grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

Sognamo un mondo senza piu violenza
Un mondo di giustizia e di speranza
Ognuno dia la mano al suo vicino
Simbolo di pace e di fraternita

La forza che ci dai
We ask that life be kind
E'il desiderio che
And watch us from above
Ognuno trovi amore
We hope each soul will find
Intorno e dentro a se
Another soul to love

Let this be our prayer
Let this be our prayer
Just like every child
Just like every child

Needs to find a place
Guide us with Your Grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

E la fede che
Hai acceso in noi
Sento che ci salvera


"The Prayer" is written by David FosterCarole Bayer SagerAlberto Testa and Tony Renis.

A Prayer for my work


I read one of my favorite passages in Nehemiah today.

Nehemiah is rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem to provide safety for its inhabitants and respect for God. It's so dangerous that the people alternate building and standing watch. They lay bricks and carry swords. They're not messing around.

Nehemiah prays while he works, and he doesn't allow anyone from the outside to distract him. His prayer life gives him the discernment to realize that Sanballat and Tobiah are pretending to be interested in his great task, when in fact, they are trying to stop the work, at any cost, because a strong Jerusalem threatens their control of the area. They feign friendship; they use intimidation, compliments, lies, and threats in an effort to cause Nehemiah to stop his work.

But Nehemiah's all prayed up. He sees right through them.

Nehemiah's example reminds us to work and pray over the task that God has assigned us. This task will be too hard for us. It will require us to gather a team around us. It will require tough decisions and strong leadership.

When God gives you something to do, 
it will be bigger than you, 
not about you,
more important than you think, 
and it will bring God the glory (not you). 

Anything else is a counterfeit to the work God has for you.

Oh, Lord, 
strengthen us for the task you've given us. 
Help us not be distracted by anyone or anything.
To you be all the honor and glory!
Amen.

"So I replied by sending back this message to them: 'I am doing a great work! Why should I stop to come and visit with you? ... You're just trying to scare us into stopping our work. (Oh, Lord God, please strengthen me!)'" --Nehemiah 6:3 & 9



Praying to follow when I can't see the way


Lord God, the Way-maker,

Open new pathways for me.
I feel like I'm at a dead end,
like there's no way out of this problem.

I'm trying not to look around me,
not to see the forces of
criticism,
procrastination,
confusion,
fear,
misapprehension,
self-doubt,
and down-right evil
that assault me from all sides.

I'm trying to look ahead,
to follow your voice
and see your face.
To put one foot in front of the other
in terrified obedience.

Are you out there?
Where are we going?
I can't see you.
I can't even see the path.

Remind me of you promises:
You go before me.
You go behind me.
You go with me.
You live inside me.

You feel my pain.
You created me to handle this.
You made me for this purpose.
You use everything for your glory.
You are growing me.

Where you lead me, I will follow.
You make a way, where there is no way.
I believe
you can do it again.

And so I follow you.
That's what you've told me to do.

Amen.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

When hard-pressed, I cried unto the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 118:5-6

Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.  Psalm 27:11













A Parent's Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

You must know how I feel as a parent.
You must understand my anxiety and my fear
about the choices, beliefs, and actions that my children take.
You understand my frustration at not being good enough as a parent
and my fear that my mistakes will harm, even ruin, my kids.

Take this fear away in the mighty name of Jesus.
Block this anxiety in Jesus' name.
I pray for power and a sound mind for myself and my kids.
I ask you, God, to pour out your Spirit on them,
to surround them during their daily activities,
to re-interpret the messaging they receive through your perspective.

Speak truth to them.
Encourage, challenge, and convict them.
Place mentors and friends around them who will support faith in you.
Remove harmful influences.
Give them compassion for others, and make them the influencers of others.

Change them.
Develop them into your likeness, not mine.

And oh, God, give me patience to let you work in your time and in your way.
Help me to give them grace when they blow it,
help when they need it,
and forgiveness whether they ask for it or not.
Help me to live out your will in front of them,
to be faithful and authentic,
to be filled with the Spirit.

Change me.
Make me like you.

You are enough.
You love them, and you have designed a plan for them.
I have no reason to fear anything.

In Jesus' holy name,
Amen.


Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.--Ephesians 5:1-2




A New Year's Prayer for the discouraged


Dear Lord,

Remember me.
Touch me.

I'm discouraged.
I don't know what to do or where to turn.
I feel like nothing I do turns out right.
I want to give up and crawl in a hole,
but that doesn't feel good, either.

Give me the faith to trust your plan for my life.
Give me the courage to keep moving forward.
Give me vision when I'm overwhelmed.
Give me grace when I'm angry and hurt.
Give me perseverance when I want to quit.

Make me like Jesus.

That's probably what you're doing, because this process is painful.

So maybe you're up to something in my life after all.

I love you, and I'm trying to trust you.

Amen.

A prayer for big and little needs

This morning I read a friend Lori Hatcher's blog called "Is it wrong pray for little needs?"
I was just praying intermittently for my children to love God,
for the poor in Africa,
for our Compassion Sunday this week,
and for my social media/publicity needs,

and I was feeling guilty about how and why I pray.

I know that God doesn't judge me for making prayer requests.
He wants to hear them, and He wants to answer them.

The crux of the issue is my heart.
Do I want what He wants?
Do I desire His kingdom?
Or am I focused on building mine,
making my little family kingdom more comfortable
and less stressful?
Do I pray because I want to spare myself pain and hardship
or because I want God to use my hardships to advance His kingdom?

God,
I lay my anxieties and concerns at your feet.
I trust you completely with them.
Help me to not take these worries back from you today.
Amen.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.--1 Peter 5:7



Praying success over my child

Lord God,

You create everything beautiful in its time.
You mark out our days for us.
You are with us wherever we go.
It's important to remember that about you on days like this.

I pray your encouragement and sustaining power over my child
as he begins a new venture.
He is attempting something difficult and daunting today,
and he needs your touch.

Cover him with your hands of mercy.
Bolster his confidence in himself
and his reliance on you.
Give him courage to trust your will for his life.
Help him see the world through your eyes,
full of wonder,
full of possibility,
full of promise,
full of need.

Prepare his heart and mind for the next step in your plan.
Give him success in all he does.
Prosper him for the glory of your name.
Keep him humble, hungry, and content.
Groom him to be diligent in carrying out your cause.

Use him, Lord.
It's why you created him
and why I wanted him.
I give him to you, and I trust you with his life.
That's success.
It's what I want and what you promise.

Give me courage to not waver from my faith in your care for him.
Amen.



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.

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)



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



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



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.


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


Prayer for Healing and Restoration

Dear Heavenly Father,
Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals--

Please protect and heal my loved one today.
You created him,
You love him,
You have a purpose for him.
It is Your nature to heal, restore, and renew.
Please grant healing and restoration to him today so he can continue the calling You've given him.

I trust You, and I trust Your will.
I give You control (because You already have it), and
I will show that by giving You myself and my worries.

Rapha, Healer, You make all things new and beautiful.
Heal my tired spirit and my anxious heart.
Make me like You,
full of hope and joy.

Forgive me for the many times that I doubt because I don't see healing happening like I want it to.
Healing is Your call.
Your gift.
Your perfect will.

I love You.
Amen.

Make me a Servant

Lord, Servant of All,

Please help me to serve others with a happy heart.
Shut my mouth when I want to complain.
Prick my heart when I feel selfish.
Censor my thoughts when I think I deserve more--
when I believe my life should be marked by happiness, love, appreciation, and respect.

You know what it feels like to be
overlooked and misunderstood,
to work hard at something difficult,
something that expends all your energy
and hurts you deeply inside,
only to be rejected by the ones you served.

Give me your attitude--
or at least, help me to learn it.
I know it comes through hard work.
I'll do it.
I want to be like you, Jesus.
Servant of Man.
Bearer of the cross.
Sin for me, although You knew no sin.

May I serve like You serve!
Amen.

Prayer for a rushed day

Lord,
I have so much to do today.
This week.
This month.
My spirit feels rushed and anxious.
Calm me and remind me that all I have to do is worship You.
Just listen, obey, observe, act.
I just need to be You today to someone else.
So what do You want to do today?
Who needs Your Spirit and Your love?
I am Yours today.
Amen.


Will God answer my prayers?


I've been wrestling with some big decisions. I opened my Bible, and there was Psalm 145. Incredible!
Just what I needed. Here's a snippet:

"The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fufills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him, but the all wicked he will destroy." (Psalm 145:17-20)
What are you wrestling with? The Lord is near and listening for your voice.


Lord, I need you! Help me believe that You are loving and gracious, and You have good plans for me. My desire is toward You. May that desire intensify rather than wane. Watch over me and guide me to speak truth to You, to believe truth about my life, and to leave everyone and everything else in Your care. 
Amen.

image by alex grichenko



A Mother's Cry

Dear Lord Jesus,

When you lived on earth, you pined for your children--
you said you longed to protect the ones you loved,
gathering them like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.
So you must know how I feel about my children.

I feel desperate for them all the time,
but especially when we are separated from each other.
I've found that it doesn't matter how old they are.
Do you feel the same way?

Being separate makes me painfully aware of my insecurities as their mother.
It's not so different than when they were babies, and I held their feverish bodies in the middle of the night, realizing just how desperate love had made me.
I remember comprehending that I was just not equipped well enough for this monumental role--
I was not prepared to shape a life.

It was then that I began realizing how terribly I needed you.
I still do.
Age has not lessened my inabilities or insecurities. Or my neediness.
Age has, if anything, created a wiser understanding of all of it.

I still need more than ever.
As my children grow, I am overwhelmed with the rush of time
and the realization that I am still growing myself.
And in many areas, I have failed to grow.

Please, Lord,
make me a mother who still gathers my chicks, who makes them feel safe with me.
Make me a mother who listens instead of lectures,
who encourages instead of interrogates,
who supports instead of criticizes.
Make me a mother who's patient, understanding that a life isn't finished learning and growing until it dies--
until our eternal perfection.
Make me a mother who's respectful of my children's decisions, personalities, fears, and triumphs, who doesn't try to make them like me,
and who rejoices that they are not me.
I pray they are the people you created them to be.

Make me a mother who points my children toward you.
I cannot be a perfect representation of you.
(That's pretty obvious by now.)
But perhaps, my failings will show my children to depend on you.
That none of us will ever achieve perfection.
That the Christian life is about striving, failing, and striving again.
That it's about relationship,
just like mothering is primarily about relationship.

That's my cry, Lord,
I ask you to hear it and somehow empower me to do it.
Or at least work around me and perform something miraculous.

In Jesus' loving name,
Amen.


A request from the discouraged

Dear Lord,

I'm reaching out to you in faith. I'm discouraged, defeated, and despondent. I know you love me, and I know you have great plans for me, but frankly, I'm not feeling it today. I need the Holy Spirit to help me understand the depth and breadth of your love. I want the fullness of God because that will show me how shallow and meaningless this earthly life is. I need a miraculous perspective change. Would you do that for me, because I'm asking you? Because I'm seeking you?

Wait a minute. Am I really seeking you?

Maybe I'm just seeking happiness and contentment, and because I know it comes through you. Maybe I'm sitting here trying to bring you into my world because I want you to make it better. And that is exactly why I need your fullness--the sheer magnitude of who you are.

Please, Almighty God, reveal yourself to me.

Amen.


"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:14-19)


image by George Hodan


A Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit,


Pour Yourself out on me.
I don't know why I don't talk to You more often,
because I am in such desperate need
of Your power and direction.

Thank You for Your presence.
It is powerful and overwhelming and electric.
It weighs on me and yet drives me to say things I'm afraid to say
and do things I'm afraid to do.
That's all You.

Don't leave me.
Not for a second,
because I can't survive without You.

Convict,
Impress,
Direct,
Ignite,
Discipline,
Probe,
Encourage,
Inspire,
Lead,
Overwhelm--

Anything.

Just don't leave me.

I am Yours, and You are unbelievably responsive to my call.

I love You.
Amen.

"Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me." (Psalm 51:11)

image by Ken E


Praying Peace into my stormy life

Dear Lord,

I'm speaking Your words over my crazy, jumbled life:

Peace, be still.

I can't calm down on my own, so help me breathe in Your beauty and Your calm.

Peace, be still.

I can't control the things around me, so give me the courage to stop trying, stop striving, stop worrying.

Peace, be still.

You guard me, around and before me. You designed me perfectly to carry out Your will. You have marked out my way. So why am I afraid?

Peace, be still.

I wallow in discouragement and negative thinking, and I turn aside from You, searching so many other places to find motivation, assistance, encouragement, affirmation, and love. Help me hear Your words:

Peace, be still. Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?

You, Prince of Peace, are the answer.

Amen.

"A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, 'Teacher, don't you care if we drown?' He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?' They were terrified and asked each other, 'Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!' " (Mark 4:37-41)

image by axelle b

Praying about a decision

Dear Lord,

I'm investigating a new opportunity for ministry, and I want to hear your voice.

It's been on my mind. I've felt passion for it. I've investigated a little. And I feel your spirit stirring me inside.

Should I do this? Is this what you want?

I'm not really qualified. I'm not confident. There are probably other people who could do it better.

Yet I know from experience and reading the Bible that these facts are often an indication that you are calling me. You usually call me to tasks greater than I can handle so I will turn to you for everything.

I will give myself to prayer and Scripture this week so I can hear you when you speak to me. I am committing to you right now to obey you in whatever you ask--to follow wherever your will takes me.

Any other response removes me from your blessing. I can't live without your blessing on my life. And by "blessing," I mean your favor. I realize and remind myself that blessings aren't always pleasant or easy. As much as my insecurity wants ease, my spirit does not, because you are not in the business of making life easy. You are a miracle-worker and a culture-changer. You are redeeming souls, families, and nations.

I want to be a part of that calling! I love you, and I worship you,

Amen.

"Do not let they Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 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."--Josh. 1:8-9

Give Me Patience

Lord, 
Please give me patience.
And I'd like it today.
Amen.


image by MALIZ ONG


Thy Kingdom Come

Dear King of Kings,

You are the ruler of all things and all people,
yet you don't wield your authority or intimidate us into doing your will.
So I know that I can ask for help.

I need your direction
to  prioritize my day
in a way that advances your kingdom.

This is difficult.

Because even the good things I do,
I often do because they benefit me.
They make me feel better about myself,
and they build better relationships with other people, which also benefits me.

That's not building your kingdom. It's building mine.

Although the process will be uncomfortable, make me selfless.
Although it will hurt, teach me to sacrifice my desires.
Although serving others will mimic failure,
help me to see that true success only occurs in the kingdom of God.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Ah! There it is!
A perspective change.
Oh, to live life with another kingdom in mind!

Lord, help me to be heavenly,
even during my earthly grind.

Amen.

image by RAJESH misra

Prayer for Monday

Dear Lord,

It's Monday.
(But you know that already.)
Monday probably doesn't affect your work week one bit,
but it has enormous implications for mine.
Pressure (I have so much to do).
Adrenaline (the fight or flight kind).
Discouragement (I'll never get this all done).
Despair (I'll never be free of this pressure).

Now comes the breathing exercise.
Hoo-hoo-hee-hee.
Almost like I'm giving birth.
That's not what you want for me today.
It's not what you've planned.

Breathe.
I'm going for a walk, and I'm going to give this all back to you,
just like I do every Monday.
And every Tuesday-Sunday if I choose to live by faith instead of by sight.

Oh, God of heaven and earth,
Give me your Presence and your peace.
I am way too human
and way too incapable of performing what you have for me today.

I want your will, your way
Today and every day.

Amen.


image by Karen Arnold


A Prayer for 2017

A year is passing, and a new year is beginning.
This is no big deal to you,
because You've watched a millennia float by,
neither rushed by it nor slowed by it.
But we humans are obsessed with time;
we can't get enough of it.
Yet You give us exactly what we need
to do exactly what You've decided we should do.
(If only we would follow Your plan,
we'd always have enough time for everything!)

That's why I'm praying.
I'm tempted to ask for a better year,
but I know that's selfish and short-sighted.
So instead, I'm asking for Your will,
Your guidance,
Your discipline,
Your conviction.
Make me more like Jesus this year.
Please.
I need more of Him and more of You
and more of the Holy Spirit.
I need the Trinity at work in me.

I suspect that endeavor will use up all the time I have.
It will be time well spent.

Thank You for investing in me!
Thank You for blessing me!
Thank You for creating a way for me to become eternal.

In Jesus' precious name,
Amen.

image by Vera Kratochvil



Come, Lord Jesus, Come

O come, O come, Immanuel.
Come thou long-expected Jesus.
Come, thou Fount of every blessing.
Spirit of the Lord, come.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Just come.

I can't manage trying to live without You.

"The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.'"--Luke 1:35

Praise the Lord, He came!


image from George Hodan


A prayer at work

Dear Lord,
Please get me through this work day.

I am tired.
I am uninterested in my work.
I'm grateful, yes, but I want to be done.
Thank you for providing me this opportunity,
but please help it end quickly.
Amen.

P.S. I really am thankful, but You remember "I'm dust," right?

"As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:13-14)

image by Carlos Sardá



Prayer after the Election

Dear God of heaven and Lord of earth,

You already knew what would happen with this election.
You've known about every election, every coup, every hostile take-over in the history of the world,
Every peaceful transition, every glorious ascensions to power and privilege.
We want a servant leader.
Maybe that's just You.
You let flawed people succeed.
Sometimes the good; sometimes the bad.
Perhaps You are working on all our hearts,
probing and prodding and wooing everyone to Yourself,
giving all of us a chance to repent and believe
because You love evil people, and we are all evil, on some level.
You're never in a hurry.
You have a plan for us all.
Give me your grace, love, and mercy.
Amen.


Cut Away

I thought God wanted to answer my prayers. It's why I pray "in Jesus' name." Perhaps I'm overlooking something.

"Anyone who has faith in me will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, SO THAT THE SON MAY BRING GLORY TO THE FATHER. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." (John 14:12-14)

Then why don't I get what I ask for?

"You want something, but you don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." (James 4:2-3)

Holy Spirit, You convict me.
I want You to do greater things in me, but only for the glory of God.
Change me, develop me, wreck me
if that will bring You glory.
I want Your glory. I do.
(I just struggle daily over the glory I crave for myself.
It wars against the glory You should have.)
This is my request: cut away the narcissism from my heart and mind.
Chop it up and make me useful to you.
Sever the selfishness in me, O God.
I know it will hurt, 
and I will question Your love and Your will while You're doing it,
while You're stacking up my issues, addressing them one by one.
So Holy Spirit, remind me what You're doing each day when I pray: 
You are killing my vanity so that Your Spirit can reign in me, unhindered.
Cut down my ambition
so that my spirit and life will bring glory to God.

Amen.


A prayer for my children's hearts

I just read 2 Thess. 3:5 this morning on my Bible app. This is what is says, in a few different translations:

ESV--"May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ."

NIV--"May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance."

NKJV--"Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and the patience of Christ."

This passage sounds like a prayer to pray over my children.

Dear Lord God of heaven,

Your grace and providence astounds me. I thank you for my children and the rich challenge and reward that parenting them brings to my life. Use me to be an effective and authentic example of your love and grace. Somehow, let them catch a glimpse of You through me, even when I'm messing up and beings so profoundly and sinfully human.

And now I pray that you will direct and guide their hearts on a course toward loving You completely and whole-heartedly. As they experience Your love in their lives, give them an urgency to respond to You and a passion to serve You. And as they love, give them patience and perseverance to love others with godly grace. Give them tenacity to remain faithful to You and Your calling on their lives. Give them courage to work at their faith and to never be ashamed of the gospel.

I pray these boldly, in Jesus' name, and I believe that You will answer these requests, above and beyond what I can hope for, because You are Jehovah. Nothing is too hard for You, and You want nothing more than to see Your children walk in truth. Thank You for answering these requests!

In Jesus' holy and precious name,
Amen.

Prayer from a stacked pot

O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer--

I feel like a stacked pot, waiting among so many others for something new and miraculous to overpower my life.

I forget what miracles You've already done on my behalf.
Now I'm asking for Your transforming power
to erase pain, redeem mistakes,
and use my years of working and waiting.
Somehow, take my ordinary life and transform it into a glorious piece of Your master plan.
Make me patient as I sit and wait.
Build my faith as I trust You.
Help me see past the pressures of this life that weigh on me and threaten to stifle my calling.

I feel so ordinary,
so confined in my purpose,
like a clay pot stacked among so many others.

I forget that
You made me for eternity.
I should not pine for it or waste my time here,
but I need to work like what I do here matters.
Because it does matter.
I must participate and fulfill whatever task you have placed in front of me.
You will redeem even the mundane.
Even the mistakes,
as long as I am a willing pot in the Potter's hands.

Mold me.
Use me.
Break me, if necessary.
Redeem my every move.

Amen.

Psalm 19:14--My the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.

image from Petr Kratochvil




Lord, take my hand

Precious Lord,
Take my hand,
lead me on,
let me stand.
I am tired,
I am weak,
I am worn.
Through the storm,
through the night,
lead me on
to the light,
take my hand,
Precious Lord,
lead me home.

When my way grows drear,
Precious Lord,
linger near
when my life is almost gone.
Hear my cry
Hear my call,
Hold my hand,
lest I fall,
take my hand,
Precious Lord,
lead me home.

Amen and Amen.

Lyrics by Thomas Dorsey

Prayer for Fruit

Lord Jesus,

Somehow, help me to live a life worthy of you, to please you in every way.
Produce fruit from my life through good works.
Give me wisdom and insight to grow in the knowledge of God.
Strengthen me with power according to your glorious might.
Help me endure and be patient, give joyfully.
Thank you, Father, for qualifying me to share in your inheritance of the saints in your kingdom.
You have rescued me from the dominion of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of the Son you love.
Thank you for redeeming and forgiving my sins.
Transform me.
Make me wise enough to be satisfied with you.
That's when the fruit will ripen.

Amen.

Col.1:9-14

image by Petr Kratochvil



A prayer for blessing our nation

Lord of heaven, the God of the whole earth and of America,

We are a smug, selfish people. Forgive us, Lord, for asking for you to move in our nation merely because we want spirituality to be popular and sanctification to be easy. Forgive us for wanting laws that accommodate our spiritual goals rather than laws that motivate our spiritual fervor.

Bless us with your conviction and the power of your spirit! Manifest your patience and lovingkindness for our weaknesses! Continue to bless us--not with material wealth and extravagant living--but with the reality of your presence. May your presence go before us, go with us, and shield us from behind, as we deliver your message to a lost nation of peoples. Give us the courage to share your word, as it lives and breathes among us, transforming us to become more like you.

Make us into missionaries within our own borders! Bless us with courage and determination to share Christ rather than impose morality.

Give us patience and lovingkindness for others, as we desire for ourselves. May all your plans succeed in your timing and for your purpose. We are the people you have called and chosen--not to live prosperous and happy lives, but to share the good news with a nation that doesn't know who you are or what you've done for us.

Bless America through our testimony, and nothing else.

Amen.

"But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance."
--Psalm 33:11-12


image by Linnaea Mallette





A Prayer for Knowledge and Faith

A God who is omniscient is the reason I pray.

You create and impart all knowledge, even those who choose to believe You don't exist. I am awed by Your patience and Your grace in allowing each of us to search, resist, or find You as we will.

You don't push. You don't cajole. You don't condemn.

You just love.

You must know that Your love is irresistible to me. Your love persuades me to see You and experience You for who You are, somehow a deity who knows everything about me and yet is not repulsed by me. You aren't afraid that more knowledge of life and science will turn me away from You. Indeed, more knowledge ought to produce more faith.

An omniscient God knows that knowledge and faith are congruent and complimentary. You invented science--You designed its intricacies. I'm sure much of science is yet to be discovered. And yet my ignorance doesn't anger You. You smile and wait, like a patient father, for this over-confident human to grasp even a touch of Your creativity.

This is what I pray, to the one who knows everything:

Oh, Lord, Reveal Yourself to me.

Reveal Your power, Your will, the complexities of Your existence. Show me enough of Yourself so I believe, and give me the courage to accept the mysteries I'll never be able to comprehend.

Help me realize that a God whose actions I can explain would be no God at all. He would be me.

And I don't need to pray to myself. I'm the reason I need to pray to You. I can't really comprehend anything that goes on in my heart. It's desperately wicked, and it deceives me daily. (Jer. 17:9)

Create in me a new heart, O God. (Ps. 51: 10). Help me not to trust my own understanding. I adore You. I fear You. I believe in You.

Amen.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your path straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)


image by Petr Kratochvil





Give me ears to hear



Lord Jesus, the Word Who Became Flesh and lived among us--

I am in awe of your love and grace, that you would speak to me and convict me of the habits and fears that bind me from experiencing your love and freedom.

Show me your glory today! Reveal yourself through your words. Speak a powerful message through willing lives and willing lips, into the dark corners of the human heart. You speak power and conviction and encouragement from pulpits every Sunday, but you only speak to ears that listen.  Speak in our church today, I pray.

Give me ears to hear the message you will speak. Tear down the strongholds and clear out the defenses I build in my heart and mind to avoid the truth, reshape the truth, and deny the truth. May I be bold enough to listen!

You will visit me today with the message I need to hear. Give me the courage to hear it and obey it!

Amen.

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."--Rev. 3:6


image by Terrance Hatch




Give Me Wisdom


Lord Who Sees Me,

Give me wisdom to notice where You are working today,
where you want my participation in Your loving touch.
Time rushes past, and I clutch at it
because I was made for another world where time doesn't exist and my success is not needed.
Give me Your wisdom to spend the time You've given me here,
in the way You want me to spend it--
as an investment for eternity.
That's why I need Your eyes, Your heart, Your perspective.
Because naturally I have
not enough time,
not enough peace,
not enough of You.

I worship You. In that exchange, help me see You and follow You.
In Jesus' name,
Amen.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." (James 1:5)



Prayer to "Be Still"


Lord Jesus,

I'm tired. I'm so, so tired. Give me the courage to slow down so you can whisper your peace into my life. Help me to rest in you--more than that, help me to be content resting in you. Content without the noise of rushing through life, hurrying to false contentment. You are enough for me. I don't need the busyness. Help me to stop striving and pushing for more. I know that you are God. You will be exalted among the nations. (If I am still before you. If I can hear your voice.) I love you!

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ps. 46:10 (NIV)--"Be still and know that I am God."
(NASB)--"Cease striving and know that I am God."



The Path toward Destiny


When the path of life confuses
and the way seems hard to find,
When the voices all around me
blur with the voice inside my mind,
When I'm not sure of direction,
I need only to listen close
to the God who planned my future--
He's the one who loves me most!

According the Isaiah 30:20-21, we may struggle in life, but what we consider suffering, God deems a gift to grow us into the image of His Son. So when we falter on the path toward destiny, let us listen to the One who designed not only the path, but also the destination!

"Though the Lord gave you adversity for food
    and suffering for drink,
he will still be with you to teach you.
    You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
21 Your own ears will hear him.
    Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
    whether to the right or to the left."--Isaiah 30:20-21


Praying Psalm 40

Lord, God,
Help me to wait patiently for your words,
for your moving of the Holy Spirit,
for your prompting and prodding of me toward the work you have for me,
even if that work is corrective. Convicting.
Give me patience and faith not to move forward in my own strength,
not to make an idol of my own wisdom or abilities.
I need you. I know I do. Give me the humility to remember that.
I recount the wonders you have done already--
You have nothing to prove to me.
Your grace is sufficient.
Overflowing.
Overwhelming.
Help me to bask in your presence and your provision.
Here I am.
I have come.
I desire to do your will, regardless of the personal cost.
Do not withhold your mercy from me.
May your love and your truth protect my mind and my heart.
I am yours.
Amen.

taken from Psalm 40


I'm sick and I'd like to get well, ASAP

Dear Lord,
What is your plan here? You want me to learn humility, patience, endurance?
I get it. I do. I just feel lousy.
My head's exploding, my sinuses are swollen, my nose is red and crispy.
I'm a real beauty queen.
I walk around with my mouth hanging open so I can breathe,
and I haven't slept soundly in days (for fear of suffocation).
And--I'm working here. At least I'm trying.
I'm hobnobbing with professional writers, asking for critiques, making contacts, self-advocating,
trying to be the best version of me--either the fun me or the professional me--I'd take either one today.
Instead, I'm allergy me.
Stuffy, aching, swollen, tired, throbbing me.
I'm a Ny-Quil commercial.
And I'm not happy about it.
(After all, isn't my life about me?)
Oh, I get it. No, this is not about me, even though it feels like it should be.
It's about YOU. It's always about You, whether I realize it or not.
You're just reminding me, because I forget so easily.
Let's try this again:
Dear Lord,
Thank You for my health, even when it's not good.
Thank You for Ny-Quil and Mucinex-D and Zyrtec.
I am in awe that You even care about my cold, about my Rudolph nose.
I praise You for your mercy and grace in my life, for the blessing of being here.
You know I'd like to get better . . .
I'll wait for You to work on that.
I love You.
(But You are really lucky not to have sinus problems.)
Love, me

indianapublicmedia.org



How to Pray for God's Will

"Dear God, if it's Your will, please . . ."

That's the spiritual way to pray, right? For God's will. And then we proceed to tell Him what His will should be. We'd like a clear-cut path toward a desirable destination. And a nice view along the way.

In Hebrews 12, you can read about a whole list of people who spoke with God and heard His response. They heard God's will, about moving to a new land, shaking off slavery, conquering kingdoms, enduring persecution. They prayed for God's will (a plan), they submitted to God's will (their obedience), and then God led them in His will (their destiny). God's will can mean all 3 things. So what and how should we pray for God's will?

Accept an unknown outcome 
Here are two curious aspects of God's will--He often doesn't tell us the details first, and He doesn't even promise we'll know why something happened. He just expects blind obedience to His written Word. Heb. 11:39 says, "These were all commended of their faith yet none of them received what had been promised." None of them received what was promised! The faith walk is not about understanding what God is doing--it's about joining what He is doing. You may see the fruit of your obedience, but you may not. The outcome shouldn't matter.

Expect hardship in doing God's will
Since following God's will is an act of faith, it makes sense that part of the faith-building exercise is to follow God without knowing exactly where He's leading or what following Him will entail. He has already given us some clues about this in Scripture:
  • Jn. 16:33--"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
  • Mtt. 5:10--"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of their righteousness, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven."
  • 1 Thes. 5:18--"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Why are we surprised when following God is hard? He told us it would be hard. It's the enduring of hardship that points people to Christ. Jesus is the answer for all of life's difficulties.

Embrace suffering for doing God's will
It is God's will for you to experience suffering. In Phil. 1:29, Paul says "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also suffer for him." In Greek, the word grant carries the concept of giving a gift or a privilege. God gives us suffering because He knows it will improve our character and our relationship with Him! Although it may seem like an oxymoron, we should embrace suffering, knowing that God is perfecting us and making us more like Jesus.

Be faithful in following God's will
So let's not pray for God's will to remove something difficult from our lives. Let's pray for strength and courage to be faithful to our calling. Maybe we should pray through suffering more than we pray against suffering. Gal. 6:9 reminds us, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Lord, not my will, but Yours be done!


New Year's Prayer

Dear Lord God,
Forgive me for my selfishness this year, for my pre-occupation with myself. Thank you for your patience and love in redirecting my heart towards you. Your generosity astounds me. You have given me another year to praise you--another year to enjoy my family and my health--another year to serve

you. Thank you for your long-suffering spirit, because I know I have not served well. Thank you for my family and friends--I am blessed beyond measure. Please give me perspective to see the work you have for me this coming year and the courage to do it. Give me the humility to ask for help and the faith to believe that you can use me. Open my eyes to see where you are working so I may join you and broaden my influence so others can find you through me. Stir in me a spiritual awakening so that I will know you on a deeper level than I ever have before. Protect and empower me through the work of the Holy Spirit. I am yours. I love you.
In Jesus' name, Amen.



In Jesus' Name, Amen

John 14:14 might be one of our favorite verses in the Bible: “You may ask anything in my name, and I will do it.” Hence, someone developed the practice of praying with the important tag on the end, "In Jesus' name, Amen." 

Because adding Jesus' name to a request is like saying "please" when you're a little kid. It's the magic word.

Shame on us for trying to rub the lamp for the Jesus genie. Asking for something in Jesus' name bears far heavier implications than saying "please" when you want a chocolate chip cookie. Jesus' name invokes power, authority, and sacrifice. When I align myself with Jesus, I bear the responsibility of Romans 12:1-2 and Philippians 2--I must humble myself like Jesus did and become a living sacrifice. I must say "Not my will, but Thine be done." That's what Jesus' name means.


Jesus stands in the gap for us before the Father and intercedes for our requests. He reminds the Father that this lowly human (me)--this follower of Christ who's struggling in finances or relationships--has been pardoned from her great guilt by Jesus' own personal payment. This human likeness of Christ I aspire to have lets me stand before a holy God and ask for help, which God promises to give me because of Jesus' love and pain. If I am truly a replica of Jesus--if I can stand as a "little Christ" (i.e.. Christian)--then I will want God's will, whatever that looks like. I will not subvert God's will, reinterpret God's will, or manipulate God's will so I triumph emotionally, financially, physically, or socially.


Because if I'm like Jesus, I'm walking a path of suffering, and I'm leaning into God's strength for wisdom, courage, and destiny. God's will is my willThat's what I'm asking for. That's what I want. In Jesus' name.


“The prevailing idea seems to be, that I come to God and ask Him for something that I want, and that I expect Him to give that which I have asked. . . . This popular belief reduces God to a servant, our servant: doing our bidding, performing our pleasure, granting our desires.”—A. W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God





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