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Showing posts from 2020

A prayer of hope and purpose for the New Year

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  A prayer of hope and purpose for the new year, from Philippians 3 -- Lord God, I want to know Jesus Christ and his resurrection. I can't understand his power or his suffering, or his perfection and righteousness. But you know that about me. You know I can't handle this world's problems on my own. You know I can't keep perspective on what matters. It's why you sent Jesus to us in the first place. Because I can't manage on my own, I cling to the hope that you can and will transform all things. I will forget what is behind me in this year. I will reach toward what you have before me in the new year. I will strain toward the prize of winning Christ, of choosing hope in my ordinary existence. I will press on toward the goal of becoming more like your son. My end of the pursuit is heaven. May I long to live in your presence, rather than be fearful of leaving this earth. Mature me this year. Transform me this year. Use me this year. I am yours. That is my hope . Hel

An anniversary prayer

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Lord God, You are the lover of my soul, my Bridegroom , my Savior, my friend forever. Thank you for inventing marriage, for having this incredible idea that two people are better than one if they are joined in unity with You. Thank you for my spouse and for all our years of marriage. I praise You for working in us and through us and between us. Thank you for going before us in the hard times, for carrying us through trials and trauma, for blessing us always. We owe you everything. Every happiness. Every parcel of maturity and wisdom. Every comfort. Lord, put a guard around my spouse . Protect his/her heart, mind, and soul. I pray the power of the Holy Spirit over his/her life each day. Enlarge his/her territory--expand his/her reach and influence, may he/she impact the world in the way you designed and imagined. May we both be obedient and compliant to all your plans  and most of all, to staying in close relationship with you. We want to hear You every time You speak. Obey You every

What God's saying to you this Christmas: a conversation

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What is God saying to you this Christmas? Do you know? Because He is speaking. He is calling. He is encouraging. He is blessing. Prayer is a two-way street. When we read Scripture, God speaks to us. When we pray, He confirms or corrects what we think we've heard. And we respond to Him. It's holy communication. Consider Mary's story this Christmas as a wonderful pattern of prayer for us humans. It's also a revelation about how God speaks to us and responds to our fear. Because we're all afraid . GOD (through an ANGEL): Greetings, (God sees you) you who are highly favored! (You are special to God, with special blessings from God) The Lord is with you. (You are not alone , ever) Do not be afraid, (God knows how you feel without you saying anything) Mary, (God knows your name and everything about you) you have found favor with God. (Again, you are blessed) You will be with child and give birth to a son.... (God has a particular calling on your life; it will

Don't lose heart

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  Lord Jesus, Help me to not lose heart, to avoid discouragement and negative thinking, (not because I can make myself happier) but because you only are my source of joy and confidence. You are above and in all things. You use all things for good. So regardless of what happens in this world, I can not struck down or abandoned. I am not deceived by worldly philosophies or a false gospel. I am not entitled to something more than you give me. I am not missing out on something you've kept from me. I belong to you, and I bring you joy . I am a light in a dark world, just as you came as a light on a dark Christmas night. Everywhere you are, you radiate light, joy, hope, and love. You do it through creation. You do it through the Church. You do it through me. You are my light, and I am your light to the world at Christmas and every day of the year. If I let you shine through me-- if I let you say what you want to say and do what you want to do. If I reflect you in everything, in a mill

7 prayers of Christmas

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Did you know that many of the key characters in the Christmas story left prayers for us to read ? They were overwhelmed, amazed, frightened, and thankful. They were like us, really. They witnessed Emmanuel "God with us," just like we do. They had to stop in their stress and anxiety and notice God's wonder. And let that experience change them. Below are 7 prayers from that first Christmas.  Plus one from me.  They all address the issues we feel on a regular basis. The first 7 prayers are by the Christmas story characters themselves. Read their stories. Pray the prayers. Then watch and wait--God will fill you with wonder. I just know it! He really does wonder well. Prayer #1: Mary--"How is this possible?"--a request for understanding ( Lk. 1:21-28 ) Prayer #2: Mary--"Glory to God!"--a song of praise ( Lk. 1:21-55 ) Prayer #3: Joseph--"What should I do?"--a prayer of grief and confusion ( Mtt. 1:18-20 ) Prayer #4: Wisemen--"Where is he?

What is God doing right now?

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The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the  nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. ( Isaiah 9 :2-3, 6-7) Oh, Wonderful Lord and Everlasting Father, You bring peace the world does not understand. You overthrow kingdoms and transform governments . You understand pain and relieve suffering. You experience grief to bring us joy. You never grow tired or weary. You are never overwhelmed, ne

Thanks in all things

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  1 Thessalonians 5:18--"G ive  thanks  in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." Oh, Lord,  Thank you for a day that reminds us to be grateful. Forgive me that I need to be reminded of your grace, that I ever complain about the thousand blessings you lavish on me. Lord, thank you for your unconditional and unrelenting love. During this difficult year, you have never left me. You hold me in your hands and protect me. You sit with me in grief and hear my prayers. You are good and generous, and you never leave me or forget about me. And you never hurt me. I am safe with you. Thank you for all of it, even the hard parts. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Prayer for protection and vengeance

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A paraphrased prayer of Psalm 5 Lord God, Listen to my words and notice my aching request. In the morning I lay my requests before you, and you hear me. I wait expectantly throughout the day for you to work out your will in my life. You do not delight in evil or relish in the freedom that evil people exercise. You will not wait forever before you destroy them. The arrogant and disrespectful cannot stand up to you;  you will not tolerate their actions or attitudes. You will destroy them and bring honor to yourself. I call on your vengeance on my enemies--of your enemies-- and I ask for your mercy, also. I thank you for your lovingkindness and patience toward me. Lead me in your righteousness, toward your holy presence. Declare the evil guilty and wipe their remembrance from the earth. Separate their reputation from your name. But protect those who love you, those you faithfully serve you and endure hardship, those who suffer and remain faithful. Bless me. Surround me with your sh

A Prayer for the election

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Oh Lord, You know how confused and angry we get over everything. You understand our anxiety . You use everything, good or bad to accomplish your will. Even governments. Even citizens. Whether God-fearing, hypocrites, or downright evil, you can use anybody to further awareness and receptivity to your gospel message. I pray for our country right now and for the officials who will be elected today. I pray that they make decisions that will honor and glorify you and make the gospel go forth with power and clarity. I ask that you empower believers to speak truth with boldness, clarity, and kindness. May we never pervert the gospel because we are afraid or angry. Help us to be mindful of our testimony to the world. I pray for Americans to react to the election with grace and resoluteness. May we promote justice, love, and mercy above party politics and self-preservation. Convict us when we don't do that. Forgive me, Lord, for the many times I have not done that. I pray for you to be gl

Walk through the fire with me

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  Listen to this amazing song by Tauren Wells, "Famous For." Let these powerful words sink in. They will encourage you to trust God in any circumstance. Now pray a prayer of confident faith in a God who has a history of doing miraculous things because it glorifies HIS name, not because it makes our lives easier. I think we get that motivation confused sometimes. Fame does sit well on us. We weren't built for it. But God was. Glory is meant for Him, and everything He does brings glory to His name. Oh, God, You are miraculous. You always love us. Your works are mighty and they display your power and majesty. Why am I so worried about ordinary things? All I need to do is look at all the incredible acts you've done.  You rescue. You sustain. You redeem. You justify. You rectify. You wait. You love. You forgive. You change governments and protect armies and remember orphans and heal diseases and comfort the brokenhearted. You walk through fire with me. You call me out acro

Praying for the kingdom of heaven in my life

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  Dear Lord Jesus, You talked a lot about the kingdom of heaven . That term seems a little mysterious. I guess your listeners didn't understand it either because you explained it over and over. I'm asking your Holy Spirit to help me understand it. I'm praying for the kingdom of heaven in my life. Help me to sow good habits into my life so I can grow (Matt. 13:24) Make me like a mustard seed, small and humble, but fruitful. May my life grow to be a shade tree for everyone else (Matt. 13:33) Help me seek your kingdom because it is a great treasure . Make me brave enough to give up everything for it (Matt. 13:44) Give me perspective to live with a kingdom mindset--to see your gospel as a pearl of great price (Matt. 13:45) May my life be like a welcoming household, filled with treasures (Matt. 13:52) Give me your power, to bind evil in your name (Matt. 16:19) Make me humble , teachable, and joyful like a child (Matt. 18:4) Build into me responsibility, stewardship , and ear

20 prayers about guarding your words

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Oh, Lord, I don't have the words for what I'm feeling right now. Or what I should say. Or if I should say anything at all. Words are tricky. They tend to pop out. Help me to pray YOUR words about MY words: Make the words of my mouth pleasing and acceptable to you. (Psalm 19:14) Give me gracious words, sweet like honeycomb and healing to the bones.  (Proverbs 16:24) May my mouth speak wisdom and my heart be filled with understanding.  (Psalm 49:3) Purify my words like silver, burn off the dross in your crucible. (Psalm 12:6) Whenever I open my mouth, give me the faith to speak the gospel fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:19) Help my speech to be as beautiful and valuable as apples of gold in pictures of silver.  (Proverbs 25:11) Your words are true and faithful. They will prove to be true. May I speak them! (Psalm 33:4) I want to take hold of your words, obey your commands, and live! (Proverbs 4:4) Lord, may all of my words be just. Keep me from speaking perverse words! (Pro

7 Pick-me-up prayers

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  Speak each of these verses as a prayer to the Lord to get you through your day today. Each statement is a promise from God that He will fulfill his will in you because of who He is, not because of who you are. You just need to believe his promises. Remember God's mighty works in the past and choose to believe that he will continue to be the God he's always been. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  (2 Cor. 3:17) Lord, give me your Spirit, which makes me free from sin and death. Help me not to misconstrue freedom with the world's definition. I am free in you, and therefore, I am your obedient and submissive servant. You don't owe me anything. Amen. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:13) Lord, I am overwhelmed with how hard life it. Give me the strength and power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I am challenged to do your will and your mission, not my own. I can't possibly see how your plans for me will play out in eternit

How to pray for your pastors and the Church as a whole

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Lord Jesus, You have called many people I know into a holy and difficult calling: pastoring. They step into battle week after week against spiritual and physical enemies. They are called by you to lead my local church, which is part of the global church. I pray you will protect and nourish my pastors' souls and spirits today. I pray for their vision, clarity, compassion, and endurance. I pray a hedge around their families and their emotions; be a rear guard against anyone how wants to attack them and to go before them into battle. Because we are in a battle, all of us. But you have placed some special people on the front lines, and they are probably getting tired of it.  Church is hard for everybody. I wonder why that is? I guess because we're all human. We're selfish, and we ruin every blessing that God gives us. I pray for my church, and I pray for my pastors.  I especially ask you to protect them against attacks from believers because that discourages ministers more than

Teach me to grieve (for myself and others)

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 Oh, Lord,  You are the God of comfort . Teach me to grieve .  It makes me uncomfortable, but it's so necessary for healing and perspective. Help me to trust your love and care enough to lean into pain and trauma and the wild uncertainty of hard times, of personal and collective  crisis . You are a God of compassion . Teach me to grieve for others. give me perspective and empathy and sincerity that other people's experiences are different and just as traumatic and difficult than my own. Maybe even more! I want to be kind and willing to sit with them in their pain without passing judgment,  assuming I have the answers, or teaching them how to feel or act in their pain. You are a God of forgiveness . Teach me to be forgiving when I feel that someone has wronged me, misunderstood me,  or hurt me. You give us chances, over and over-- a thousand million chances to change, to repent, to revive, to follow. Help me repent of my own sin and refuse to be the judge and jury for everyon

Praying about good news in us and through us

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Oh, Lord, There's not a lot of good news flying around these days. Not a lot to make us joyful or optimistic. Not a lot that is attracting the world to the church. In fact, our news--and our handling of the news-- is probably pushing people away. If we're going to bite and devour one another, who wants that kind of religion? What a terrible misrepresentation of who God is. God, I'm asking you to change us. Change me more every day. I want my life, my words, and my testimony to spread good news about God's love, Jesus' death, and the Church Jesus started. And so I pray Colossians 1:3-6 over all of us: Each time we pray for you,  we thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have heard of your faith in Christ and of your love for all God's people, because what you hope for [not political victory]  is kept safe for you in heaven. You first heard about this hope when you believed the true message,  which is the good news. The go

The Back-to-work prayer

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Wow, Lord, I'm a little overwhelmed. I'm back in the old-but-not-normal grind. It's physical work but virtual, too. I'm having to get up early, work all day, and manage to do everything in person and online. It's great to wear normal clothes and see human faces, even behind masks. But every day is a new struggle. Something's different. Something's changed forever. Something's harder than before. So much has changed, sometimes I resent that I can no longer  plan  or feel secure about my work or my life. I belong to you. My work belongs to you. Why is it so hard for me to be joyful about my situation? Convict me when I complain about how things used to be. Remind me that you are a God of transformation -- you don't want anything to stay the same. Not even me. Not ever. When I feel inconvenienced or overlooked, remind me that I'm here on a global mission , in your service, for your glory. It's not about me.

A Labor Day prayer, for those of us who labor too much to listen

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Dear Lord, I'm so grateful to sit outside this weekend and marvel at the beauty of your world. Thank you for this weekend--for the chance to rest and breathe and think. I labor too much. My labor keeps me from hearing you speak. So often, I'm too busy to hear you speak. I want your wisdom, but I don't sit down long enough to listen. I don't stop the noise and the activity and wait. I don't go where I can hear you, some place where the noise is music, and everything reveals your glory. Speak, Lord. Speak your love and blessing over me. Help me hear and remember your promises . Open my heart to be tender to conviction and correction, to recognize where I need to change and then to have the courage to do it. Change me. Mold me. Renew me. I'm leaning into you, Lord. Speak to me. Every day that I sit in your presence is a Sabbath day. Lord, may I sit and listen every week and every day! In Jesus' name, Amen. Six days you shall

The back-to-school-in-the-kitchen conversation with God (i.e. FREAK OUT to God)

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Okay, God, now you've really done something to me. You've compelled me to become a teacher to my own children. Do you remember how I fought with them last year over their homework? And now you want me to do this ALL DAY LONG? Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith in me produces perseverance.  (James 1:1-2)  But we're back to school at the kitchen table, and I'm freaking out! I can't be responsible for my kids' reading, writing, math, science, history, music, PE, drama, socializing, and personal responsibilities ALL DAY LONG! For who-knows-how-long? I just can't. You should know this about me. You've watched my parenting. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Romans 8:28) Okay, that's just mean, making this a spiritual decision, when obviously, I was not trained as a teacher. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all witho

A prayer about teaching and learning

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Lord Jesus, the Rabbi, You were a teacher. You know how hard it is to present truth and get listeners to hear and understand it. You were creative and interesting and inviting and challenging. Make me like that, whether I'm a parent, a teacher, a supervisor, a manager, or business owner. I'm teaching someone about you every day just by being myself. And I'm learning from someone every day. (Or at least I should be.) I want to seek you and learn from you first and foremost. I want to long for you and miss you when I avoid you. Make me a learner first, and a teacher second. I want my life to count. I want to help someone grow as a person and as a child of God. Infuse me with humility, persistence, wonder, patience, and compassion. I wait on you and listen to you. Thank you. In Jesus' name, Amen. "Your hands have formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands." Psalm 119:73

How God shows truth when you're in a desert

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I'm reading I Kings 17 this morning. The country is in a massive famine. It's a pandemic of starvation. Everything is dried up. There is no food anywhere. The widow of Zarephath is picking up sticks to make her last fire, for her last meal, for herself and her son. Elijah approaches her and asks her to make him some bread. He promises that God will bless her if she obeys and feed him first. She believes. And her oil and flour don't run out. She keeps Elijah alive, and God keeps her and her son alive. They survive the famine. But then the widow's son dies. Look how Elijah prays and how the woman responds. "O Lord my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?...O Lord my God, let this boy's life return to him!" And the boy begins to breathe again. Then she says, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord is truth." Oh, Lord, God, Reveal your power and

A birthday prayer for my child

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Oh, Lord, I ask for your blessing over my child on his birthday, on this day that you breathed life into him as he entered this broken world. Cover him with your protection, your conviction, and your direction. May he always feel your presence. Speak Scripture to him when he sins. Speak comfort to him when he is afraid. Wrap yourself around him when he is alone. Direct him when he is confused. Always, bring your words of life--the Holy Word of God-- to his heart and memory, and may he cling to your truth. Give his discernment in this confusing world. Stir unrest and reticence when he hears falsehood, and help him to turn back to your Word to verify the truth. Make him a man of spiritual power and authority. Bring men and women in his path to guide him and model Christian living to him. Bring friends into his circle who will support and encourage his walk with you. Bring him a wife at the perfect time for both of them. Help him to wait on your voice, to

A prayer of joy (and why joy works in a messed-up world)

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Oh, Lord, I rejoice in your lovingkindness, your love, your goodness, your faithfulness, your patience, your forgiveness , your gentleness, your justice, your generosity, your righteousness, and your discipline. Your works and your ways are mysterious, but I trust them because you have always shown yourself to be trustworthy . You are good, and you only do good. Thank you for the history of the world: because in the midst of chaos, suffering , and victimization, you have always shown yourself loving, just, and faithful. You have always redeemed those who seek you. You have always blessed those who follow you. You are father to the fatherless (that's me)! You defend the widow (that was my mom)! You put the lonely in families (that's so many of us)! You free the prisoners (that's justice). You shake the world with your might and power. You paint it in brilliant colors, and you give it to us to enjoy (everybody can see your works!). Praise

A prayer for my child's wedding day

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Oh, Lord of heaven, Lover of our souls, Bridegroom of the Church, Savior of all who seek you-- I bring you my most earnest request, my adoration, my intercession, my thanksgiving. Today is my son's wedding day. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this life you entrusted to me. I am so humbled to be his mother. Thank you for this gift, for this child I prayed for before his conception and every day since. Thank you for his bride , whom I've prayed for since my son's birth. You have loved us with an everlasting love. (Jer. 31:3) You are loving and faithful, even when we are untrue and unfaithful to you. I cannot praise you enough. Hover over our day with your Presence. Infuse our wedding celebrations with your Spirit. Fill the bride and groom with gratefulness and praise to you. Go before them and behind them and beside them through life. Keep them as the apple of you eye. May be all reflect your lovingkindness today. May we rejoice and be gl