Once you begin praising God for who He is, you will begin to see yourself as you really are. Hmm. That's always a scary sight for me. We've got issues, don't we? That's where praise will lead us--right to God's feet and in full view of our need for him. But if we confess our sin (call it by it's ugly, honest name!), God clears our hearts for communication. Now our prayers can actually be heard and answered.

Psalm 32:5 (NLT) "Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, 'I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.' And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone."

Forgive me for my grudges


Well, Lord, 

I'm coming to you once again

in confession and repentance. 

Forgive me for my resentment,



and malice toward people who have hurt me and abused me.

Forgive me for holding grudges,

for obsessing over the wrongs done to me.

I lay all my hurt at your feet.

It's yours.

You understand.

You can defend me or not.

I know you love me and uphold me.

I know your ways are good and perfect.

I know you will prosper me for your own glory,

not mine.

I know that you will redeem the lies that people spread about me

and the resentment people hold against me.

I don't have to hold on to my pain or protect my bitterness

so that I feel in control.

I'm not.

So I give it all to you.

My name is "beloved,"

and I belong to you.

That's what can honestly be said about me.

That's who you say I am.

Forgive me, Lord, as I forgive those who sin against me.

In Jesus' name,


"If tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you've received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against so that your heavenly Father will forgive your sins, too." (Mark 11:24-25)

Listen to this music video by Sanctus Real:

Peace and getting closer to God

Oh, Lord,

I pray and ask for your presence.

Draw near to me,

to be with me in my troubles,

to comfort me in my sadness.

Is that a silly prayer?

It's helpful to me, but I guess it's not accurate.

You never leave me.

You're always present.

I'm the one who wanders,

who gets lost,

who struggles to find my way back to you.

I feel the unrest, anxiety, and turmoil

of being a soul out of sync with your Spirit.

When I feel tossed about,

it's not because you're not here.

It's because I've taken my eyes off you;

I'm looking at the storms all around me;

I'm asking for peace while I welcome chaos.

Lord, I fix my eyes on you.

There is peace in your presence because you are faithful.

Everything else is a wicked and pointless pursuit of self.

Forgive me and change me, O God.

I'm yours.

Heal me, 

use me,

guide me,

restore me,

change me.

In Jesus' name,


"I have sen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel. Peace, peace, to those far and near," says the Lord. "And I will heal them." But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. "There is no peace," says my God, "for the wicked." (Isaiah 57:18-21)

Matthew 14:27-31:

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

A prayer for peace and attentiveness

Lord God,

I pray for my heart and mind to rest in peace.

Help me to trust with the things I can't see and can't control.

Forgive me for not paying attention to your words,

not listening to your voice,

not waiting in the quiet place for you.

You say that if I pay attention to your commands,

your peace will flow like a river over me.

Your righteousness will wash over me without end.

And you tell me that I will never find peace without your righteousness.

I cannot give over my thoughts and emotions to the enemy's lies

and feel comfort in your arms

or hear your words of blessing.

I will hear the noise instead.

I will feel the anxiety that chaos brings.

And I will think you've forgotten about me

or can't protect me.

Lord, protect me from this dangerous path toward unbelief!

If I want peace, I only need to crave righteous living.

In Jesus' name,


Isaiah 48:18, 22

"If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea....;There is no peace,' says the Lord, 'for the wicked.'"

Help me obey your calling: a prayer to establish harmony with God's spirit

Oh, Lord, 

I'm scared.

I have anxiety and dread all the time,

and I think it's from not obeying your call on my life--

not doing the things you've told me to do

or loving the people you've told me to love.

I'm afraid to follow you 

because I don't know what will happen to me when I do

and because I've been hurt by people so many times when I did.

I have reasonable excuses for hesitating:

I'm not good enough,

not talented enough,

not lucky enough,

not spiritual enough.

I'm too busy,

too stressed

too unprepared.

I need to heal,

to find myself,

to get into a safe space.

Yet the longing and the frustration in my spirit persists.

That tells me I'm not living in harmony with your calling

and with the Spirit of God living inside of me.

You say I am enough--

in you I am always enough.

You can do anything,

through anyone,

and you just want me to trust you with my life.

I confess my pride and self-reliance to you.

Steady my heart and clear my mind.

Help me obey your call

every minute, 

every day,

every year.

Help me take one obedient step at a time

without worrying about what will happen to me next,

and follow wherever you lead me.

Even if I will fail

or look foolish (that's my perspective, not yours.)

You are trustworthy and loving,

and I can obey what you put on my heart to do.

I will trust you.

Thank you for not giving up on me.

In Jesus' name,


Promises from God to Joshua in Joshua 1 (because he was afraid to obey):

1. "I will give you every place where you set your feet." (Josh. 1:3)

2. "No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life." (Josh. 1:5)

3. "I will never leave you or forsake you." (Josh. 1:5)

4. "... Then you will be prosperous." (Josh. 1:8)

Another prayer from Joshua 1:8-9:

A prayer over the graduate

A word and a prayer about truth and wisdom



Don't ever be afraid of the truth. Not the truth about yourself, your heart, your emotions, or your spiritual strongholds. Not the truth about those you love. Not the truth about God's commands or will. Please don't walk away from truth, even when it's hard. It will literally save you. Again and again.

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18)

If finding out the truth about yourself or something terrifies you, then you have a clear sign that the devil is working against you. Whenever we love, we welcome the truth. We won't re-shape it, twist it, or wield it. We will protect it and cherish it. Truthful lives point towards God, not toward ourselves or our own abilities.

"A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful." (Proverbs 14:25)

But what if we can't tell the difference? What if the lies make more sense than the truth? What if we've got them turned around? What is we start relying on our own intelligence and common sense?

The proof is in the pudding. Motives come out through speech and action. What do our "truths" cause us to do and say? There lies the answer.

"Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water." (James 3:10-12)

If we are filled with the Spirit, blessing and truth soak our words and actions. If we are filled with anger and malice, lies lace our words, and we believe them. We will begin searching for "truths" to hurt others and exonerate ourselves. That, my friend, is being duped by the devil. It's happened to all of us. It's really a great, evil strategy of his.

Truth is love. And love is truthful.

"Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men and from men whose words are perverse." (Proverbs 2:11-12)

How do you break out of the cycle of resentment, bitterness, self-defense, and gossip? 

Embrace the truth about God's grace. Face your own lies, and most of all, accept God's over-arching and everlasting love.

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)


Oh, Lord,

Reveal your truth to me.

Prick my heart and whisper your truth into my soul.

I will beat down my pride and my excuses with the power of your Word.

I will not give the devil a foothold in my heart and mind.

I will seek truth from your Word, from my spiritual leaders, and from my own conscience.

I will stop blaming others for the sin I have protected.

I will speak the complete truth, but not anything that would hurt someone else to make me look better.

I will refrain from deception.

I will embrace unity and love.

I will not be afraid.

I will give you glory in all my words and speech.

Forgive me for the many times I haven't done this,

for my self-pity, pride, and unrighteous indignation.

I lay myself at your throne, exposed and willing.

Speak truth to me.

I promise I will hear it and repeat it.

In Jesus' name--the One who is Truth--


My heart and mind might be wrong

Oh, Lord, 

Examine my heart and mind

because they might be wrong.

In fact, I know they are.

I'm wrong.

confess it.

My thoughts are angry, unkind, ungraceful.

My words reflect my thoughts, 

and I'm ashamed of them.

Bring every wrong thought captive--

reveal my selfish motives for why I think and say what I do.

Show me the truth.

I need your perspective, not my own.

Examine my heart and mind and humble me enough to admit what's lurking there.

Lord, I confess it again.

I'm wrong

Fill me with grace, forgiveness, and understanding.

I want to continually walk in your truth,

in your way,

in your timing.

I praise you for your faithfulness to me, even when I'm not faithful back.

Thank you, Lord.

Your mercy is unfathomable.

In Jesus' name, 


"Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth." (Psalm 26:2-3)

A confession of bitterness & a decision toward grace

"Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many." (Hebrews 12:15)

An observation:

If we care for one another, 

God gives us grace.

If we don't care for one another, we don't get grace from anyone.

Bitterness is a weed that overtakes a garden

until it has choked out every plant that was once beautiful and productive

until the garden becomes useless and ugly.

Bitterness prevents blessing.

A prayer:

Oh, Lord,

I confess my bitterness 

and my lack of trust in you to direct me in all things.

I've resented you allowing weeds into my life.

My heart has not been fertile or productive lately.

It has been a garden of weeds

instead of a garden of flowers.

Please forgive me

and help me develop the courage to rip out every weed

and prune back every thought and habit that doesn't honor you.

confess holding grudges,

distrusting your care,

and protecting self-pity.

forgive those who've sinned against me.

I will name them by name and give them into your care, 

where they belong.

I seek your face, your heart, and your hands.

Your grace amazes me!

Groom in my a spirit of grace and forgiveness for everyone!

In Jesus' name, 


Praying to be a peacemaker

Oh, Lord, the Prince of Peace,

Instead of praying against stress--

instead of praying for a calm, peaceful life--

Lord, make me a peacemaker.

I crave peace, but I don't often make peace.

I find the problems,

I criticize the results,

I blame the victimizers.

But I don't try to make peace,

I don't wish blessings on those who oppose or hurt me.

I don't cultivate kindness, grace, and generosity

in unjust situations.

I don't forgive enough.

I accuse too often.

I excuse my own sins.

I cover up what's bad in my and expose what's bad in others.

That's not peacemaking.

Lord, I want to see you work in my life.

I want to know you and become like you.

So that means I MUST become a peacemaker.

Lord, help me see people how you see them.

Help me give up for the greater good.

Help me to live for eternity,

to sacrifice for the gospel,

to protect the church,

to love the world,

to pray for my family.

Help me to work for solutions 

rather than fight over problems.

I confess my pride,

my need to be right,

and my stubbornness to win at things that don't matter for eternity.

Forgive me, Lord.

I am your daughter. 

I want to be an accurate representation of your peacemaking nature.

Thank you for the change you'll work in me!

In Jesus' name, 


"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9)

I'm drowning (and other fears God can handle)

Lord, save me--

I'm drowning.

Lord, show me--

I'm doubting.

Lord, catch me--

I'm afraid.

You are God. 

Your ways are unknowable,

but they are always good.

Lord, I believe.

Help my unbelief.

In Jesus' name,


"Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. 'It’s a ghost,' they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.' 'Lord, if it’s you,' Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.' 'Come,' he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me! Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?' And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, 'Truly you are the Son of God.'” (Matthew 1:25-33)

A prayer about being in church and away from it

Let us hold on to the hope we say we have and not be changed. We can trust God that He will do what He promised. Let us help each other to love others and to do good. Let us not stay away from church meetings. Some people are doing this all the time. Comfort each other as you see the day of His return coming near. (Hebrews 10:23-25)

Lord Jesus,

I want to be near you--

to behold you in the sanctuary,

to see your face and feel your Spirit.

I love to be surrounded in worship by those who love you.

I've tried to worship at home, but it isn't the same.

There's nothing like being in your presence 

with people who call your name and seek your blessing

and responds to your conviction with humility and urgency.

Thank you, Lord, for the church,

for your Spirit that hovers there 

and the feeling of love and unity that is present in your body.

Bring me back--bring us all back--

without fear or anxiety

and without blame, disappointment, or judgment.

Just bring us back to you.

Guard us from petty misunderstandings and disillusionment.

Let nothing disrupt the power of assembling together.

Dismantle our fears.

Convict us of laziness and apathy,

and help us push through our excuses for not going to church.

Inspire us to service and community.

May we understand the value of the church 

and the priority that you place on us being physically together.

I pray healing and protection over my church and my pastors.

Thank you for sending your Spirit into any place where we gather together in your name.

Thank you for this institution that radiates (or at least should): love, grace, harmony, and growth.

In Jesus' name,


A Confession of confusion over truth (and my excuses)

Oh, Lord, 

What is true anymore? It's hard to tell.

I can make entire worlds out of what makes me comfortable and justified,

instead of what is actually true.

What you call true.

I make excuses for taking the easiest path, for the sins I commit and the sins I explain away.

Show me where I listen to voices that speak lies.

Forgive me for my willful ignorance. You are Truth.

I look down on people for their sins while ignoring my own.

Forgive me for my pride. You are the Way.

Show me where I elevate my desires over your will and change me.

I labor to build my own kingdoms and elevate my own popularity.

Forgive me for my ambition. You are the Life.

Show me where I deviate from the life you've laid out for me.

Disrobe my deceptions and excuses.

Reveal my insecurities.

I want to lean into you--

into all of you--

all that you require of me and all that you want to forgive,

if I'll just admit what's actually true in my heart and mind.

Lay bare my defenses.

I will confess it all.

In Jesus' name, 


"Surely you desire truth in the inmost parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with the hyssop, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." (Psalm 51:6-7)

How to pray when you want to quit

Lord God,

Thank you for your patience, grace, and love for me

as I struggle through life,

making the same mistakes,

de-valuing my calling,

and giving up on what you've told me to do because it's so difficult.

Lord, I want to persevere.

I want to endure.

Build my faith and trust in you because of who you are,

not because I try harder to trust you.

You have always been faithful and good to me.

I can trust you even when life is hard.

Holy Spirit,

speak encouragement to me,

and help me listen and absorb the truth you're saying.

I will not quit because I can't predict the end of something.

I will not quit because I'm afraid to fail.

I will not quit because I'm afraid to succeed,

to hold more responsibility,

or afraid to bear the weight of your will for my life.

I will trust.

I will obey.

I will endure and sow faith into my life.

You will show yourself faithful in return, 

just as you always have.

I love you.

In Jesus' powerful name,


Galatians 6:8-10

Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Check out "4 steps to becoming resilient"

Lament and confession over gun violence

Oh. Lord,

There's been another mass shooting.

I can't imagine how your heart hurts to see your creation turn on itself.

End the violence in our country.

I intercede, Lord, for the victims and the victimizers that live in this country

and call themselves Americans.

I am sick of the violence,

shamed by it,

grieved by it,

astonished by the normalization of mass shootings.

We have blood on our hands.

We may not have personally committed these atrocities,

but many times we have shaken our heads,

cast judgment,

and gone about our day anyway.

Lord, show each of us how we can help change this problem.

Massage our hearts toward compassion, justice, and care.

Give us discernment about the gun-violence problem,

the sin-problem,

and the mental-health problem

that must be addressed and corrected.

We are a country--and a world--filled with desperate people 

who cannot find a way to solve their own heart and mind issues

except to lash out against one another.

We gossip,

we malign,

we injure,

we marginalize,

we kill.

Lord, forgive us for our selfishness 

and disregard for human life.

I pray for us--your children--to rise up and address the issues in love,

to model compassion and justice,

to provide comfort and understanding,

and to bring healing in the name of Jesus.

Let us not leave it to the lawmakers alone.

Let the church stand in the gap.

I pray this in Jesus' powerful name,


Other prayers about violence:

A lament about violence

Prayer over the synagogue shooting

Lament about Oregon shooting

Prayer for law enforcement

Confession of racism in the U.S. and a prayer for Arbery's justice

Lament for a homicide: when a child kills a child

An American prayer: lament and confession

Forgive us, for we have sinned: a unilateral confession of racism

Teach us to love like you

Prayer for Charlottesville

How to pray for revenge (I mean vengeance and justice)

Fall on my city to bring peace and justice

A prayer for justice and vengeance

Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure— you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts. (Psalm 7:9)

I messed up again

Dear Lord,

I messed up again.

I let someone's words and attitude anger me,

make me defensive,

and feel upset.

I didn't lose my temper or act rudely--

but I wasn't gracious, either.

said things that were unnecessary--and who's to say that I wasn't offensive?

I wasn't kind.

I didn't put myself in their shoes.

I didn't empathize.

I didn't ask questions.

I just challenged, argued my point, and decided to view them as 



or at best, difficult.

But I was all those things.

I see that now, and I regret it.

Sin is so subtle and tricky--

it seeps in through insecurity and pain 

and defends my right to feel offended by another person's words or actions.

Sin makes me guard myself and defend myself even when I'm not in danger.

It makes me feel misunderstood, alone, abandoned, and discouraged.

Probably like this person felt.

Being wounded in the past makes me feel wounded all the time.

That's why I need you.

Lord, heal my wounds.

Humble my heart.

confess my sin to you.

Change my perspective.

Alter my attitude.

I repent for my own thoughts, feelings, and words.

Remember that I am dust--

but form that dust into your image.

Somehow, I bear your likeness

even when I'm not being much like you.

Please forgive me for being selfish and defensive.

pray against this stronghold in my life--

the excuses I make to see things from one perspective and judge others who disagree.

Close up my wounds and help me live in your strength regardless of the pain I carry.

Because other people are carrying pain, too,

and I must be mindful and careful with them.

Lord, I don't want to interfere with your Spirit,


want more of it.

Fill me and use me.

Thank you for your forgiveness and grace in my life.

Continue to fashion this dusty soul into the image of your Son.

In Jesus' name,


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

I said, "I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence. But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased. My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue... But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me scorn like one of he fools." (Psalm 39: 1-3, 7-8)

 A prayer of hope and purpose for the New Year

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.

Help me fix my mind on eternal, rather than earthly things.

This world is passing away,

but your love and the hope of heaven remain secure.

My citizenship is with you.

Thank you for this year, however difficult it was.

You were present, and you were working.

I love you.

In Jesus' name, 


A prayer about my money

Dear Lord,

You own all my money, but you know how sometimes I get attached to it.

I have plans for it, and there never seems to be enough of it.

But, oh, how amazing it is to watch you multiply it when I let go.

I don't have any excess, so how much do you want?

All of it? How is that possible?

You're showing me already where it belongs.
You've written someone on my heart.
You've sketched a place in my mind's eye that needs your touch.


Giving hurts. I feel nervous to let it go.
I feel afraid to participate.

What if I've misheard you?
Really, Lord? All of it?

Let me work, you say.

Okay, I will. I love you. I trust you.
Everything is yours, anyway.

Thank you for using me.
Thank you for growing me.


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

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,

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. (Exodus 20:9 )

Confession of disunity

Lord, God of heaven and earth,
How your heart must grieve over the dissension and hate in the world!

You want unity here on earth, 
among your children,
so the world will know that you are a God of love.
Instead, we manifest selfishness, dissent, criticism, and hatred.

Create unity in me.

I confess my prejudice toward others who don't think like I think.
I confess my jealousy and resentment toward others who have more than me.
I confess my anger toward others who behave differently than I think they should.
I confess my excuses and my blame-shifting of my perspectives and beliefs
because I think other people are worse than me.

That creates disunity.
I want your Spirit to reign in my life,
causing love and unity toward all people,
regardless of politics, religion, race, economics, or anything else.

Create unity in our church.

I confess our selfishness because we care more about what church gives us
than we do about giving ourselves to mission.
I confess our petty bickering about politics,
because we care more about the kingdom of men than the kingdom of God.
I confess our vanity because we care more about appearances, success, and vibe
than we do about worshiping you.
I confess our arrogance toward our leaders because we care more about being in charge than we do about supporting the leaders God's already put in charge.

Create unity in our country.

I confess our history of prejudice and racism.
I confess our obsession with the American dream.
I confess our distortion of freedom and religion.
I confess our worship of public officials, monuments, celebrities, and the wealthy.
I confess our disregard for the dignity of human life--for our abortions, our death sentences, our slums, our prisons, our neglect of the elderly, the poor, and the sick.
I confess our failure to model the love of Jesus and raise up generations that seek you above all else.

Create in me a clean heart, O God. May we reflect the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In Jesus' name, 

"I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."--John 17:23

"And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity".--Colossians 3:14

"Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ."--1 Corinthians 12:12

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."--Ephesians 4:1-3

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed."--Ephesians 4:11-19

Forgive us, for we have sinned: A unilateral confession of racism

Oh Lord, the God of all peoples--

You tell us to confess our sins,
the sins of our country,
to one another
and for one another.

If we are truly righteous, we will take ownership of the sins of our land.

We have sinned for generations.
We have been arrogant, violent, heartless, and ignorant--for generations upon generations.

And now, our hatred and violence surprises us and devastates us.
Let our confession prompt your forgiveness.
Let forgiveness motivate us to make restitution to those we've sinned against.

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." (James 5:17)

We have worshipped our own success,
our own privilege,
our own destiny,
for generations,
to the peril of others.
We are reaping the legacy of that self-absorption and ignorance,
let alone the hatred and violence that preceded it.

"I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments." (Exodus 20:5-6)

And yet, you are a God of a thousand chances
and a thousand blessings.
You wipe away our sins as far as the East is from the West.
You will answer us, if we will humble ourselves and confess our sins.

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Oh, Lord, forgive us for racism.
We weep in grief and shame over the deeds of our country,
of its leaders, its laws, and its citizens.

Forgive us for our mass incarceration.
Forgive us for our systems that facilitate poverty and class.
Forgive us for our ignorance and pride.
Forgive us for elevating the rich and demonizing the poor.
Forgive us for enslaving the weak and empowering the strong.
Forgive us for protecting traditions and avoiding change.
Forgive us for not having the right conversations and the right time,
even though its scary and divisive.

We repent.

Now change us.
Heal us.
Mobilize us.
Help us love like you and live like you, Jesus.

In your name,

I'm never going back--a prayer of determination

We all struggle to follow God consistently. We all return to our nasty habits and warped way of thinking. Keep struggling--keep fighting for truth to become the loudest voice in your head.

Read the prayer below of confession and dedication. Click on the 8 prayers embedded in this one to find more encouragement to help you make the continual decision to follow God and reject your selfish nature. There is victory in Jesus! We have to stop making excuses about why we don't follow God completely or why we revise what he tells us to do (so that it fits with our lifestyle). Joy and contentment are found only in a pure relationship with God.


It's me again.
I'm struggling.

You see me every time I go back to the things I've left behind,
when I give in to my sinful habits,
my selfish thinking,
my comfortable natural inclinations
my all-out rebellion.

I don't want to keep going back to that life,
that endless pursuit of happiness
that never feels satisfied.
I want to be freed from the prison that I have built for myself.

Why do I think those things will fill me up
when you alone can fill me?
You created a God-sized hold inside of me.
No person can fill it.
No career can fill it.
No things can fill it.
No persona can fill it.

How can I know this and still believe it's not true?
How do I turn my life around?

I don't ever want to go back to that way of thinking or acting.
There's nothing but destruction there.
Collateral damage on those who love me,
continuing pain and anguish for my descendants,
and absolute obliteration of my self-image.

When I pursue the praise and acceptance of this world,
I mar the image of God.
I forfeit the way you created me and the life you designed for me.
I give up my true self,
the self who was created to live in harmony and complete joy with you.

I'm never going back.
I will pursue you, even when it costs me.
I will obey you, even when it's unpopular and frightening.
I will follow your Words alone;
I will not allow the world's philosophies to corrupt or dilute your loving laws.
I will invite the Holy Spirit into my life every day to guide me in this pursuit.
I will listen for your voice.
I will surround myself with people who will correct and encourage me,
whose lives reflect you and bear the fruit of right living.
I will follow the wisdom of those older than me whom I respect and emulate.
I'm never going back.

Back is destruction and desolation.
Back is the enemy of my soul.
Back is loneliness and despair.

Help me, Lord.
Cut away the sin.
I've said this before,
and I've meant it every time.
Help me put in place accountability
as well as intentional pursuit of you.
Fellowship with the body of Christ,
service through the church,
personal quiet time with you,
continual prayer and worship,
and a total rejection of self.

I fall at your feet and worship you.
confess my sin and self-worship.
In Jesus' name,

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:57-62)

Confession of racism in the U.S. & a prayer for Arbery's justice

Maybe you ran 2.23 miles Friday in honor of runner Ahmaud Arbery, who was chased down and shot to death by Gregory and Travis McMichael on Feb. 23, 2020. Arbery would have been 26 Saturday, May 8.

Four months after the shooting, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has decided to arrest the son and father vigilantes. But will Georgia justly prosecute this multi-level travesty of racism, racial profiling, aggravated assault, and murder?

As believers, we can and should pray for at least two things regarding this tragic situation:
1. confession of the racism in our country
2. requesting justice for the Arbery family and other non-white citizens who undergo similar persecution in "the land of the free"

Why should we confess something if we had nothing to do with it?
Answer: the same reason that Moses confessed the sins of Israel, even though he didn't commit them. Moses prayed to stop God's heavy hand of judgment, which was poised to annihilate the Israelites. Moses' faithfulness and intercession kept his people alive.

What a great reason for all of us to pray for our country!
What a great reason for moms to pray for their children!

Here's a prayer for the Arbery's family and all of us:

Lord God,

You are justice, and yet you're grace.
You are love and judgment.

I pray for your comfort and peace to fall on Ahmaud Arbery's family.
Surround his mother today with inexplainable peace and nearness.

I pray for the mothers of the world and America in particular--
to raise your children to love and respect others.
Let us raise a generation of peace-makers.

Lord, I pray for justice for all,
but especially for people of color,
for the poor,
and for the marginalized.
I pray for a shift in thinking--
for a rooting out of the detestable and insidious DNA of supremacy, privilege, and power.
May the change begin with us, those who haven't committed crimes,
who don't hurt others--
may we stand in the gap for those who cannot fight themselves
or who cannot win without our help.

Forgive us for our selfishness and self-satisfaction.
Forgive us for not caring more.
May we do more than hashtag our support.
Help us to be courageous--
to stand in the gap and advocate for those who are misunderstood and overlooked.

Pour out your holy vengeance on those who claim to be Christian but act like the devil.
Pour out your judgment on those who hurt, oppress, and kill your children.
Make your presence known in this country.
Restore to your good name the reputation you deserve--
one of grace, love, justice, and forgiveness.

Do what you do.
I give myself to you.
I will not stand in the path of love and justice.
Righteousness is who you are.
It's who I want to be every day.

In Jesus' powerful name,

Before you ask God for something, pray this...

I was just about to pray and ask God for some important and noble things (things I can do for God), and it occurred to me that my motives might be selfish, that perhaps my heart isn't quite right. I thought about my locked doors, the little places I'd rather ignore than open.

So I didn't pray that prayer.

Here's why:

"When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your own pleasures."--James 4:3

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."--Psalm 51:10

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and will purify is from all unrighteousness."--1 John 1:9

"He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy."--Proverbs 28:13

Here's what I did pray:

Lord, God,

I can't ask you for anything right now,
not even direction,
not for your will,
not for your blessing.
I know your will:
it's to be in relationship with me.
Lord, I want my life to glorify you.
I want you to cleanse me
and root out all the selfishness and self-glorification.
Change me.
(I know that will be uncomfortable,
even painful.)
But change me.
I'm no good like I am.
I'm a mess.
I need you.
And so,
I will wait for you to reveal what needs to change inside me.
I will let you poke me
and pry open those doors that hide the things I'd rather not face.
I will let you dig
and root out the evil I call by other names.
Change me.
Make me more like you today.
In Jesus' powerful name,

Let's pray this prayer. Let's let God change us first, before we ask him to change something far less significant. (click here)

When you keep doing the same sin

Have you noticed that you struggle with the same bad habits,
over and over?
Maybe it's your temper, your insecurity, your selfishness, or your critical tongue.
Deep down, you know they're not even habits.
They're sins.

This happens to me.
I make this happen, by my own choices.

Every time I try to pray,
I feel this weight.
At first, I can't tell why I feel this way
or why my prayers seems to bounce right back.
Then I realize I'm sinning again.
I'm doing the same things I always do when my soul isn't full of righteousness.

Of course, I want to confess it and stop doing it.
But I feel ashamed that I'm about to pray the same prayer again,
confess the same sin,
and enter the same battle.

I have a decision to make:
I can humble myself and confess my sin,
and start working to change,


I can give up.
I can say "This is me.
This is just the way I am."
I can pretend that change isn't possible,
even though I know it is.
I can assume that God is tired of hearing me tell him I'm sorry
and I don't want to be like this.
I can just keep doing the same thing because it's too hard to make the corrections.

I experience this choice a lot.
Maybe you do, too.

Today, I choose to humble myself.

Lord God,
Please forgive me for _________________.
I know you love me and you'll always hear a humble heart,
so I'm humbling myself right now
and saying I can't move on without you.
I need your power.
Forgive me.
Change me.
Renew me.
I'll change direction.
I'll put _____________ off (Eph. 4:22-31)
and put on the opposite.
I'll rely on your Spirit for my strength instead of my own will-power.
I will try to be more like Jesus, through internal change (Rom. 12:1-2),
by renewing my mind and pursuing you.
In Jesus' holy name,

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)

Forgive me for not trusting you

Dear Lord,
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Please forgive me.
I'm having control issues.
(You already know this.)

They come from trust issues.
(You know that, too.)

I believe that I trust you.
But then I find myself stressing
and worrying
and wondering
how you're going to make everything work,
as if that's in question.

You know how I secretly pray for trust--
I pray for trust,
and I wait to praise you after you make everything all right.
That's not faith.
It's not trust.

Oh, Lord,
I need your strength.
I am too weak,
too self-absorbed,
too afraid.
I want to trust you completely.

confess my faithlessness to you.
You are the answer.
I know that.
You know my past, present, and future.
You aren't upset with me,
disappointed with me,
or frustrated with me.
You're not worried about what I will do
or not do,
what I believe or don't believe.

You know that I am dust,
and yet I'm also a masterpiece,
according to you.

I don't understand it.
Or you.
But I trust you.
I really want to trust you.
Even when I don't,
I trust you.
Help me trust you.
Show yourself powerful in my life.

It's all you.
You are amazing.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
You might want to check these confessions out, too:

Forgive me for feeling sorry for myself

Lord Jesus,

Please forgive me for feeling sorry for myself.

You are great.

You are powerful.

You are enough.

Thank you for your grace and mercy towards me.

And help me to love difficult people

and remember that I am also one of them.

In Jesus' name, 


"And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)

Forgiveness for my enemies


Help me to give grace,

to be patient,

to be forgiving,

to be full of mercy and understanding.

I do not want to be entitled,



or defeated.

I want to be like you.

But that's incredibly difficult.


Please help me love even those who hurt me.

In Jesus' name,


“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Lord, I'm thirsty for You


I'm so thirsty.

I need more of You.

I know that's my problem.

I'm thirsty for You.

Instead, I tell myself that one drink--one verse,

one prayer--

adds enough to my day's experience.

It's enough for a thirsty soul.

Instead of drinking deeply,

I ask You for quick fixes--

instant success,






from everything and everyone around me,

including You.

That's the water I think I need.

(Click here to listen to the powerful worship son "Living Water" by Gateway.)

Yet I'm deeply parched.
Instead of drinking deeply from the well of Living Water (You),
I pray little prayers instead:

Help me get through the day.
Show me what to do.
Take away this anxiety.
Protect my family.
Solve this problem.
Meet my needs.

Those are little requests--
little drinks of water that will never parch my thirst for You.
They will not sustain or fill me.
They will not give me Living Water.
I will have to come back again and again, wanting more
but never finding it,
until I give up
and say "God doesn't answer prayers" or
"Christianity doesn't work."

Quench me, Jesus.
Fill me up.
I empty myself to You
and ask for everything You want to give me,
even those things I'm afraid of.

I want to drink deeply until I can drink no more.
(Click here to hear the old-time gospel song "Fill my cup, Lord.")


"Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him 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)

Forgive my friend

Lord Jesus,

Forgive my friend for being rude,
for hurting others,
for hurting herself/himself,
for hurting me.

Show them your power
and envelope them with a desire to worship you with every tiny aspect of their life.

I confess their sins for them,
knowing that you will extend grace, conviction, and restitution.
It's who you are.

Make me an instrument of grace and forgiveness
when someone wrongs me.
Make me a mouthpiece of grace and forgiveness
when I see injustice and it makes me mad.
Make me a encourager
when I can comfort someone who's been hurt.
Make me an advocate
when I can fix something that's wrong.

Make me like you.

Click here to pray "Confessing Someone Else's Sin"
Click here to read about how Job prayed for his friends who hurt him.

You can have all of me


You can have all of me.
I surrender.
It belongs to you, anyway,
I don't know why I keep pulling this all back on me.
You want to carry it for me.
So you can have me back again.
I love you.
For more prayers about this, click below:

My self-image,
my dreams,
my family,
my career,
my pain,
my fear,
my plans, 
my secret places.

All of it.
I give it to you.

because I belong to you.

It weighs me down,
clouds my thinking,
discourages and scares me.
I am weary from the burden of it.

You want to carry me.

Again and again
and every time I forget and pull this all on myself.
Again and again.

I trust you.

I need you.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”--Matthew 11:28-30

It's not about me

Oh, Lord,

This life is not about me.

My pain is not about me.
My relationships are not about me.
My purpose is not about me.
My success is not about me.
My plans are not about me.

Or at least, they shouldn't be.

It's all about you
working through me,
changing me,
changing the world.

What an enormous task you've begun!
I wonder why you use me at all.

So when I sin--
when I misrepresent you--
when I disappoint myself--
when I hurt others--
when I give up--
when I hide--
when I don't believe--
it's all about me.

Life is hard.
Wisdom is difficult.
I only have my own perspective.
But I need yours.

Sometimes your heart is hard to see
because I can only see mine.
I must lean into you,
dig deeper,
remove my blinders,
open my soul to listen.

You alone.
Forgive me for listening to the voices around me
instead of yours.


Confessing my country's sins

Lord of heaven and earth,

You know what's going on in my country.
You know our sins are enormous.

We exploit the naive, the weak, the old, the poor, and the traumatized.
We kill babies, no matter what their size.
We decide who has a chance to live and what life should look like.
We devalue human identity and created purpose, confusing our children and adults about who they are and how you created them.
We ignore the handicapped unless they do something amazing that fully-functioning people don't do.
We execute criminals, whether they've had a fair trial or not, and we say "Good riddance."
We waste our natural resources.
We mass-murder our own countrymen and look for someone to blame for it.
We desecrate our healthy bodies through dangerous lifestyles, immorality, substance abuse, and food addictions. We call it our personal right to do so.
We waste our time. Oh, such a valuable commodity. We act as if it will never run out.

We visit churches and read articles and buy books
by people who tell us we deserve a better life and we're special people, instead of reminding us that God has designed us to suffer for the gospel.
We bestow friendship and support on the demographics who look like us, act like us, and make us feel comfortable; and we ignore everyone else.
We pit the sexes, generations, and races against one another by confusing equality with similarity.
We give second, third, and fourth chances to the rich and famous when their sins are great--we even publish their memoirs and celebrate their mini-victories before they fall again into the same patterns. But--
We punish the poor and marginalized and tell them they've had enough time to get their act together.
We change our theology whenever something we're doing doesn't line up with your commands. If necessary, we change churches or stop going altogether. We avoid guilt at all costs.
We read secular philosophies and gravitate toward a perspective that exalts mankind and minimizes obedience and worship of God.

Please forgive us.
confess my country's sins to you. I live here. I am a part of what's wrong whenever I don't stand for what's right.
Grant us your mercy and grace.
We don't deserve your love or favor, but we desperately need it.
Fall on us, Holy Spirit. Let us be the light to the who don't know you.
Help us light their way instead of pushing them into deeper darkness.

Convict me of my own sin--
of my inclination towards self-righteousness and condemnation of others.
Convict me to live boldly for good instead of boldly criticizing people who do evil.
Or excusing myself when I do evil.
Heal our land.
In Jesus' name,

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from theirwicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive theirsin and will heal their land."--2 Chronicles 7:14

I really messed up this week: a prayer of awareness and repentance

Well, Lord,

I messed up this week.
I got upset about an injustice that was done to one of my kids--
which of course, felt like an injustice to me--
and I went all Mama-Bear on some well-intentioned people
who, however unintentional their behavior was, hurt my child.

So I messed up right back at them.
I was nice about it,
but I hurt them with my well-crafted phrases.
I feel terribly convicted,
even though what I said and how I said it may not have been so terrible.

I don't know anymore.
I just know I didn't leave this at your feet.
I didn't turn the other cheek.
(It's my kid, after all!)--
but I guess you know about that better than I do
I took the bait.
I was less than Jesus about the whole thing.
I lacked grace and wisdom.

Please forgive me for not representing you well.
I've reached out to those I've offended--
I've affirmed them and explained myself--
but I guess I need to boldly ask their forgiveness,
with more groveling and more humility.

Maybe this whole debacle was about me modeling
repentance to people who don't know you like I do.
I'm asking for wisdom now.
How do I represent you well,
even while I uphold justice for my child?

I guess you know a lot about this.
Not sure why I didn't consult you to begin with.
I did pray about it.
And slept on it.
But still angry, I moved into action.
I figured one night was enough for you to change my mind.

Yep, that's how we spiritual humans wait on God.
We don't really wait all that well.

I'm sorry. I love you, and I will attempt to learn from this.
Don't know why you love me, except that you're God
and you do so many remarkable, unexplainable acts of love.
Thank you for forgiving me.
Thank you for a million chances to behave like Jesus.
Thank you for a million expressions of grace.


A Prayer of Focus: Turn Your Eyes On Jesus

Lord Jesus,
Clear away all the darkness from my mind,
all the petty jealousies and regrets,
the self-doubt and self-loathing
(aka. the pride),
the insecurity and fear,
the ambition and greed,
the self-absorption and self-promotion.

Holy Spirit,
Help me focus on Jesus only.
His love.
His sacrifice.
His calling.
Only He matters.


Read these beautiful words from the old hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" by Helen Howarth Lemmel and/or listen to Lauren Daigle sing the song on her album Look Up Child. (2018)

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
and the things of this earth will grow strangely dime
in the light of His glory and grace."

Show me where I'm holding back your story

Dear Lord,

You are writing a story with my life.
I know that, but I often forget that my story is actually a tool to tell your story.

You're writing your story on my life
so people who don't know you will
see what love looks like through me.

I'm blowing this.
How much am I confusing the telling of your story?
Are the pages of my life so focused on me
and what will happen to me
and what has happened to me
that your message is blurred?

Lord, show me where I'm interrupting the story you want to write on me.

I know you've called me.
I've hard the sermons and read the Bible verses about calling and surrender.
It's just that sometimes,
I don't know what you're calling me to.
I see what I can do and what I want to do,
but I don't understand what's taking you so long to use me for something significant.

This is idolatry, and I confess it to you.
This is greed, fear, and selfishness.
This is me thinking that your gifts are for my success
instead of your glory.

Lord, remind me daily--hourly--that everything in my life is about telling your story.
About living your story.

I don't want to put parameters around the story you want to tell through me.
I don't want to hold back my most hurtful memories
or my most precious gifts
because my faith is weak concerning what you will do with them.

Lord, show me where I'm holding you back from writing the story you want to write on me.
I give everything in my life to you to use however you choose.
Just give me the grace and courage to keep giving everything to you,
especially when life is hard (which is a lot of the time),
so you can write my story the way you want to.

I desire to be a blank page in your book full of beauty, power, and legacy.
All of which points back to you.

Thank you.

Confession and Intercession over the value of human life

Dear Father Creator,

How grieved you must be over the callous attitude your creation has toward life!
I know you're not surprised because this has been reality since the beginning of time--
since Cain murdered his brother.

And parents have murdered children,
children have murdered parents,
people have waged war
and claimed to do it in your name and for your honor.

How we misrepresent you and your love for the whole world!
For each individual person,
no matter how helpless,
how disfigured,
how evil,
and how innocent.

They belong to you.
We are only custodians of your creation.
Of turtles, whales, eagles, leopards, water, earth, energy--
but especially of human life.

How can culture get this so mixed up?

I pray for your grace, patience, and conviction.
I ask for your forgiveness on behalf of those who kill innocent lives
and discount the lives of the elderly and handicapped.
I pray for your Spirit to permeate our world
and bring reason and value to every human life.
Especially our churches.

Make us a people of love, grace, and urgency.
Keep us from judgment, hate, and retribution.
Lord, I'm so embarrassed and grieved at the way Christians treat the world
because they don't believe in you or value your commands.
Of course they don't!
They are blind.

Give sight to the blind and freedom to the captive, both in mind, spirit, and body.
Use our legislature and our churches.
Change our parents and our families.

We are the light.
Help us shine brightly in a dark world!

In Jesus' name,

Praying forgiveness on believers who cause trouble in the church

Lord Jesus,

I'm asking your forgiveness and grace on some fellow-believers.
They're mean and nasty,
and they don't love the body Christ.
They're always stirring up trouble,
berating believers, gossiping about fellow- Christians,
and spewing venom against the church
and what it doesn't do for them.

They are incredibly selfish, immature, and divisive.

I know you'll judge these people.
You hate this kind of behavior, more than you hate anything.
I know they will feel the effects of their attitudes in their own families.
Perhaps their children will reject You and the church because of their example.
Perhaps they will lose friends and lose community.

I don't wish these natural consequences on them,
although I know the course of rebellion can't be stopped
apart from repentance and your incredible grace.

Give me the grace to forgive them,
(even when their hate isn't directly against me)--
help me to not hold grudges and made assumptions about them.
Lavish your lovingkindness on them.
I pray for the Holy Spirit to speak truth and correction into their lives.

Please redeem the bitterness and anger in these families.
I ask forgiveness for them.
Send them people who will show your love and encouragement.

But most of all, lavish your love and grace on the body of Christ,
and make us resilient and long-suffering.

These are miracles only you can do.


A Prayer about getting involved

Dear Lord Jesus, the God who saves us--

I'm so thrilled to be a part of your mission on earth.
I sit in awe at how you love every single person,
how you desire hope and purpose for them,
how you call each person to yourself.

Some don't hear you calling.
They have too much pain
or too many sorrows.
Many are fighting to survive,
and some are just fighting.

I can help with that,
if I care enough to get involved.

I can sponsor a child,
I can feed the hungry,
I can welcome the stranger,
I can befriend the lonely,
I can visit a prisoner,
I can provide for the needy,
I can advocate for the weak,
I can comfort the brokenhearted,
I can provide healing for the sick,
I can rescue the enslaved.

But only if I'm willing.

I can't pray and ask you if I should get involved
because you've already told me to do it.
Now it's strictly a matter of obedience.

I must get involved.
Give me courage and selflessness.
I will take the next step.
I will answer the need right in front of me,
the need, perhaps, that I have been overlooking.

You've been calling me to mission all along.
I must involve myself in your work.
Forgive me for not seeing the needs everywhere.

I love you.
In Jesus' name,

Matthew 25:35-45

A Confession of injustice

Dear Lord God,

You forgive us when we confess our sins,
and you give grace when we confess the sins of our ancestors--
of our family and our city and our country.

So I confess the great wickedness of our nation
at oppressing the poor,
marginalizing women, minorities, the elderly, and the ill,
enslaving the African-Americans,
red-lining poor communities,
indenturing and imprisoning the uneducated and underprivileged.

I confess our systemic white privilege,
even as I want to believe I am not a benefactor of it.
I confess our sins of racism and segregation,
even as I say that I have not overtly participated in any of it.
It is our heritage, and we are wrong to minimize its legacy.

I confess the church's sins of politicizing moral issues,
of drawing party lines through issues of compassion, grace, and mercy--
of using topics of mass incarceration, death penalty, immigration, life, and welfare
to divide party lines and provide ease and security for the privileged.
I confess these sins on behalf of the countless Christians who claim your name but do not behave like you did.

We do not touch the diseased,
help the prostitute,
protect the children,
shelter the foreigner,
or befriend the poor.

You condemned the religious rule-followers.
You called them serpents, dirty dishes, tombs.
You hated their sacrifices and their charitable donations and their prayers.
They made you angry.

We are them.
Oh, too often, we are them.
How angry do we make you
when we cry, "Lock him up!"
"Kill them all!"
"Take her children away!"

We do your name such injustice
when we prevent your creation from experiencing justice.

I confess it all.
I bear the blame.
May we all bear it,
and then, may we change.

Change us, oh God!
It's what you do best.
Instead of praying "Change them," change us!
and it's how the world will see that you are a God of love and justice.


"Oh, Lord, we acknowledge our wickedness and the guilt of our fathers; we have indeed sinned against you. For the sake of your name, do not despise us; do not dishonor your glorious throne. Remember the covenant with us and do not break it. Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? Therefore, our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this." (Jeremiah 14:20-22)

I'm sorry I've been away


I'm sorry I've been away for awhile.
I let my daily routines consume my time.
I let my mind fill up with lists and stresses.
I really just needed more of you.

Help me to seek you first and your righteousness.
You will take care of the rest.
Change my devotional time to reflect new priorities.

I long for your presence and for your Spirit.
Come to me, indwell me, change me.

I'm yours.

What are my idols?

Dear God Almighty,

I want to sit in your presence and hear you speak to me.
But perhaps I'm worshipping something else,
something about me and for me,
instead of listening for your will
or obeying what I already know I should be doing.

I do desire clean hands,
a pure heart,
and a soul that's not idolatrous.

The truth is, worship of you only is hard.
I naturally drift toward self-centeredness.
Show me where I go wrong,
where I steer away from loving you completely.

What are my idols?
Are they people I love?

Cleanse me of these desires
and give me a pure heart
that seeks only You.

You are my One and Only,
my Alpha and Omega.
my Beginning and End.
You alone.

And thank you for your patience with me.

In Jesus' name,

Psalm 24:3-4

When you hate someone

Have you ever felt disdain for someone? Hatred, even? Guilt that you should forgive an enemy, but you don't know how?
Maybe this will help.

Dear Lord,

You know my heart, so I can't pretend I don't feel this way.
I'm angry.
My pride is hurt.
I feel manipulated, or betrayed, or used
by someone.
I don't like that person at all.
I don't want to say "I hate,"
but I wonder if it's true.
Am I a person who could hate someone?

I just don't trust him.
I just can't forgive her.
I just don't want to be with him.
We're just not friends.

These are the things I tell myself,
but you know they aren't true.
I hate.
I withhold forgiveness.
It makes me feel powerful,
or at least that's what I think.

It's not true.
It's a trap.
There's no freedom in hate and unforgiveness.

Seventy times seven.
That's what you said.
You forgave me,
so I need to forgive everyone else.
No one has sinned against me
like I have sinned against you.

Change my heart
and help me to love others like you love me.
It's hard to believe, but
you love us all the same.

Lord, forgive me, please.
I confess my sin.
Cleanse me of it.
Give me your love
and help me to see people the way you see them.
Show me something today about this person--
some hurt, some fear she has.
Show me his humanity--
the things that make us so similar.
Help that realization to humble me,
instead of it making me proud, judgmental, and defensive.

I worship you in all of my unworthiness.
I'm amazed that you love me at all.

In Jesus' name,

Confession from a Control Freak

Lord of Lords,

I want you to be present in my life.
I even want you to be in control--
so why do I chafe against life's constraints, against unwanted circumstances?
Why do I grumble about the time it takes for you to work in my life?
Why do I say I want your will, even while I plan and control my own destiny?

I worry about what will happen and what hasn't happened.
Although  I don't blame you audibly,
I find myself annoyed with my life
and avoiding my quiet time with you.
Because I've distanced myself from you.
My life is a testament to how and if and when I let you work.
My attitude reveals my heart.

I respect the beauty of your power, but not the impact of it.
It's like controlling the ocean, the surf, and the shoreline and thinking that would make the ocean better.
In essence, that would ruin the majesty of creation.

Lord, help me be willing to give you my whole heart.
Convict me when I don't.

Please forgive me. I want you to have all of me.


My Confession to you

I read James 5:16 today. I think I should follow its commands.
It's a good, albeit humbling, cleansing method.

"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." 

I am proud: I care what people think and want them to respect and like me.
I want to think I'm better than other people at the things I value.
I am petty: I worry and obsess over things that don't really matter in life.
I am unforgiving: I like harboring secret resentment toward people who have wronged me. I cover it up by being nice to them, but deep down, I know I don't want them to prosper.
I am selfish: I think of my own needs and desires first. Even when I serve people, I am often aware of what I'm "giving up." This is still being self-oriented.
I am forgetful: I focus on the present, to the detriment of the past and all You've already done for me.
I am faithless: I believe that God has great purpose for my life, but when I worry and freak out over the time and effort it takes to obey Him, I reveal how faithless I actually am.

I do not want to be this person. In my Spirit-filled moments, I am. But the rest of the time, I am fighting it. My spirit and my soul are at war.

Heal me, O Lord Jehovah, Rapha and Redeemer!
Only you can take someone as sinful as me
and make me into someone like You.
It's unimaginable, but I believe it's true.
Remind me of Your grace and love.
Pour out Your power on me
so that Your power can course through me 
and pour out on someone else.
You are that amazing! I worship You and adore You!

Confessing someone else's sins

Lord God, the Holy One--

You are gracious and full of awesome power and purity.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.

I come today on behalf of someone else.
I want to pray for ________'s repentance,
so first I must ask you to forgive me of my wrong-doing and selfishness.
Convict and remove all the little pet sins I shelter in my life,
the things I say aren't a big deal.
Root them out.
I'll brace myself.
I know it will hurt a little to be honest with myself and change my will and behavior.
But when I do, I will have peace.

Forgive me, please.

So now I ask you to forgive __________. I confess on his/her behalf.
Forgive him/her for rebellion, selfishness, pride, and ignorance of Your laws and Your expectations.
Moses confessed for Israel, and even though they rarely repented,
You had compassion on them,
for Moses' sake.
You showed grace and mercy and lovingkindness.
Because someone cared enough to ask You for it.

Show Your lovingkindness to __________.
Put a wall of protection around _________,
not to keep him/her from consequences--
because sin always has consequences--
but to keep __________ from total devastation.
Insert someone into his/her path,
someone to speak truth,
to represent Your love authentically,
to dislodge the lies, the myths, and the willful rejection of Your plan for his/her life.

I confess it all and beg Your mercy and grace for _________.
Draw him/her to Yourself.
You are the only thing that satisfies.
You, the Holy One.

"In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.” The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked."

Ezra 9:15-10:1
Num. 14:17-21

image by Barbara Jackson

Confessions of a critical tongue

Oh, Lord,

I did it again. I'm nit-picking and criticizing. I just can't stop myself. Or at least, I choose not to. I stand in front of people I love and I say unhelpful things with a big megaphone when I should just be listening.

Help me to choose edifying speech. I want to give encouragement to my kids and husband, to speak lovely things about extended family and friends, to notice the good in church, school, and community organizations. I want to be a blessing to others.

Lord, root out this spirit of criticism. I confess it. I know it comes from pride, and I confess it and pray against it in Jesus' name. Help me to learn your humility and your gentleness. Even when I see the wrong in something--even when I should take action against it or call it out--give me the grace to fight sin with mercy and understanding, to love sinners while hating sin. To give the Holy Spirit time to work in his own way and not according to my impatience.

Why is this so hard? I am such a sinner and a hypocrite. Please forgive me of my sinful arrogance and selfishness. I need you. Let my critical tongue remind me that I need you and only you to change me into your likeness. Help me to pause and pray every time I think a negative thought--I want to give the Holy Spirit time to stop me from speaking. I want time to remember your many blessings in my life, to erase my Pharisaical, entitled attitude and give me the attitude of Christ.

If I can learn that--then all my speech and all my actions would only bring you glory and bless others. May I long for that enough to change!

In Jesus' name,

"Your attitude would be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who being in very nature God, did not consider quality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:5-8)

image by George Hodan

A prayer against shame

Dear Holy God,

You feel the ache I'm feeling.
You know the weight and sorrow of sin,
even another person's sin,
especially when it affects me.
Shame rolls in like a tidal wave,
wave after wave,
hitting the shores of my soul.

I want to cower and cover up
my sins and the sins of the people I love.

I chafe under conviction
(the very thing that seeks to release me)--
while I protect my shame
(the very thing that keeps me in bondage).

Oh, Father, give me the courage to welcome conviction for my sin
and the tenacity to fight the shame.
Your Spirit convicts,
but Your enemy shames,
because he knows that shame will make me hide in the shadows,
hide from the body of Christ,
and hide from You.

Lord, make us freedom-seekers!
Give us the desire to live freely in Your convicting presence,
in the holy of holies, where our souls are laid bare before You.
Help us confess our faults to one another
and pray for one another
so that we will be healed!
There is no limit to the power that will be unleashed when
righteous, shameless freedom-seekers seek the face of God and pray!


"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (James 5:16)

(meme made in WordSwag)

10 Reasons You Should Fast and Pray

Here are 10 reasons you should fast and pray:

1. Jesus fasted (Mtt. 4:2).
2. Fasting accompanies fervent prayer (Ezra 8:23, Dan. 9:2-4)
3. The early church fasted before making decisions (Acts 13:1-2).
4. Jesus taught his disciples how to fast (Mtt. 6:16-18).
5. Jesus said his disciples would fast in his absence (Mk. 2:18-20).
6. Fasting accompanies worship (Lk. 2:37).
7. Fasting puts you in an attitude of repentance (1 Sam. 7:6, Neh. 9:1-3)
8. Fasting reminds you that nothing is an important as hearing from God (Jer. 36:6-9).
9. Fasting increases patience, which is a necessary part of praying (Psalm 35).
10. Fasting facilitates grief and wisdom in your response (Neh. 1:4)

Dear Lord Jehovah,
I am in awe of you. I confess my many sins, and I bring to you the sins of my loved ones and ask for your mercy on their behalf. Move in me, and move in them. Let your spirit pour over us and drown us with your presence. Lead us in your will and give us the courage to obey your call. Oh, Lord, build in me patience so I will wait on you, as I should. I sit here, waiting. I know you will come.
Thank you! I love you!

image by Kevin Phillips

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

David's Prayer of Confession

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
Renew a right spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of my salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51:1-4, 10-12

image from


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