Tag: answer

Oct 24 The Answer IS Your Word

bible-1001114_640Father, what a wonderful list of things to both pursue and stay away from, for my own good!

I love that You say to “flee the evil desires of youth” knowing that not all desires of youth are evil.  Being young doesn’t mean one is evil, just that one might be more susceptible to evil.

When I was younger, it was more important to me to be “right” so I would press my point and become involved in unproductive arguments.  You refer to them as “foolish and stupid.”  I agree, and have since learned the value of a soft word and gentle instruction.

Even so, You share that “…in the last dayspeople will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power…swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth.”  Paul saw this even in his day.  I see it all around me.

There are people who live as described above.  Paul says: “they will not get very far because…their folly will be clear to everyone.”  Unfortunately, with so many people behaving like this, it appears as the norm.

Television shows and media portray fathers, police, authority figures as idiots, not worthy of obedience or respect.  More and more our political leaders and sports heroes turn out to be corrupt cheaters.  Some of our children grew up knowing You and were taught Your values, but they have turned away from You in this permissive and deadly society.

But there are many who still2:32 love You and follow YouLet them be role models and mentors to this generation and the next.  And let me live a godly life as an example.

I seek and value You and Your characteristics, but sometimes pride and ungratefulness, for example, rear their ugly heads in me.   I have Your Word as my guide.  Your Word is effective for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”   And it will “equip me for every good work.” 

For all of us the answer is in Your Word, and IS Your Word.  Keep it in the forefront of my mind as a guide.  But also let me use it wisely in gently correcting and praying for others.  Father, return everyone who has become self absorbed, materialistic, and pleasure-seeking people to the godly values that will save them.  They have been deceived.

Open their eyes Lord, before it’s too late.  Bring the Prodigal sons and daughters home.  Amen

2 Timothy 2:22-3:17

Oct 19 God Speaks

person-woman-smartphone-calling

Father, You invite me to Call to You and You will tell me great and unsearchable things I do not know.

So I call on You now.  For there is so much I do not know!

Father, help me understand more of Your Word.

I have studied long and hard to answer the questions:  What does scripture say?  What does it mean?  What does it mean to me?  I have

looked up definitions of words used in the original Hebrew and Greek

made lists of key words, comparisons and contrasts, people, places, events

examined cross-references to see where words, phrases and concepts are used elsewhere in scripture

read about cultural, political, geographical, and literary contexts to get a better sense of background

read the same passage in different translations

looked for and assessed where symbolism is used in addition to the literal meaning

These studies have brought me much understanding and clarity, and changed the way I look at, value, and am amazed by Your precious Word.

Other times I have simply read Your Word, and feel as if You are speaking just to me, so clearly, and so intimately.  Father, keep speaking!  Use it all to make clear Your love for me, Your purpose for me, Your plan for my life.  Let me see where You are working, and how I can join in with You.

I feel close to You when I get in touch with Your creation.  When I see the colors of the leaves change, I marvel at the beauty, and how You make seasons for me that each have an attraction that I love.

When I see the mountains, I envision Your grandeur and strength.

As I watch the ocean, I am awed by Your immenseness.  And by the absolute endless nature of one wave after another.  It is mesmerizing, comforting.

Your power is often unseen, but strong and mighty.  All I experience, seen and unseen teaches me more about You.  Continue to speak to me through Your marvelous creation.

And yet I don’t understand

how to use the gifts and talents and traits You have placed in me to glorify You

how to overcome the obstacles of my flesh and the world and the evil one

how to keep my temper and not let irritability get the better of me

how to be loving and compassionate when annoyed and frustrated

how to live every day to honor You in the midst of today’s challenges and struggles

Father, teach me, show me, help me.  I call to You.  As You answer me, reveal more and more great and unsearchable things.  Amen

Jeremiah 33:3

Sept 19 “This is the way…”

road-sign-64059_1280

Father, You have described those who do not follow You and those who do. Unfortunately, I sometimes display the characteristics of both.

You say In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”  And yet there are times when I do not remain quiet and trusting“Yet,” You tell me “the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.”

What an amazing God You are!  Even when I am not faithful, You are patient and merciful to me!

Father, You have promised, “As soon as You hear, You will answer me.”  And have said that my ears will hear a voice behind me saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’  I could ask for nothing more.

Even now, as I call out to You, I know that You can hear my voice and will answer me.  Father, there are circumstances in my life that present options and opportunities, choices.  And I must decide.

Fear would freeze me where I stand, preventing me from moving ahead in any direction.  But I believe that You have wisdom I need.   I believe You have the ability to see into the future to know which is the right way for me to go.

You also know my past, and the way that You created me, with strengths, gifts, and talents, as well as weaknesses.  So You know what You have already prepared me for, and what is best for me.

Father, I have access to the wisdom of the world.  I have friends who would probably tell me what they think I want to hear.  But I desire to live my life by Your wisdom.

Be the voice that I hear behind me, in my ear, telling me which is the way to walk.  Show me which path to take.  Show me when to wait and when to go forward.  Open my ears and my Spirit so I can hear and understand what You tell me.

And give me the boldness to be obedient to what that is.

“And I will sing…my heart will rejoice.”  I will rest in my salvation.  And will remain in quietness and trustThese will be my strength.  Amen

Isaiah 30:15-21

July 27 Prayer and Deliverance

O Lord, may my victories be like those of Jehoshaphat’s!

sword-41036_640

When confronted with a difficulty, let me learn from JehoshaphatHis first response upon hearing of the dilemma?  “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast…”  Then, when the people came together, he prayed!

This is what I should do!  Rather than respond with anxiousness, confusion, anger, frustration, or discouragement.

His words began with a statement of who You are and what You can do.  How encouraging, to be reminded that You, my God, are the most powerful force in all creation!

“O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not the God who is in heaven?  You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.  Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can withstand You.  We stand in Your presence… and cry out to You in our distress, and You will hear us and save us… For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You!”

What a claim!  I acknowledge my insufficiency, but affirm my faith in trusting You.  If I look at You instead of whatever problem, my focus stays positive.  It confirms that You are bigger than the problem.

 “This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours but God’s.  Tomorrow, march down against them…you will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

Then they bowed with their face to the ground and fell down in worship before the Lord.  Some stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

Father, You answered them with a challenge to be courageous, and a promise to fight their battle.   I definitely feel more courageous when I am singing praise music, or praying out loud.

When I connect with You in prayer, I am re-energized and empowered to go on.  From my journals, it is also reassuring to read about the times You have delivered me in the past.  Recalling Your faithfulness always has an inspiring and calming effect.

And the result?  Jehoshaphat and his men didn’t have to fight. As they sang and praised You, You fought the battle!  Then they spent three days carrying off the plunder from the victory You gave them!

They returned to Jerusalem rejoicing and praising You in the Temple.

O Father, I forget when my problems seem so big, that I have a Father who is bigger.  Who can give me a victory.  Who can provide me with abundant rewards.

Remind me to come to You first.  To seek You, to fast, to pray, and to trust.  Thank You.  Amen

2 Chronicles 20:1-30

June 18 You know what I need

prayer answersFather, how reassuring to know that You listen to me; that You pay attention to my prayers.

You listened to Elijah when he was so burned out.  And to the believers gathered in Jerusalem who interceded for Paul’s release.

I too, have had times when I felt burned out; when I had done all I could possibly do, and was at the end of myself.  With Elijah, You provided for him and gave him a plan.  You appeared as an angel and fed him, then gave him directions for a personal meeting with You.   When he responded that he was overwhelmed and done, You gave him release from his ministerial duties.

You allowed him to anoint replacements.  Hazael and Jehu would take over the battle against the idolatrous rulers and people.  And Elisha would become the next prophet.  You heard the needs of Elijah and answeredHow reassuring to know that You know me and know my limitations too, and will always have a plan to help me cope.

The believers in Jerusalem prayed; You responded with an angel who released Peter from prison, sparing his life.  This was a miracle, as he was literally shackled to two guards, and under the watch of sixteen of Herod’s soldiers!   How heartening to know that when You answer prayer, physical restrictions cannot limit You!

In my life I have seen answers to prayerSometimes the answer is “Yes.”  Sometimes it is “No” for one reason or another, or “Wait.”  Sometimes, it is “I will answer your prayer, child, but I have a better plan.”  And I am usually amazed that You find ways of answering that surprise and delight me with things I have never thought of!

Thank You Father, that You are not limited by what I can think of as solutions to difficulties and problems.  Thank You that Your power is not limited; it is boundless!

Thank You that You are merciful and wise in Your answers: not always giving me what I ask for.  Thank You, that You, the God of the Universe, listen to and answer prayer.  Amen

I Kings 19:1-21; Acts 12: 1-19

Apr 4 Teach me to pray

prayer-1159703_640

Father, thank You that when asked by Your disciples, You taught me more than just some words to say when I pray.

In three verses You instruct me to honor Your Holy Name and ask for You to meet my needs.  You indicate it is important to confess my sin and be forgiven of it, as well as to forgive others who have sinned against me.  And You show me how to ask for Your divine direction and protection.

But You didn’t stop there.  You used further illustrations to teach me that I need to be persistent in my prayer life.  I am not to give up just because I don’t get an immediate answer. “For everyone who asks, receives; he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Next You reinforce that I can trust You for specific answers to prayer, through the Holy Spirit, because “You are the Father of Lights, and every good and perfect gift comes down from You.

Father, we approach You now to ask and seek and knock on the door of Your abundant provision in this time of challenge and disunity.  We ask for healing of those who are ill.  Return them to good health. And comfort for those who are hurting.  And justice for those who are oppressed.

We seek Your purpose for our lives and desire Your direction to help us fulfill all You created us for.

And we knock so You will open the door of provision for all those who are in dire need.  Father, release the abundance in Your storehouse and pour out a blessing so amazing that all will see it is from You, and give You thanks.

Thank You, precious Heavenly Father, that I can come to You with every joy, every sorrow, every praise, every need; and know that You hear me and You enter into dialogue with me.  Help me take time to listen for Your voice in answer; and not just call out my grocery list of wants. And open my ears and heart to all You will tell me.  Amen

Luke 11:1-13; James 1:17

Mar 22 You care for us

“O Father, who hears our prayers, forgive us when we are overwhelmed by sin.  You are the hope of all the ends of the earth.

You formed the mountains… and stilled the seas… and the turmoil of the nations.  You care for the land and water it; You enrich it abundantly.”

panorama-3311973_640Father, care for us as You care for the land.  Pour out on us what we need for growth and fruitfulness in our spiritual livesProvide us with the nourishment we need to grow in maturity and grace.

You “drench its furrows and level its ridges, softening it with showers, blessing the land and crowning it with bounty and abundance.”   Father, drench us in Your love, even out our rough places, soften our hearts where they are hardened.

“You crown the year with Your bounty, and Your carts overflow with abundance.”

Father, this year continues the crisis and disunity in our lives, our nation and the world.  Draw us all to You, to seek Your will and purpose for our lives.  Answer us with awesome deeds and fill us with good things from Your house.

Open our eyes to acknowledge Your bounty and the abundance of blessing. And we will shout for joy and sing praises to You.  Amen 

Psalm 65:1-13

Feb 3 Apple or Potato Prayers?

 

“Hear my voice when I call O Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.  My heart says of You, “Seek His face!”  Your face, Lord, I will seek.” 

Oh Father, thank You that I can know that You do hear me.  Sometimes I sing out my praise, or I call out my thanksgiving, or I weep and whisper out my needs.  And sometimes my heart is so broken I can only weep.  But the Holy Spirit intercedes for me and even the groanings of my heart that cannot be expressed in words are heard. 

Thank You that in Your mercy, You answer me every time. 

I appreciate and love the times Your answer is “yes” and I can see the fruit of my prayers immediately.  They are like apples I can see growing and maturing on a tree, right before my eyes. 

The buds come, the blossoms open, then the fruit appears, grows and matures while I watch the whole process.  With a prayer like this, I can see you at work and be encouraged.  

But I understand that at times the answer is “wait.”  Then it’s more like growing potatoes.  The plant is there and the vine can be seen.  But the fruit, the potato, is growing underground and cannot be seen until harvest time.  It takes faith to dig up the plant looking for the potatoes underneath. 

These are harder prayers because they feel like nothing is happening.  The truth is, You are at work answering the prayer, just not in ways visible to the human eye. 

And I also must acknowledge that sometimes the answer is “no.”  And I have to choose to trust that Your will is best for me, even if I don’t understand it at the time.

Like the Psalmist Lord, I will seek Your face.  I will read and study Your Word and apply its lessons and teachings to my life.  I will come to You in prayer, allowing time not only for talking, but also listening for what You want to say to me.

I will look for those places where You insert Yourself into my life through scripture, or circumstances; using events or occurrences, contacts or everyday things to speak to me and heighten my awareness of You.

You remind me of Your beauty in a sunset.  You make Your sovereignty known when I look at the stars.   You reassure me of Your love and care when You have a friend call or pray for me.   And these are just some of the ways You communicate with me.

Whether praying apples or potatoes, hearing a “yes” or “no,” I am encouraged with these words of David: “I am still confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” 

And especially for those “potato” prayers, You say “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  Father, help me wait and not fall into discouragement, self-pity or giving up.  Keep my faith strong and my trust in You solid; so that at the end of the waiting, I will sing of the wonders of the Lord!  Amen 

Psalm 27:7,8,13,14; Romans 8:26

Jan 4 Promise of the Rainbow

rainbow mountains-436171_960_720Father, I have seen rainbows in the sky all my life.  They are such beautiful, delicate things.  But more than that, they are a reminder of Your promise to never again destroy the earth by water because of man’s inhumanity to man.

From our side it brings us a sense of wonder and securityFrom Yours it is a sign of restraint.  It is a promise that even in Your great power, You will never again destroy all You have created by water. Your love for us is great and Your faithfulness is even greater!

Thank You for walking the earth in the flesh as Jesus.  You lived without sin to be an example for us and a Savior for all mankind.  Thank You for recording Your teachings in scripture, and for performing healings and miracles.

As You healed and gave mercy and relief from distress to the people around You, You also answer my similar prayers.  I so need your mercy and relief from distress.  When I am overwhelmed, You bring me peace.  When I am set upon by evil, You give me deliverance and relief.

Help me live by Your example.  Do not let me shame You with my words, actions or attitudes.  Teach me to live by the Word You have written.   Show me how to guard my thoughts and my tongue, how to treat others, and be humble.  Do not let me be deceived or misled by the evil one, but open my eyes to those lies.

Father, I believe You have set me apart for Yourself.  I trust completely that what You have planned for me is the best.  Let Your face smile on me.  Fill my heart with joy.  Give me peaceful sleepKeep me safe.  I trust in You.  Amen

Genesis 9:8-17; Matthew 4:23-25; Psalm 4:1, 8

Oct 24 The Answer IS Your Word

bible-1001114_640Father, what a wonderful list of things to both pursue and stay away from, for my own good! 

I love that You say to “flee the evil desires of youth” knowing that not all desires of youth are evil.  Being young doesn’t mean one is evil, just that one might be more susceptible to evil

When I was younger, it was more important to me to be “right” so I would press my point and become involved in unproductive arguments.  You refer to them as “foolish and stupid.”  I agree, and have since learned the value of a soft word and gentle instruction.

Even so, You share that “…in the last days…people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power…swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth.”  Paul saw this even in his day.  I see it all around me.

It almost seems there is an entire generation described above.  Paul says: “they will not get very far because…their folly will be clear to everyone.”  Unfortunately, with an entire generation behaving like this, it appears as the norm. 

Television shows and media portray fathers, police, authority figures as idiots, not worthy of obedience or respect.  More and more our political leaders and sports heroes turn out to be corrupt cheaters.  Some of our children grew up knowing You and were taught Your values, but they have turned away from You in this permissive and deadly society.

But there are many who love You and follow YouLet them be role models and mentors to this generation and the next.  And let me live a godly life as an example. 

I seek and value You and Your characteristics, but sometimes pride and ungratefulness, for example, rear their ugly heads in me.   I have Your Word as my guide.  Your Word is effective for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”   And it will “equip me for every good work.” 

For all of us the answer is in Your Word, and IS Your Word.  Keep it in the forefront of my mind as a guide.  But also let me use it wisely in gently correcting and praying for others.  Father, return this generation of self absorbed, materialistic, pleasure-seeking people to the godly values that will save them.  They have been deceived. 

Open their eyes Lord, before it’s too late.  Bring the Prodigal sons and daughters home.  Amen

2 Timothy 2:22-3:17

Oct 19 God Speaks!

person-woman-smartphone-callingFather, You invite me to Call to You and You will tell me great and unsearchable things I do not know.  Lord, I do call on You.  For there is so much I do not know!

Father, help me understand more of Your Word.

I have studied long and hard to answer the questions:  What does scripture say?  What does it mean?  What does it mean to me?  I have

looked up definitions of words used in the original Hebrew and Greek

made lists of key words, comparisons and contrasts, people, places, events

examined cross-references to see where words, phrases and concepts are used elsewhere in scripture

read about cultural, political, geographical, and literary contexts to get a better sense of background

read the same passage in different translations

looked for and assessed where symbolism is used in addition to the literal meaning

These studies have brought me much understanding and clarity, and changed the way I look at, value, and am amazed by Your precious Word.

Other times I have simply read Your Word, and feel as if You are speaking just to me, so clearly, and so intimately.  Father, keep speaking!  Use it all to make clear Your love for me, Your purpose for me, Your plan for my life.  Let me see where You are working, and how I can join in with You.

I feel close to You when I get in touch with Your creation.  When I see the colors of the leaves change, I marvel at the beauty, and how You make seasons for me that each have an attraction that I love.

When I see the mountains, I envision Your grandeur and strength.

As I watch the ocean, I am awed by You immenseness.  And by the absolute endless nature of one wave after another.  It is mesmerizing, comforting.

Your power is often unseen, but strong and mighty.  All I experience, seen and unseen teaches me more about You.  Continue to speak to me through Your marvelous creation.

And yet I don’t’ understand

how to use the gifts and talents and traits You have placed in me to glorify You

how to overcome the obstacles of my flesh and the world and the evil one

how to keep my temper and not let irritability get the better of me

how to be loving and compassionate when annoyed and frustrated

how to live every day to honor You in the midst of today’s challenges and struggles

Father, teach me, show me, help me.  I call to You.  As You answer me, reveal more and more great and unsearchable things.  Amen

Jeremiah 33:3

Sept 19 “This is the way…”

 

Father, You have described those who do not follow You and those who do. Unfortunately, I sometimes display the characteristics of both. 

You say “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”  And yet there are times when I do not remain quiet and trusting.  “Yet,” You tell me “the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.” 

What an amazing God You are!  Even when I am not faithful, You are patient and merciful to me!

Father, You have promised, “As soon as You hear, You will answer me.”  And have said that “my ears will hear a voice behind me saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”  I could ask for nothing more.   

Even now, as I call out to You, I know that You can hear my voice and will answer me.  Father, there are circumstances in my life that present options and opportunities, choices.  And I must decide. 

Fear would freeze me where I stand, preventing me from moving ahead in any direction.  But I believe that You have wisdom in all these areas.   I believe You have the ability to see into the future to know which is the right way for me to go. 

You also know my past, and the way that You created me, with strengths, gifts, and talents, as well as weaknesses.  So You know what You have already prepared me for, and what is best for me.

Father, I have access to the wisdom of the world.  I have friends who would probably tell me what they think I want to hear.  But I desire to live my life by Your wisdom. 

Be the voice that I hear behind me, in my ear, telling me which is the way to walk.  Show me which path to take.  Show me when to wait and when to go forward.  Open my ears and my Spirit so I can hear and understand what You tell me. 

And give me the boldness to be obedient to what that is.

“And I will sing…my heart will rejoice.”  I will rest in my salvation.  And will remain in quietness and trust.  These will be my strength.  Amen

Isaiah 30:15-21

July 27 Jehosephat’s Deliverance

O Lord, may my victories be like those of Jehoshaphat’s!

sword-41036_640When confronted with a difficulty, let me learn from Jehoshaphat.  His first response upon hearing of the dilemma?  “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast…”  Then, when the people came together, he prayed!

This is what I should do!  Rather than respond with anxiousness, confusion, anger, frustration, or discouragement.

His words began with a statement of who You are and what You can do.  How encouraging, to be reminded that You, my God, are the most powerful force in all creation!

“O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not the God who is in heaven?  You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.  Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can withstand You.  We stand in Your presence… and cry out to You in our distress, and You will hear us and save us… For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You!”

What a claim!  I acknowledge my insufficiency, but affirm my faith in trusting You.  If I look at You instead of whatever problem, my focus stays positive.  It confirms that You are bigger than the problem.

“This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours but God’s.  Tomorrow, march down against them…you will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

Then they “bowed with their face to the ground and fell down in worship before the Lord.  Some stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.”

Father, You answered them with a challenge to be courageous, and a promise to fight their battle.   I definitely feel more courageous when I am singing praise music, or praying out loud.

When I connect with You in prayer, I am re-energized and empowered to go on.  From my journals, it is also reassuring to read about the times You have delivered me in the past.  Recalling Your faithfulness always has an inspiring and calming effect.

And the result?  Jehoshaphat and his men didn’t have to fight. As they sang and praised You, You fought the battle!  Then they spent three days carrying off the plunder from the victory You gave them!

They returned to Jerusalem rejoicing and praising You in the Temple.

O Father, I forget when my problems seem so big, that I have a Father who is bigger.  Who can give me a victory.  Who can provide me with abundant rewards.

Remind me to come to You first.  To seek You, to fast, to pray, and to trust.  Thank You.  Amen

2 Chronicles 20:1-30

 

Mar 22 You care for us

panorama-3311973_640“O Father, who hears our prayers, forgive us when we are overwhelmed by sin.  You are the hope of all the ends of the earth.

You formed the mountains and stilled the seas, and the turmoil of the nations.  You care for the land and water it; You enrich it abundantly.”

Father, care for us as You care for the land.  Pour out on us what we need for growth and fruitfulness in our spiritual lives.  Provide us with the nourishment we need to grow in maturity and grace.

You “drench its furrows and level its ridges, softening it with showers, blessing the land and crowning it with bounty and abundance.”   Father, drench us in Your love, even out our rough places, soften our hearts where they are hardened.

“You crown the year with Your bounty, and Your carts overflow with abundance.”

Father, this year has begun with a crisis in our lives, our nation and the world.  Draw us all to You, to seek Your will and purpose for our lives.  Answer us with awesome deeds and fill us with good things from Your house.

Open our eyes to acknowledge Your bounty and the abundance of blessing. And we will shout for joy and sing praises to You.  Amen

Psalm 65:1-13

 

Sept 19 This is the way

road-sign-64059_1280Father, You have described those who do not follow You and those who do. Unfortunately, I sometimes display the characteristics of both.

You say “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”  And yet there are times when I do not remain quiet and trusting.  “Yet,” You tell me “the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.”

What an amazing God You are!  Even when I am not faithful, You are patient and merciful to me!

Father, You have promised, “As soon as You hear, You will answer me.”  And have said that “my ears will hear a voice behind me saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”  I could ask for nothing more.

Even now, as I call out to You, I know that You can hear my voice and will answer me.  Father, there are circumstances in my life that present options and opportunities, choices.  And I must decide.

Fear would freeze me where I stand, preventing me from moving ahead in any direction.  But I believe that You have wisdom in all these areas.   I believe You have the ability to see into the future to know which is the right way for me to go.

You also know my past, and the way that You created me, with strengths, gifts, and talents, as well as weaknesses.  So You know what You have already prepared me for, and what is best for me.

Father, I have access to the wisdom of the world.  I have friends who would probably tell me what they think I want to hear.  But I desire to live my life by Your wisdom.

Be the voice that I hear behind me, in my ear, telling me which is the way to walk.  Show me which path to take.  Show me when to wait and when to go forward.  Open my ears and my Spirit so I can hear and understand what You tell me.

And give me the boldness to be obedient to what that is.

“And I will sing…my heart will rejoice.”  I will rest in my salvation.  And will remain in quietness and trust.  These will be my strength.  Amen

Isaiah 30:15-21

Apr 26 Hearing God’s Voice

Father, thank You for the example of Gideon.  What a great illustration to show me it’s ok to ask You for confirmation that I am indeed hearing from You.  It’s important to be sure before taking action.

There are times when I am sure I hear You and understand what I am to do.

But other times when, probably due to fear or reluctance on my part, I second guess myself and come up with lots of reasons why I might have misunderstood You.   I need to be reassured.  So I am glad to know it is all right to ask for that reassurance.

I desire to follow in Gideon’s footsteps, Lord. First, it’s important for me to know who I am hearing from.  He asked for confirmation and received absolute proof he was hearing from You.  Upon realizing it was truly You, he built an altar that acknowledged You as The One True God.

Then, he was obedient in Your instructions to remove the worship of other gods, tearing down the false altar and Asherah pole.  And even though he did this fearfully, You protected and blessed him.

As he followed through with Your plan, he asked for clear validation.  Gideon used a good example of something that would be unlikely if not impossible to have happened naturally.   So I too, need to be sure I’m not asking for a sign that will simply support my own desire; like, “Lord, if the sun comes up tomorrow I will know You mean…”

How do I verify I am hearing from You?  Asking You to combust food like Gideon did, is probably not the best route to go these days, although not beyond Your ability.  And You have left Your written Word as a guide for me.  So I have learned to ask three questions:

1 – Does what I hear agree with Scripture?  The answer must be “yes.”  I believe You will never tell me anything that contradicts what You have already told me in Your Word. So I must be familiar with Your Word.

2 – What will the result, or the fruit of the act be?  It should lead to and produce the fruit of the Spirit; which is peace, patience, love, joy, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, and self-control.   The acts of the flesh are immorality, idolatry, impurity, debauchery, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, envy, and the like.  So I can look at the expected result and see where I am headed.

3 – Will it benefit my relationship with You, Lord?  Everything I do will either draw me closer to You or pull me farther away in our relationship.

So I can ask the three questions.  But if confusion still exists, it is good to know that I can come to You with whatever concern I have.  And know that You will answer me so I can be sure of Your direction.

Thank You that You let me hear Your voice.  And help me confirm it.  Amen

Judges 6:11-40; Galatians 5:17-23

Apr 17 Learn from the blind beggar

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“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and answer me.   Thank You for guarding my life.  Father, I devote that life to You.  You are my God and I am Your servant who trusts You.”

Lord, there are so many things I am trusting You for right now.  Things that I cannot see, and have no evidence will ever happen.  I guess that’s what faith and trust are all about: believing in what is not yet seen.

Lord let me learn from the blind beggar.

First, when he heard You were passing by, he knew You could heal him and persisted asking for Your help.

So when I have a need, let me come straight to You; confident that You have the desire and the power to help.  And remind me to be persistent like he was.

Next, when You asked what he wanted, he knew exactly.  Help me see my need for what it is, not hide it or deny it.

And last, when You answer my prayer, as You answered the beggar’s, let other people see it and praise You!

Lord, as I bring my requests to You, I come praising You with all my heart.  I praise You that when I am under attack I can ask for Your strength.  I appreciate that sense of Your presence when I feel discouraged.

I exalt You for teaching me truth from Your Word and showing me how to apply it to my life; thus increasing my faith.  I glorify Your name as You guide me in Your wisdom, and give me discernment.

Thank You that I can call on You when I am in trouble.  I know You will answer me.  For all this and more, I thank You Lord.  Amen

Psalm 86:1-17; Luke 18:35-42

Apr 8 No Rock like our God

american-flag-1272115_640Lord, do not let ours be a nation without sense, with no discernment, like Israel was.

When You gave them an inheritance and set up boundaries for Your people according to the number of their sons, You shielded and carried them.  You protected them and guarded them as an eagle cares for and trains its young.

You nourished them with the best, and yet, when they became fat and sleek, satisfied, they turned from You.  They abandoned the God who gave them all they had, and sought other “gods.”   They became perverse and unfaithful, not caring that it would call down Your curses and judgment on them and their children.

Father, give me discernment so I can know when I am being tempted away from You with the values and philosophies of this world.  Help me be wise and understand that there are consequences to my decisions and actions.

Give me the ability to be able to think ahead and see where things will lead so I can choose what will lead me to a closer relationship with You.

Father, give the leaders of my country sense to see where they are taking our people with their choices as well.  Give them discernment and wisdom to know that Your judgment is real and You will not be mocked.  Our Constitution was written to govern a moral people, and when morality fails, we have little hope of living in safety or security.

I can already see signs that we have gone too far.   We, as a people – even Believers, have put You to the test and rebelled against You, the Lord Most High.  We have not kept Your statutes.  We have become disloyal and faithless.

Do not reject us O God.  Do not abandon us.  But show us the error of our ways; teach us to walk rightly again and make wise decisions that honor You.

Help me give You the place in my life that You deserve.

Remind me to read Your Word so it can guide and encourage me.  Recall to my mind, Your faithfulness to me in the past: all the ways You have protected and delivered me.

Speak to me when I pray to You, giving me direction.  Let me feel Your presence near me, assuring me of your love, healing my wounds, and giving me Your peace.

Thank You that You are the One True God, the Most High, who will never leave me or forsake me.  Thank You that Your faithfulness endures forever.  I praise You for Your unending love.  You are my God.  Amen

Deuteronomy 32:28-43; Psalm 78:56-64

Apr 4 Teach me to pray

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Father, thank You that when asked by Your disciples, You taught me more than just some words to say when I pray.

In three verses You instruct me to honor Your Holy Name and ask for You to meet my needs.  You indicate it is important to confess my sin and be forgiven of it, as well as to forgive others who have sinned against me.  And You show me how to ask for Your divine direction and protection.

But You didn’t stop there.  You use further illustrations to teach me that I need to be persistent in my prayer life.  I am not to give up just because I don’t get an immediate answer.

You also promise my patience in prayer will be rewarded.  “For everyone who asks, receives; he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Next You reinforce that I can trust You for specific answers to prayer, through the Holy Spirit, because “You are the Father of Lights, and every good and perfect gift comes down from You.

Thank You, precious Heavenly Father, that I can come to You with every joy, every sorrow, every praise, every need; and know that You hear me and You enter into dialogue with me.  Help me to take time to listen for Your voice in answer; and not just call out my grocery list of wants.

Let me sit at Your feet, like Mary.  Do not let me be distracted by anything, but teach me to drink in Your presence.  Remind me to include time with You in setting my priorities.  And open my ears and heart to all You will tell me.  Amen

Luke 11:1-13; James I:17

 

Mar 27 Not by bread alone…

Lord, today’s scripture passages are so rich, it is hard to chose one area of prayer focus.  In these verses You are instructive, encouraging, and even give warnings.  All are important.  But the ones that speak to me the most, remind me of how You care for me and how I should behave in response to that care and commitment.

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I am holy to You, Lord.  That doesn’t mean I am perfect, but that I am set apart for You. And for Your purposes.

Like the Israelites, I have value because of who I am in Your eyes.  You did not set Your affection on me because I am the biggest, or best.  There is nothing I could have done to make You love me.  But You chose me.

You delivered the Israelites from slavery.  Because You love me, You promise to deliver me with a mighty hand from this world and its distressing values.  

You have provided for me in the past when I needed help, encouragement, and provision.  Although You provided physical sustenance for me, You have also taught me that there is more.

So I do not live on “bread” alone.  But my relationship with You and Your Word gives me peace and wholeness.  So I will spend time reading and studying Your Word, and listening for Your voice.

Often, especially in times of need – like the Israelites –  I am drawn to You.  And I need to be sure I give You the credit when You answer and provide. I express my thanks and gratitude in praise, in song, in telling others how You bring me through troubles and trials.

Every good thing I have has come from You.  It is You who make it possible for me to have the life I enjoy, to work and volunteer and help others.

I will pour out myself to honor You.  You have saved me!  From trouble, from trauma, from myself, from circumstances I have gotten myself into, and from eternal death.

You have answered my prayers, come to my rescue, given me hope, forgiven my sin.  I thank You and I praise You!  And I cannot wait to see what’s coming next!  Amen

Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20

Jan 21 It’s all perspective

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Holy Father, Your will often puzzles me. I cannot see from Your perspective or understand the effects of actions looking forward into the future.

Your servant John the Baptist lived as a righteous man. He was a believer and taught of Your kingdom. He even baptized Jesus! He was a great part of Your plan; yet he was beheaded by an unrighteous, evil, manipulative man.

In our human understanding of fairness that seems so wrong.

Yet, again, our perspective is not Yours. And our life here on earth is not the end of it all. There is also what comes after: where and how we spend eternity.

So can I still pray for things to work here out here on earth, in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones? Yes.

And can I ask in faith, believing, and not doubting? Absolutely!

But I must remember that You answer prayer from a greater perspective.

My sight and my ability to see “the solution” are very limited. Even in my own life, I have prayed and You have answered in ways far better than anything I had asked for, or could have even imagined.

And can I trust Your answer? Without a doubt!

Even if I can’t understand the “why” of it at the time, I know that Your love for me is great. And You are trustworthy. And Your sense of mercy and justice are right.

So no matter how things look from my perspective, I will proclaim boldly with the Psalmist, “As for God, His way is perfect!”

Matthew 14:1-12; Psalm 18:30

Dec 11 Return to the Lord

Father, so many times You sent messages to the people and leaders of Israel to return to You, and they did not.  You sent death in famine, drought, blight, locusts, plagues, and military defeats as a way to get their attention.

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When challenges and difficulties come to me, remind me to come to You.  You are the One who can help and heal me.  You are the One who can show me wisdom and how to cope with whatever You allow into my life.

Lord, when it is so easy to fret and worry, and grumble and complain to friends, and look to the world for answers, remind me that the source of all I need is You!

Calm my heart when I am anxious.  Shut my mouth when I whine.

Turn me around when I go toward the world’s solutions.

Let me pour out my heart to You and seek wisdom in Your Word.

I will not just talk during prayer, but will listen, so I can hear what You have to say to me.

I will open my eyes and ears to discern when You are showing and teaching me; and where You are leading me.

I will let go of my own way and humble myself to obey You.

For it is “You who forms the mountains, who creates the wind  and who reveals Your thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—    the Lord God Almighty is Your Name.”

You are mine, and I belong to You.   You redeem me with Your love, renew me with Your presence, restore me with Your touch. Amen

Amos 4:6-13

Oct 24 the Answer IS Your Word

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Father, what a wonderful list of things to both pursue and stay away from, for my own good!  I love that You say to “flee the evil desires of youth” because not all desires of youth are evil.  Being young doesn’t mean one is evil, just that one might be more susceptible to evil.

When I was younger, it was more important to me to be “right” so I would press my point and become involved in unproductive arguments.  You refer to them as “foolish and stupid.”  I agree, and have since learned the value of a soft word and gentle instruction.

Even so, You share that “…in the last days…people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power…swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth”.  Paul saw this already in his day.  I see it all around me.

It almost seems there is an entire generation described above.  Paul says: “they will not get very far because…their folly will be clear to everyone”.  Unfortunately, with an entire generation behaving like this, it appears as the norm.

Television shows and media portray fathers, police, authority figures as idiots, not worthy of obedience or respect.  More and more our political leaders and sports heroes turn out to be corrupt cheaters.  Some of our children grew up knowing You and were taught Your values, but they have turned away from You in this permissive and deadly society.

But there are many who love You and follow You.  Let them be role models and mentors to this generation and the next.  And let me live a godly life as an example.

I seek and value You and Your characteristics, but sometimes pride and ungratefulness, for example, rear their ugly heads in me.   I have Your Word as my guide.  Your Word is effective for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”   And it will “equip me for every good work.” 

For all of us the answer is in Your Word, and IS Your Word.  Keep it in the forefront of my mind as a guide.  But also let me use it wisely in gently correcting and praying for others.  Father, return this generation of self absorbed, materialistic, pleasure-seeking people to the godly values that will save them.  They have been deceived.

Open their eyes Lord, before it’s too late.  Bring the Prodigal sons and daughters home.  Amen

2 Timothy 2:22-3:17

Oct 8 Worship the Creator not the created

idol-1067151_640Jeremiah points out the worthlessness of the idols that the people made for themselves.  They were made of wood or stone.  They had to be carried from place to place.  They had no awareness and no power.  Yet the people superstitiously bowed down to them.

What a stark contrast to You!  There is “No one like You, Lord”.

You made, literally created, the earth!  You imagined it, and then spoke it into being.  When You speak, it trembles.  When You thunder, the waters storm with hurricane force.  “You are the Creator of everything that exists.”

If I were to worship anything else, I would be as Jeremiah described his people, and the whole human race: “stupid and foolish…without knowledge”.

Jeremiah also encourages me not to fear the predictions of those who look elsewhere for their wisdom.  So I need not be afraid of false prophets, horoscopes or those who seek to divine the future from the stars.  You made the stars.  So I worship the Maker, not what was made.

Paul was in chains for speaking out about who You are.  That is not a current threat where I live.  Help me “be wise in the way I act towards outsiders, and make the most of every opportunity.  Let my conversation be full of grace and seasoned with salt, so that I may know how to answer everyone.”

Show me when to speak, and what to say.  And when to hold my tongue.   So many people are put off of Christianity because of the actions and attitudes of Christians.  Let me be a beacon of light to others as I walk the walk, and talk the talk in grace and love.

Show me what it means to “Devote myself to prayer, being watchful and thankful”.  I strive to express my thanks in prayer and allow time for You to speak to me, not just deliver a list of requests.

Thank You Father, that You, the matchless King of the Universe, hear my prayers.   And thank You that You answer them.  Help me to be watchful for Your answers.  And wait on Your timing.  I trust in the Creator of all things.  Amen

Jeremiah 10:1-16; Colossians 4:2-6

Sept 19 “This is the way…”

road-sign-64059_1280Father, You have described those who do not follow You and those who do.  And unfortunately, I sometimes display the characteristics of both.

You say “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”  And yet there are times when I do not remain quiet and trusting.  “Yet”, You tell me “the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.”

What an amazing God You are!  Even when I am not faithful, You are patient and merciful to me!

Father, You have promised, “As soon as You hear, You will answer me.”  And have said that “my ears will hear a voice behind me saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”  I could ask for nothing more.

Even now, as I call out to You, I know that You can hear my voice and will answer me.  Father, there are circumstances in my life that present options and opportunities, choices.  And I must decide.

Fear would freeze me where I stand, preventing me from moving ahead in any direction.  But I believe that You have wisdom in all these areas.   I believe You have the ability to see into the future, to know which is the right way for me to go.

You also know my past, and the way that You created me, with strengths, gifts, and talents, as well as weaknesses.  So You know what You have already prepared me for, and what is best for me.

Father, I have access to the wisdom of the world.  I have friends who would probably tell me what they think I want to hear.  But I desire to live my life by Your wisdom.

Be the voice that I hear behind me, in my ear, telling me which is the way to walk.  Show me which path to take.  Show me when to wait and when to go forward.  Open my ears and my Spirit so I can hear and understand what You tell me.

And give me the boldness to be obedient to what You tell me.

“And I will sing…my heart will rejoice.”  I will rest in my salvation.  And will remain in quietness and trust.  These will be my strength.  Amen

Isaiah 30:15-21

Aug 27 Help me help and be helped

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Dear Father, everyone has people in their lives who are weak and need help. Help me be aware of those You have placed in my life for me to help.

Sometimes there seem to be so many I am overwhelmed and end up doing nothing, or their needs are so great I feel that the little I can do will not make a difference.

And there are those who take advantage, pretending to be in need when they are not. I rely on You, Lord, to show me what I can do and where I can help. And even if I only do something small it can make a difference in someone’s life.

Father, when I think of You and Your immense power, I am the weak one. So I ask for Your protection. I cannot deal with things more powerful than me; preserve my life. I can see some traps or obstacles but many are invisible. Yet I can trust You to know when I need Your help, even if I don’t know that I do.

Thank You for being there for me when I can see my need and call on You. And thank You for being there for me when I don’t even know I am in need.

Father, my foes are many. Because I live in a fallen world, there are disease and disaster, man’s inhumanity to man, and the evil one lurks seeking to destroy Your believers. In all these things, only You can protect. Thank You that You are my strong deliverer who rescues and restores.   Thank You that You will not let my enemies triumph.

Thank You that You are from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and amen!

Psalm 41:1-3, 13

Aug 26 God of all comfort

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”  

hand-in-hand-1686811_640 Father, over and over I have seen this play out. I have seen someone in an ICU give, then receive, and then give back comfort as the circumstances changed.  We can experience such pain, and yet You know the comfort we need and You place people right there with us.

Sometimes it happens immediately. Sometimes, it may be years before I come across someone who is hurting over something I’ve experienced myself. You remind me of how You helped me through it, and I can help them. Or vice versa. Those past hurts help us reach out and genuinely connect with other people. It’s hard to imagine, but sometimes those places of pain provide a more significant connection than any other experience we have in common.

“We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”  

There are times when there seems to be no place else to turn, and I think all is lost.   And I forget to turn to You – the One who has the real power to help me. When I hear of someone in dire circumstances, I often pray that they will turn to You, Lord. That You would not let the hardship and pain be wasted, but that it would bring them into closer relationship with You.   Partly because I believe there is joy in that relationship no matter what happens. But also because You are the One with the power to help them!

“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril and He will deliver us.  On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers.”  

 You have delivered me in the past. And that in itself gives me hope!  “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name!”

Singing that song, for years I didn’t know what a “sweetest frame” was. It is anything else I might choose to lean on or rely on: another person, a pastor, a president, a doctor, my rights, what seemed fair to me. Everything will collapse under me, except You!

“Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”  

 It does not take “many” to pray to be heard and answered by You. You have answered prayers I have uttered only in my spirit, when alone. But when many pray together, then there are many to praise You, and to thank You for Your answer and good news. It reinstates the hope of many. And builds and strengthens their faith.

Thank You that You are the God of all comfort. Amen!

II Corinthians 1:1-11

July 21 I am chosen!

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Father, what an amazing legacy David left because You chose him!

He was the youngest of all his brothers. Normally that meant he would not be the leader of the family or inherit a large portion from his father. Those were the things that usually brought significance in those times.   But You chose him!

Three of his older brothers went to battle with Saul. They were men’s men, while David cared for the flocks, and spent his days with smelly, stupid, sheep. But You chose him!

Because of Your choosing, he was anointed to deliver his people from the threat of the Philistines. He slayed a giant! Not as a mighty warrior, but as a boy, with a stone and a slingshot. He was humble and would not go against Saul, and was patient and waited on Your perfect timing. He even had to run and hide out time and time again, because Saul chased him down to kill him. But You protected him, because You chose him.

Now we see Solomon, David’s son, completing the work of building the Temple that David had envisioned and prepared for. The desire to build a Temple for Your Name was David’s. And he passed that vision on to his son.

That Temple became the place where all the people would come and bring offerings and sacrifices, and worship You. It was the place where You literally touched earth. Your presence, Your Glory, was actually physically seen and felt as You met with men. It lasted for generations. An amazing legacy, because You chose David. And You showed Your faithfulness, fulfilling all Your promises.

Father, You have also chosen me.  You tell me I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved.” Col 3:12 “I am chosen and dearly loved by Christ to bear his fruit.”   John 15:16

I am no David, but I can know that You will fulfill all Your promises to me too.   Help me look to You, not man or earthly treasures for my inheritance. Remind me to use the gifts You have given me, not idly wish that I had the gifts and talents of others. Teach me to be humble, and to wait on Your perfect timing for everything in my life.  Show me when to back down and rely on Your protection.

Father, help me pass my love of You on to my children and to others around me.   I may not be much by the world’s standards, but let me have a mighty legacy like David. Help me live my life in a way that inspires faith and devotion to You.   “I call on You, Lord, for You will answer me.”   Amen

2 Chronicles 4:1-6:11; Psalm 17:6

Apr 17 Learn from the blind beggar

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“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and answer me.   Thank You for guarding my life. Father, I devote that life to You. You are my God and I am Your servant who trusts You.”

Father, there are so many things I am trusting You for right now. Things that I cannot see how, and have no evidence will ever happen. I guess that’s what faith and trust are all about: believing in what is not yet seen. There are so many hopes and dreams I have that may never come true. Yet I completely trust that if they are what is best for me or my family, You will bring them to be.

Because You make Your servant glad, and bring me joy!   And out of that abundance, I will give glory to Your name.

Lord let me learn from the blind beggar. First, when he heard You were passing by, he knew You could heal him. Father, when I have a need, let me come straight to You confident that You have the desire and the power to help. And remind me to be persistent like he was.

Next, when You asked, he knew exactly what he wanted. Help me see my need for what it is, not hide it or deny it.

And last, when You answer my prayer, as You answered the beggars, let other people see it and praise You!

I praise You Lord, with all my heart, as I bring my requests to You. I ask for Your strength when I am under attack. When I am discouraged let me feel Your presence. Increase my faith as I learn truth from Your Word and apply it to my life. Guide me in Your wisdom, and give me discernment.   Let me always honor and revere You.

Thank You that I can call on You when I am in trouble. I know You will answer me. For all this and more, I thank You Lord. Amen

Psalm 86:1-17; Luke 18:35-42