Praise


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

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


Walk through the fire with me



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 across the raging waters. You go before me in battle. You hold me in grief. You whisper in the stillness.

Nothing is too hard for you to accomplish, and you never leave me alone.

I must remember that. I must lean into your story instead of panicking about my own. It's a lesson I keep trying to learn but I keep failing at it.

But you are patient, and you work miracles. You give abundantly, excessively, and willingly.

I am so awed by you, God!

Amen.


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

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 be to the Lord who daily bears our burdens!

I will praise you in church.
I will praise you at home.
I will praise you at work.
I will praise you with my life.

And it will not scratch the surface of who you are
or what joy you bring me.
I don't deserve joy or happiness, but you give it freely anyway.

You are awesome and inspiring.
I worship you.
I humble myself before you.
I long for you because only your Spirit satisfies me.

In your Son's holy name,
Amen.


Prayer is taken from Psalm 68


A prayer for my child's wedding day

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 glad in the abundance of your blessings!
Protect us and send us out as your ambassadors of love.

But especially send the bride and groom
to love and serve you all their days.
To walk away from us and into your arms.

entrust them to you,
just as you have entrusted my son to me.

In the mighty name of Jesus,
Amen.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love."--1 Corinthians 13:13


Praise for the Lord's justice and mercy

A prayer of praise and justice from Psalm 98

Shout to the Lord, everyone!
Break out your instruments and singing!
Your worship is a beautiful symphony to God's ears.
Everything on the earth should shout the praises of the Lord.
Even the rivers, the ocean, the hills, and the animals praise the Lord through their creation.

Why do we withhold our faith and our worship?
Because we see the unfairness of this world?
Because we harbor ambition, hate, and envy in our hearts?
We distrust the plans of the Lord.

His way is good, and He does good.
He judges the wickedness of the world in his own time.
He will bring justice and mercy according to his nature.
All the nations will know that he is the Lord, and there is none other.

Praise the Lord, the Savior of the nations!
In Jesus' name,
Amen.


Praying Psalm 66 when life gets fiery

I'd like to share a prayer of praise formed from Psalm 66. 
It seems pertinent in helping assuage our fear over the global implications during this COVID-19 pandemic.


Praise our God,
people of the world!

Let the sound of our praise be heard by everyone.
He has preserved our lives
and kept us from going under forever.
Yes, He is testing us--
God is refining us like silver in the fire,
drawing our insecurities, fears, and faithlessness to the surface,
not to kill us or harm us,
but to perfect us--
to make us completely pure.

He has brought us into the prisons of this world,
giving us burdens to bear and offenses to carry.
Why?
Why would God do this, if He loves us?

Here's why:
He leads us through fire and water,
through the deserts and wilderness of our spiritual journeys
to lead us into a place of abundance.
He brings us into the open spaces of freedom.
Without the fire, we would never recognize the gift of choice, love, and abundance.

Lord, I will come to your feet and worship You!
I will fulfill the vows I've made to love and trust You.
I will sacrifice what I deem valuable because You are more valuable,
infinitely pure and holy and just!

Come and listen, everyone who fears the Lord,
let me tell you what God has done for me:
In my pain, I cried out to God,
and He heard me.
If I had hidden sin in my heart, He would not have listened,
but because I continue to pray and confess,
God hears my requests, my cries, and my groans.

Praise the Lord because He never rejects me
or withholds his love from me!

In Jesus' holy name,
Amen.


Here's another paraphrase of Psalm 66 from 4 years ago. God's Word never gets old!


Praise and Fear


A paraphrase of Psalm 34

I won't stop bragging about God and what He's doing all the time.
Praising him will be my normal conversation.
I will boast about God's goodness,
even to people who are suffering
because it will encourage them.

Join me in singing about God's goodness--
He always designs the right futures for us!

When I am afraid, I pray to God--
specifically asking Him what His will is
and what He wants to do in my life right now.
When I am afraid, and there are no answers.
My fear always vanishes.
I can move forward with courage and purpose,
even though I don't know what will happen next.

Anyone who depends on God
can face hardship and crises
without feeling ashamed or depressed.
Their faces will be joyful and radiant.
I am safe in God's hands.

I have called on God many times.
He always hears me.
He always saves me.
He always changes my troubles into blessings.

Like an army, God camps out all around me,
guarding me from the enemy
and delivering me at just the right time.

Instead of fearing circumstances,
I am filled with awe about who God is
and what He can accomplish.
I wonder why He chooses to use me?
Why He even answers me?

Even the strong are weak and hungry without God.
But if I seek Him,
I will never lack anything I need.

Come and see God's goodness.
Turn away from panic, negative thinking,
and self-loathing.
Stop doing wrong things and thinking wrong thoughts.
Instead, pursue goodness.
There you will find peace and legacy.

God cradles the brokenhearted.
He nurses the wounded hearts and lives.
He picks us up when we are broken.
He takes our mistakes and griefs, and He redeems them--
He designs something new and beautiful from the ashes of our lives
if we trust in Him
and stop trying to manage and control everything ourselves.

God is truly my safe place,
even in an unsafe world.

Amen.


Here are some other prayers for this difficult time of pandemic and uncertainty:

Prayer for the coronavirus and the fear that goes with it
Prayer against COVID-19 illness
Today I'm thankful for...
Praying for protection and healing
A prayer against fear
A prayer against disease
Praying to trust God



You are a God of life


This is what the Lord says--

your Redeemer who has made all things, 
who formed you in the womb: 
I am the Lord who has made all things, 
who alone stretched out the heavens, 
who spread out the earth by myself..." (Isaiah 44:24)


Lord, Jehovah,

I worship you.
You have made all things,
including me,
and you can do anything.
You are a God of life.

You foil the attempts of the wicked to discredit you,
You reveal yourself to the unbelieving,
You rebuild people and cities that are broken down,
You restore inheritance to the poor,
You place the lonely in families,
You use both the ungodly and the godly to accomplish your will,
You water the earth and display your creative genius,
You heal diseases and raise the dead.

You cannot be delayed.
You cannot be surprised.
You cannot be overcome.

You made all things.
You restore all things.
You use all things

You make all things new.

I love you.
Amen.

Isaiah 44
Psalm 68:5-7


Strengthen my inner self


A prayer from Ephesians 3:16-21.


Jehovah-Nissi,

Be a banner over me and guide me in the truth about your love.
Help me not doubt it or doubt you.

Strengthen me with power through your Spirit in my inner being--
breathe life and resolve into my gut and my heart and my mind.
Increase my faith in you.
You have never failed me, and you never will.
praise you for your infinite love and care.

Strengthen my roots.
Establish my thoughts and emotions in the strength of your love.
Together, with your people, pour out your power on me.
With this power and with the fellowship of believers,
help me to grasp how wide
and long
and high
and deep
is the love of Christ.

Oh, your love is inexplicable!
Unimaginable!
Unfathomable!
It surpasses knowledge.
Why do I try to understand, contain it, market it?
Your love abounds as I give it more space in my life.

Fill me up with the fullness of God!
Overflow and overwhelm me with your love!

You will do more than I can ask or imagine.
I can't begin to dream what you are capable of doing--
what you want to do--
what you will do,
if only I let you saturate me with the love of Christ.

According to your power at work within me now,
Let me bring glory to your name.
May the church bring glory to your name
now and forevermore!
Amen.


It's not too late

Oh, Lord,


How is this possible?

You whisper to me--to each of us--
"It's not too late."

It's not too late--

to control my temper,
to ask forgiveness,
to give grace,
to start over,
to believe,
to ask the question,
to attempt something new,
to have courage,
to change a habit,
to tell the truth.

It's not too late-- 

to correct a wrong,
to confess sin,
to have compassion,
to make a difference.

It's not too late--

to be a friend,
to hope for healing,
to find love,
to give love,
to breathe and live and enjoy.

You are a God of new things,
new ideas, and
new creation.
You are a savior of souls,
even the most wretched of us.

You are a God of 
second,
third,
fourth,
twentieth,
fiftieth, 
and hundredth
chances.

Your mercies are new every morning.
Great is your faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:22-24)

I submit to you.
I want your change.
Give me courage to begin again.
Let me reflect your image,
oh holy, righteous, and gracious God!

In Jesus' name,
Amen.


"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." (Isaiah 43:19)


A prayer for trust, peace, and mindfulness


I read this passage this morning. It's startling and challenging, and it compelled me to pray.



Isaiah 26:3-4--"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal."

Lord God of Heaven,

I want peace from stress and anxiety.
I want direction for my energy,
creativity in my calling,
success in my life.

You call me to steadfastness:
to lean fast,
support myself,
stand firm,
uphold
my conception, imagination, purpose, mindfulness.

I cannot trust your will without becoming steadfast in what you've already imparted to me.

That's how I learn to trust you.
Not by getting you to rubber-stamp what I'm doing
or what I want to do.
Trust comes from watching you be God in my life,
not by being god of my own life.

Trust is
confidence,
boldness,
security.
It's a decision I make,
not a promise You make.

I want peace in my soul, spirit, and body.
In my life
every day.

This is what you say about peace:
It's
tranquility,
contentment,
safety,
completeness,
shalom.
Perfect peace
from the Prince of Peace.

You are my Rock.
Your will is perfect.
All Your ways are just and holy.
There is no injustice in You.
You will never be shaken.

I can trust You.
I do trust You.
I love You.
Please give me the courage and strength to believe what I know is true.

In the name of Jesus, my Rock and my  Redeemer,
Amen.

You can find other prayers about peace and trust at the following links:
"Praying peace into my stormy life"
"Praying peace and destiny over your spouse"
"Praying to trust God"


NOTE: Hyperlinks in Isaiah 26:3-4 above will direct you to The Blue Letter Bible, a terrific source for finding out the real meanings of the words in Scripture. The links in the prayer will direct you to other Scripture that supports and explains the word being linked.


A Prayer to Emmanuel


Lord Jesus,

Thank you for being Emmanuel,
"God with us."
(Click here for "A Christmas Prayer for you.")

There's no reason that You should want to be with us,
to be our God
or offer forgiveness,
much less become human like us.

What a degradation
for the Creator to become the created.
Why did you do it?

Here's why:

"For God so loved the world
that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

Love.

What a wonderful reason to take human form,
and what a compelling reason for us to trust you!
It's a wonder we don't comprehend "God with us" more often.
(Click here to read "9 Prayers for Christmas hope.")

You loved us.
You and God the Father and God the Spirit.

You created our world.
You placed us in it.
You came to us because we couldn't be good enough on our own.
Then you died and paid our debt.
Then to rose again to give us power to live in a fallen world and join You in Yours after we die.

What an amazing plan!

You are remarkable, God.
Truly a "Mighty God, an Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

Amen.

Discouragement, abandonment, & faith

I read Psalm 5 & Psalm 13 this morning. They are prayers of lament and praise.
David feels forgotten and assaulted, so he shares his discouragement, despair, fear, abandonment, and call for justice in his communication with God. He praises God for who He is and believes that God will make all things right in His own way.
I am convicted.
I turned these two Psalms into the following prayer:

Lord God,

How long will you forget me?
Forever?
Do you remember that I'm wrestling with my emotions and thoughts
all the time
and I can't get clarity
on who you are or what you're doing in my life?

I feel abandoned and forgotten.
Weak.
Misunderstood and assaulted.
I'm trying to serve you,
and always,
someone or something is coming for me--
disappointing me,
hurting me,
rejecting me,
discrediting me.
Sometimes it's my own thoughts and faithlessness.
Many times, I believe it is the enemy.

Friends become foes.
They secretly enjoy my misfortune.
They talk about me to other people.
This mistreat me.
I feel the injustice and betrayal and disappointment of being human in a fallen world.
I wonder what you're going to do about this?
Will you make this right?

I know that you do not take pleasure in evil.
You do not tolerate injustice forever.
You reject the arrogant and exalt the humble.
You hear my prayers.

So hear this:
I am yours.
trust you.
I will follow you.

I don't understand your methods.
I don't even always understand your will.
I don't see how these hardships work to glorify you or accomplish your will in my life.
I would do things so differently.

I am not God.
You are.
You are good.
You are sovereign.
You are omniscient.
You are compassionate.
So I will trust you.

Remember me.
Champion me.
Humble me.
Use me.

May I bring you glory in the hardships and the triumphs.
All are blessings from you.
All are proof of your love and direction.

In Jesus' powerful name,
Amen.

I will sing to the Lord because He has been good to me. (Psalm 13:6)

A prayer from weakness

Dear Lord in heaven,
I feel weak today.
So, so weak.
Emotionally,
physically,
mentally,
spiritually.

I feel insufficient.
Not enough.
Less-than.

I think you call this a strength
because I'll to turn to you in my desperation just to survive.
In my frustration, I might actually listen on you.
Wait on you.
Pray to you.
Obey you.
Trust you.

This process makes me stronger
because it gives your strength a chance to work in me
and change me.
You make me enough, just as I am,
when I have you.
I can do hard things when you're the strength behind my obedience.

Thank you.
You are so gracious and merciful.
You love me, bless me, and guide me.
I am in awe of how you work
and why you decide to work in me and through me.

I praise your name, O Most High.
In Jesus' powerful name,
Amen.


"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

 

A Good Friday prayer of praise and thanks


Dear Jesus Christ,

Thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice--
for accepting the call as Savior of the world.

You took on human likeness, when you were God himself,
and subjected yourself to human pain and suffering.
You loved us so much that you took our sins on yourself
and felt them--held-them--
and died in them, after a day and a night of torture, abuse, and abandonment.

It was all wrong--all unjust--
and yet you agreed to it because you loved us.

You did that for me.

Thank you.
I can only feel overwhelmed by your love
and convicted by your grace.
I am so unworthy you.

And you so patiently wait for me,
call me,
and protect me,
even when I don't answer and don't want you.

Oh, Lord Jesus!
I love you more every day,
but I will never understand the depth of your love for me.

I worship you.
Amen.

Meeting God in the quiet place

Ahh!

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


Here you are, God.
Waiting for me in this quiet place.

You've been calling to me all week,
whenever I made time to watch the sunset or smelled the freshly-cut grass.
When I took pictures of the cherry blossoms
and admired the beauty of a lake shimmering blue and crystal under a bright sun,
that's where you were.

You were waiting in my moments of wakefulness and sleepiness,
waiting as my first and last thoughts of every day.
There your Spirit whispered prayers for me to the God of heaven.
When I felt fatigue,
you assured me that you would sustain me.
When I felt fear,
you whispered that you would protect me.
When I felt worry,
you promised you would make all things work together for good.

All with your quiet, reassuring presence.

You were waiting here,
on a day I've singled out to meet you.
Out here in the sun and the vastness of a quiet setting
where I've made time to sit with you
and hear what you have to say.

And this is what you said.

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

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

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

Let's revel in our time together.

Amen.

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


Praise about new things


Dear Lord,

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

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

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

Why do you take the trouble with colorful details?

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

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

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

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

Amen.


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


Prayer about grace, for grace


Oh, Lord God,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You overwhelm me.

In the gracious name of Jesus,
Amen.


A prayer of hope for the holidays

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

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

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

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

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

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

A prayer of imprisonment and freedom

Oh, Jesus,

Your humility surprises me.

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.


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




You make me shake my head


Oh, Lord,

You astound me and make me feel grateful.

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

Wow.

Thank you.

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

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

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

Thank you.

Amen.

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

Praise for the sunshine


Praise the Lord!

It's finally sunny again!

What a glorious morning 
with blue skies and warm sunlight!

I'm truly awed by your creation
and the impact it has on my life
and my emotions.

Thank you for the sunshine and the beauty all around me. 

Nature proves your love,
your provision,
your creativity and ingenuity,
your existence.

You don't have to make flower petals so exquisite, but you do.
You don't need to paint a different sunset every night,
with varying hues of orange and pink and purple,
but you do.
You don' have to make fluffy clouds the filter the sunlight like lacy fingers across the sky,
but you do.

You keep doing it,
every day, every year,
even though the world is sinful and messy and unbelieving.

Thank you.
I believe in all that you say you are,
and I believe you do all that you promise to do.
I love you.

Amen.

I believe You love me


Dear Lord,

All your ways are good.
I believe you love me.

When life is difficult, and circumstances don't go my way,
I believe you love me,
and you're working out a plan to mature me.

When people and struggles are cruel and unforgiving,
I believe you love me,
and you're teaching me something about myself and about yourself.

When you bless me with family love and encouraging friendships,
I believe you love me.

Yet you don't love me any more when my life is easy than when it is hard,
even thought that seems true to me.
Ease is not better proof of your love,
but it does reveal the degree of my faith in you.

Thank you for your patience with me,
for your long-suffering nature that understands how many times it takes for me to believe and accept truth,
especially truth of your sacrificial and eternal love.
As if you had something more to prove!

Living by faith and not by sight is hard for me--
I so easily forget that you are love,
all the time,
when I feel loved and happy
and when I don't.

You never change.
I believe you love me,
and that makes my life glorious and astounding.

I love you, too,
in my feeble, human sort of way.

Amen.

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.--Psalm 145:17


I hope you're glorified by my life

Dear God,

I hope you're glorified by my life,
with the choices that I make every day
that don't seem important in the present,
but perhaps they are in the long-run.

I hope that doing housework,
schoolwork, career work, and relationships
glorify you during all the little unseen moments,
when I'm kind in spite of being annoyed,
careful in spite of being tired,
righteous when nobody's looking.

May you find pleasure in my joy
and return tender mercies for
my failings,
and I pray for all of it to bring you the glory you deserve.
Your glory shines over all the earth!

In Jesus' wonderful name,
Amen.

Praise for the Creator

Dear Lord,

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

Amen.

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

Praise and Comfort

A Paraphrase of Psalm 66


Almighty God,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am overwhelmed by Your love, O Lord!

Amen.

image by Lilla Frerichs


What will you do for me today?

Dear Lord,


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

Amen.

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


Prayer for Perspective

Dear Lord God,

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

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

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

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

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

Amen.

(Psalm 66)


image by Gerhard Lipold

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


Dear Lord,

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

In Jesus' precious name, Amen.


image by MALIZ ONG


Why am I afraid?

Dear Lord,

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

Why do You even put up with me?

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

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

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

image by Piotr Wojtkowski




Paraphrasing Psalm 8 into a Prayer


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

Amen.



Doxology

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

image from www.sheetmusicdirect.com

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