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 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?

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.

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.

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.


Help me be brave


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.


"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.

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.


"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

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.

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.


Help me prioritize


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,

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.

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!

Prayer for a rushed day

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.

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. 

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,

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.


"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.



Just don't leave me.

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

I love You.

"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.


"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,


"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

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

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.


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.
Almost like I'm giving birth.
That's not what you want for me today.
It's not what you've planned.

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.


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.
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,

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.

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.

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.


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,

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.


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.



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.


"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.


"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!


"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,

"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.
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.

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

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