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

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Dear Lord, I need the fruit of your Holy Spirit , the evidence that you are working in my life and producing works that are honoring you. Give me love like yours that doesn't see status, race, gender, intelligence, economics, politics, personality, age, or sinfulness. Help me just love souls like you love souls. This is not a gift so much as it is a decision. Help me decide to love like you. (Click here to read "Why love hurts.") Fill me with joy at being in relationship with you. This, I think, is also a decision. Help me decide to choose joy and thankfulness for any and every situation, to have the faith that you are present and you will accomplish good in me and through me. Your will and timing are always best. Remind me not to chase after happiness because that is fleeting. Joy lasts. (Click here to read "Handling joy and grief at the holidays.") Help me seek peace over safety, security, and being proven right. Convict me when my decisions and

Prayer for the first day of school

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Dear Father, Wrap your arms around my children on their first day of school. Turn anxiety into excitement. Turn fear into courage. Turn embarrassment into eagerness. Turn shyness into hospitality. (Read "How to Help Your Children Walk Away" here .) Continue to transform them into the image of Jesus, who loves everyone, accepts everyone, and stands for truth. (Read "A Prayer for your College Student" here .) I pray for the Holy Spirit to speak unimpeded into their hearts and souls, to convict, question, confirm, and encourage. Teach them truth, even midst untruth. Show them inclusion, even midst exclusion. Help them distinguish acceptance from tolerance and innocence from ignorance. (Read "4 Values Moms Need This School Year" here .) Mold them into your image-- a person of grace, truth, and love. (Read "Specific Things to Pray over your Children" here .) Protect their hearts and minds from the enemy of their souls, wh

Thank you for love of family and friends

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Dear Lord Jesus, Thank you for your love  and for demonstrating it through the love of a human family. What a beautiful concept! Thank you for creating each person in this world so carefully. Each is unique in personality and purpose. Thank you for the overwhelming blessing of children, parents, siblings, extended family. Thank you for everything-- for the struggles and the pain that living in community brings. Thank you for the joys and the surprises, the disappointments and the hope. Thank you for all of it because you use all of it to make us better and to prepare us for your purpose. Thank you for the love of my spiritual family, for friends at church, for mentors, teachers, and leaders, for all the people I'll never meet  who preached a sermon or wrote a book, or started a non-profit, or wrote curriculum that formed me and challenged me and changed me. Bless them for their service to me because they loved and obeyed you. I just need your Spirit to h

Spirit of God, Overwhelm my children

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Spirit of God, Overwhelm my children with your Presence. Cover them with your perspective. (Read "A Daily Prayer for your Children" here .) Infiltrate every aspect of their lives, into their media, their relationships, their classrooms, their fun time, their family time. When they see injustice, remind them to turn to you for answers. When they feel afraid, pull them into your protective embrace. When they feel tempted, whisper truth into their minds and hearts. When they feel alone, surround them with your continual Presence. When they feel overwhelmed, bolster their courage in the God who has conquered everything. When they feel lost, guide them back to your will, your calling, and your people. When they sin, convict and restore them to relationship with the Father. (Read "A Prayer for my child's safety" here .) Lord, be an ever-present Friend and Comforter, the first place they turn in the morning,  and the last place they