Tag: prayer

June 19 Your Word, Your Spirit, Your Voice

God's Word 3Precept??Father, how amazing that You spoke through prophets to Israel’s kings to give them direction, correction, even advice on successful battle plans!  You sent specific word to Ahab that he should fight against the 33 kings and their armies and chariots assembled.  You told him who should lead the attack, when, and who would win.

I often wish there were such easily discernible ways I could hear from You.  If only You would send me an email, or write across the sky to inform me about decisions or concerns I face.

And then I realizeYou have written me a letter – It’s Your Holy Word- the Bible!

If I take the time to read it, often things become clear.  If I had never read the Bible, I wouldn’t know that in it, You have already included instructions for godly, moral living.

You have made Yourself very clear on many topics that relate to me today.  Instead of hearing of and memorizing only scattered verses, I need to know the entirety of what You have to say to me.

So, reading Your word is a start.  Studying it for a deeper understanding is also important.  Then connecting the dots to how what You have said impacts my life, is crucial.

Some Bible study methods have big words for this: observation, interpretation, application.  Very simply, it is asking:

What are You saying? 

What does it mean? 

What does it mean to me?

So a big part of the burden to hear from You is on me to listen to what You have already said.

But to help me even more, You have given every believer the Holy Spirit.

Part of the Holy Spirit’s job is to help me understand, apply, and live by what Your Word says to me.  I need to pay attention to what it is telling me, and be obedient, not ignore, discard, or drown out what I hear.

Thank You that I can hear from You just as specifically as those who heard the prophets speak.  You have given me so much more so I can know You and understand You.

Thank You for Your Word.  Thank You for the Holy Spirit.

Help me make reading and studying Your Word a priority for my time and energy.  And do not let me quench the Holy Spirit.

And thank You that I can even talk to You personally in prayer.  And know that You hear me.  And that You answer.  What an awesome God!  Amen

I Kings 20:1-22

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

June 13 You still and quiet my soul

Father, how often do I come before You in prayer feeling so overwhelmed by life?

There are some times when I feel like things are going well.  I feel in the center of Your will and I have no concerns.  I am blessed in the sense of peace all around me.

There are times when I have small issues that are so easy for You to show me solutions.  They may take time and action, but are easily handled with Your help.

And then there are times when I am so anxious over circumstances that I lay my heart open for You to see and heal.  I prepare for battle with Your armor and You send me out with marching orders against the enemy.  And I am victorious!

But sometimes, when I see the overwhelming personal issues: illness, death; and larger ones that ravage the world, my country, Your people: suffering, hunger, corruption, oppression, injustice, terrorism, to name a few; I am overcome by how small I am and how helpless I feel. 

mother-2605132_640These are the times I come to You and lay my head on Your shoulder.  I wrap my arms around You, bury my face in Your robes and nuzzle in, breathing in Your power, and Your peace.

I am calmed, because I know that You are in control.  I understand that this is not a battle You have called me to, but that You have it completely in hand.  And I need not worry about it.

These verses describe what I feel:

“My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.  But I have stilled and quieted my soul like weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”

I know there are things You deal with that are too big for me to even be a part of.  And like a child who no longer breastfeeds, when that child goes to its mother, there is no physical hunger to be satisfied –only peace and calm derived from the safety and security the mother offers.

That’s what I feel in You.  I know that the world is in Your capable hands, and I can rest contented.  You are my hope, now and forevermore.

Thank You for this lovely picture.   And for being the One I can trust and rest in.  Amen

Psalm 131:1-3

June 12 Thank You

O Lord, hear my voice.  Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. 

If You, Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? 

But with You there is forgiveness.”

banner-949932_640Thank You Lord, that You hear my voice and my prayer.  Thank You that one of Your qualities is omnipresence: You can be everywhere at once.

I never have to worry that You are too busy, or that I have to wait on the other people in the world for You to be listening and responding to me.  Thank You that in the quietness of my heart, I can turn to You anytime and You are there.

Thank You that when I turn from my sin and ask for forgiveness, You remove my sin from me and never bring it up again.

People remind me of my failures and mistakes, some more than others.  But with You, there is never a backhanded comment, or dredging up my past faults.   When You forgive, it is over and done with.

Thank You for knowing that no one can stand when compared to Your standard and example of perfection without Your covering of mercy and righteousness.  And thank You for providing exactly that in the blood You shed on the cross.   It completely pays the penalty my sins deserve.

“In Your Word I put my hope.”  Its promises are true.  Its instruction is sure.   Father, bring my loved ones to put their hope in You too.   In You, they will find unfailing love and full redemption.  Turn their hearts back to You.  Open their eyes to Your truth.

Pull back the veil of lies and deceit they have believed.  Rip away the evil one’s trickery and schemes that have drawn them away from You.  Help them see that You alone can redeem them.  I wait in anticipation of their deliverance and salvation.  Amen

Psalm 130:1-8

June 11 Still our prayer today

prayer-708389_640O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth below – You who keep Your covenant of love with Your servants who continue wholeheartedly in Your way.  You have kept Your promises…with Your mouth You have promised and with Your hand You have fulfilled it – as it is today.” 

“The heavens, even the highest heaven cannot contain Youyet give attention to Your servant’s prayer and plea for mercy, O Lord my God.  Hear the cry and the prayer that Your servant is praying in Your presence today.”

“When Your people (I) sin against You – for there is no one who does not sin – …and when they (I) have a change of heart…”and turn back to You with all their (my) heart and soul…then from heaven, Your dwelling place, hear their (my) prayer and plea and forgive…all the offenses.”

Praise be to the Lord!  Not one word has failed of all the good promises You gave through Your servant Moses.”  You are with me; You will never leave me or forsake me.  Turn my heart to You to be fully committed to walk in all Your ways and keep Your commands.  May You uphold my cause, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and there is no other!  Amen!

The words of Solomon at the dedication of the Temple

I Kings 8:10-61

June 8 Thank You for the people in my life

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Father, help me be more like Solomon.  When You told him “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.”  He was not quick with a Christmas list of desired material possessions.  Even before You granted him wisdom beyond all human possibility, he answered wisely.

He began by acknowledging Your kindness and faithfulness to his father David.  He focused on You, and what You had already done in his life.  Then he presented himself humbly – as an individual and as a ruler.  He recognized the enormity of both the blessing and the responsibility You had given him.  And in the face of this, he asked for wisdom.

Let this be a pattern for my prayer life as well.

Lord, I truly acknowledge Your faithfulness to me.  I can’t begin to understand all the pieces You brought into place for my being here now, as one of Your children.

How interconnected are the lives of the people You orchestrated to impact my life: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, friends, Sunday school teachers, teachers, coaches, acquaintances, co-workers.  You not only coordinated who they were and how they influenced me, but where they were, as I moved across the country almost every year growing up.  That blows my mind!

You have blessed me in the roles I play to others: daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, wife, mother, friend, teacher, labor coach, and in the intimate way I have been able to relate to people at significant times in their lives.  I feel very inadequate to fill the needs of the people You give me opportunities to minister to.  On my own, I cannot do it.

Give me a discerning heart to speak to and relate to those You bring into my life.  Help me distinguish between right and wrong and be able to speak the truth in love into their lives as I live my life according to Your guidance.   Show me when to speak and when to keep silent.  Show me how to share the understanding You have given me when it comes to teaching and encouraging others.

Father, thank You for the blessing of all those You have brought into my life.  Help me care for them in Your love, in Your strength, and in Your name.  Amen

I Kings 3:4-9

June 6 By God’s Power

God in control

“Sovereign Lord, You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Your servant David when he said ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?  The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One.’.”

It was true in David’s time that the Philistines and others came and attacked Your people who were led by the men You had anointed to rule them.  Again, when You came to Israel in the flesh, the High Priest and Sanhedrin plotted against You to have You killed.

And today, many other religions are set against You and Your believers with plans of destruction.  Even more, the culture I live in does not embrace a Biblical worldview, but is focused on material gain, social success, political intrigue and self-gratification.

The prayer of Your disciples is a great guide for me.

First, they acknowledged that You were and are in control“They did what Your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”  In David’s time, in Your time here on earth, and now in my life, You are in control.  When things aren’t going well, I sometimes forget that.

Thank You for the reminder that I don’t have to worry that something is going to slip by You unnoticed.  You know all things.  You do not sit wringing Your hands wondering what to do next.  I can trust that not only is Your plan advancing, but Your plan is the best one for me.  Your power and Your will have already determined beforehand, what is best.

Next, their prayer was to enable Your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness.”   What a courageous prayer!  The disciples had just been told by the religious leaders NOT to speak of You, and they had the courage to say they would prefer to obey You, rather than obey man.

Show me Lord, when I should speak.  And as I open my mouth, fill it with Your words.  And then close it when I am to remain silent.

And then, asked for Your power and glory to be displayed! “Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.”  What I see is that the stage is set right now for You to do a miracle!

Let the people of my generation see that You are a miracle-working God.  Let them see how much You care for them, and want to have a personal relationship with them.  When things work out, let them see and acknowledge Your hand in their lives, and turn to You!

This was a powerful prayer for the disciples.  I ask it would also be for me.  Amen

Acts 4:1-31

May 28 Your Protection

jesus_prays_for_us

Lord God, thank You for praying for me.  Thank You for looking into the future and identifying “those who would believe in You through their [the disciples] message.”

Thank You for protecting me by the power of Your name because I am Yours.

Thank You for praying for me Yourself, personally; not to take me out of this world, but to protect me from the evil one in this world.   That includes the arrogant who dig pitfalls for me trying to entrap me by their political intrigues, their social agendas, and their false philosophies that are contrary to what You teach in Your Word.

It includes those who would persecute me because they hate You, and those who want to see me wiped from the earth.  And the wicked, waiting to destroy me, my health, my finances, my relationships, and defeat my spirit.  Thank You that You have the power to preserve my life and all these things according to Your love.

When I do not feel strong help me remember Your Word.  Your Word is eternal.  Its promises are true forever.

Just as the earth You created still stands, Your truth still stands.  Your faithfulness and love are steadfast and boundless.  Thank You for the encouragement of Your prayer for me.  And for the protection I have in You.  Amen

John 17:6-26; Psalm 119:89-96

May 8 Make me like Samuel

bible-coffeedrawnearLord God, make me as Samuel. 

Samuel was only a child here, but he grew up in Your presence. You were with him and he felt it. Sensitize my heart, my eyes, my ears; to see You at work, to hear Your voice, to feel Your presence. 

Father, You know everything about me, even my thoughts.  Help me grow in awareness that You are with me wherever I go.   Let me recognize where You are, and see Your purpose in having me where I am.  

And let that be both a powerful deterrent and an awesome reassurance.

Samuel heard Your voice, and although he did not understand it all at first, he answered and was obedient.  Father, when I hear Your voice, let my response also be “Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening.” 

Reveal Yourself to me through Your Word: the Bible.  Don’t let me read Your scripture and walk away unchanged.  But let Your words sink deep into my spirit and mind.  Let them take root in my life and be the foundation for all I do and all I am. 

Let me hear You speak to me through nature, Your creation.  And as I pray.  And through other believers.  And in visions. And through my circumstances.

Help me set my priorities so I spend time in Your Word every day.  Every day let me make time to listen for Your voice.  And then let my actions, attitudes and words show other people that I have spent time with You

Let hearing Your voice change me. And like Samuel, let me grow in stature and in favor with You and with men.  Amen

I Samuel 2:26; 3:1-19

Apr 21 Obey Your Word, Walk in Your Presence

In today’s scripture, You give two passages that tell me how to be blessed.  I acknowledge and desire to follow those instructions.

ljqedqamani-ben-white1 – Lord, help me “be very strong; to be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.  I will not associate with those who do not follow You by invoking the names of their gods or swear by them.  I will not serve them or bow down to them.  I will hold fast to You.” 

Lord, I can only be careful to obey Your Word if I know Your Word.  So I will read it and study to understand it.  I will pray and ask for understanding when I am confused or in doubt.

I will not ever call upon the names of other gods, because there is no other God but You.  There is none like You.  There is no other name under heaven by which I am saved.

Your power alone created the universe.  I will worship You alone, and seek Your direction and wisdom for my life.

2 – tells me “blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence.”

Father, I give glory to Your name only, because of who You are and what You have done.  You are Most Holy God.  You are all-powerful and all-knowing.  You created the heavens and the earth.

You created man and set him in this place to have fellowship with You.  When he broke that fellowship by sinning, You made a way of reconciling man to You: through Your blood on the cross.  And because I accept that gift I can walk in the light of Your presence once again.

The light of Your presence is where truth is revealed, nothing is hidden, nothing is feared.  Your presence dispels darkness.  To be present with You is to talk with You and listen to You – Your responses to my prayers, in Your Word and through the Holy Spirit.  It is to rest in You, fearing nothing.

I rejoice in Your name.  I trust in Your righteousness.  You are my protection, my King, the Holy One.   And I am blessed.  Amen

Joshua 23:6-11; Psalm 89:15-18

Apr 17 Learn from the blind beggar

boy-2026186_640“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 nowthings that I cannot see, and have no evidence will ever happen.  I guess that’s what faith is 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 with me when I feel discouraged.

I exalt You for teaching me truth from Your Word and showing me how to apply it to my life; which increases 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 86:1-13; Luke 18:35-42

Apr 16 Your Voice, not the world’s

Lord, let me and let my sons be like Caleb and Joshua.

ToHear God's VoiceThey spied out the Promised Land and saw all the goodness there.   They also saw the enemy for who they were, but knew that You would give victory and deliver them according to Your Word.

They held to their convictions and lived a long life receiving all You had promised.  Even in their old age, they were strong and vigorous because they served You wholeheartedly.

Help  us not listen to the world or the voices of the enemy who wants us to be discouraged and overwhelmed.  Draw us to seek out Your promises and hold to those even in the face of trials and trouble.  Let us see Your hand at work in our lives.

Remind us that when we serve You, we will receive all You promise.  Your will, Your plan will not be thwarted.  Even in my old age, help me be faithful, and I will be blessed and receive an inheritance from You.

Father, let me also be like the widow who made her plea to the judge so persistently that she received the justice she wanted.  Let my faith be unstoppablenot giving up, but lifting my concerns and needs to You in prayer.

When You return, let me be found faithful, continuing in prayer, not being dissuaded by circumstances or the influences of this world.

Lord, keep me and my loved ones mindful that my only righteousness comes from You, so I will not look down on anyone else, but remain humble.  I am ever dependent on You, on Your mercy and on Your grace for my life and all that I have.

Thank You for Your faithfulness – to warriors, to widows, to me.  Amen

Joshua 14:6-15; Luke 18:1-14

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 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

Mar 18 Heaven or Earth?

O Lord, what a wonderful and confusing prayer here from David.

I’m not exactly sure of his meaning; but like many prayers, it shows the divided interests and longings of many believers.

On one hand, I have been through a lot.  As a nation we have been through a LOT right now.  Life is challenging, and sometimes I want to just give up. Like David says: “my heart grows faint.”  I feel anxious to be done with this earthly life and all its problems.  “I long to dwell in Your tent forever.”

Thinking about that, all pain and suffering would be over in heaven.  No more battles to fight.  I would be in the presence of my Lord and Savior.  What could possibly be better!

heaven or earthOn the other hand, You have given me blessings here, Lord.  I desire to fulfill all You have planned for me, and bring glory and honor to Your name here on earth.  And hopefully bring many to a saving knowledge of You while doing it.

So I echo “increase the days of my life, my years for many generations.”  How awesome would it be to see my children grown and serving the Lord, and grandchildren, and great grand children!

Bottom line: I trust You with all my days.  Whether here on earth or with You in heaven, I rely on You and Your perfect will to know the length of my days, and prepare me for them.

I thank You that You knew all my days before even one of them came to be.  And that no power can take away even one hour You have promised me.  I trust in, and rest in, Your power and Your wisdom, Your mercy, and Your plan.  Amen

Psalm 61:1-8

Mar 12 God is with us

jackson-lake-80570_640“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you”

How many times, O Lord, have I seen You sustain me during times of stress and trouble?  You have proven Yourself reliable over and over again.

Sometimes when I cast my cares on You, You actually change my circumstances, so the cause of my worry disappears.  That is always appreciated, and often the solution I am seeking.   But there are many other ways You ”sustain” me!

At times You don’t change the circumstances, but You change my perspective.  You allow me to see things from a different view.  It’s like when a toddler runs to their mother and is picked up and held in her arms.  The child can see from a higher, safer perspective than from the height of a child.   Looking down from that height, the bad things don’t look so big and overwhelming.

Another way You sustain me is by simply being with me.  Maybe the circumstances don’t change, and my perspective is the same; but the fact that You are near me, encouraging me, comforting me, reminding me that You are in control and that I can trust You, is what gets me through the hard time.

Sometimes You distract me with a blessing in one part of my life that so outweighs the rest, the worry fades in significance.

Sometimes You teach me to choose my battles, and show me that in relation to the bigger picture, I can let go of this worry.

 At other times You impress upon me the lessons I’m learning in dealing with the hardship actually outweigh the difficulty in getting through it.

And still other times You create a surprise ending through the struggle that works out even better than I could have ever imagined!

It is still not easy when challenges and troubles come.  Truth be told, I’d prefer to avoid them altogether.  But You have shown me that You can work good out of anything when I trust You.  I know that no matter what, You will sustain me.

YOU – the all-mighty, all-knowing Creator God, who has the power and resources of the universe at His disposal, will sustain me.

You WILLa certainty because of Your faithfulness to Your promises and Your unchangeable character and Your unfailing love for me, sustain me.

You will SUSTAINkeep, preserve, defend, support and encourage, zealously guard and treasure, me

You will sustain MEYour child, Your servant, one who loves and worships and believes in and trusts in You.

YOU WILL SUSTAIN ME!  And I will praise You!  Thank You.  Amen

Psalm 55:22

Mar 7 Follow the Leader

Lord, I love how You are always available to me.  I can come to You any time to ask for wisdom and direction. There is no question too big or too small for You to answer.   And You never make me feel bad for asking.

cloud-pillar_imgarcade.comThe Israelites came and inquired of You through Moses about a problem for some wanting to celebrate the Lord’s Passover.  And You told them exactly what to do.  Not only did You answer their question, but Your presence was visible in the camp as a cloud over the Tabernacle.  When You remained, the people remained where You were.  When Your presence moved, they moved.

How I would love to have my own pillar of cloud appear before me and stay with me to direct my path!

Then I would know precisely if I were in Your perfect will or if I were ever in danger of straying from it.  I would know when to move on and when to stay put.  There would be no question of misinterpreting what You were telling me.

And what an accountability factor!  If I were not near the pillar, everyone would know it was me who had moved away – who chose not follow.

In Psalm 50:15 You tell me to call on You in the day of trouble and You will deliver.  Again showing Your availability and desire to respond when I ask.  I can trust that You, the mighty Creator of the universe, are available to help me, whenever, wherever, however a need arises.

Thank You for being ready with whatever I need.  And for knowing what I need even when I do not.

I am so grateful to have a God who hears, who is able, who is available, and who is willing.  Amen.

Numbers 9:1-23; Psalm 50:15

Mar 3 Hosanna!

Oh Lord, how wonderful it would have been to be one of the people who shouted to You “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”

And to lay down palm branches and watch You ride onto Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.  What a prophetic time to live in.

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picture from LumoProject.com

I can just imagine the excitement of the moment, and the expectation of the people as they wondered if You really could be the Messiah.

Hosanna!  Waving my arms in the air, swaying with the crowd; having heard the stories of Your miracles and healing:

Water into wine!
Walking on water!
Healing with a touch, a word!
Raising the dead!
These must be signs of a long-awaited deliverance for our people!

But were these the same people who only a few days later called “Crucify Him!” and watched as You were led away?

How is it Jesus, that so near the end of Your time here, You are still to be found teaching.  Whole crowds were amazed at Your words when You threw out the money changers, enraging the chief priests and teachers of the law.

Thank You for teaching me one more time about prayer.  Your words remind me that I need to ask in faith, believing.  And that I need to ask according to Your will.  And that I need to be forgiving so I can be forgiven.

“You are my refuge!  And my strength!  My ever-present help in times of trouble.  Therefore, I will not fear.”  Amen

Mark 11:1-24; Psalm 46:1-2

Mar 2 Selfless Savior

clasped-hands-541849_640Lord Jesus, You amaze me! 

Walking on Your way to Jerusalem, You have just told the disciples that You are going to be personally betrayed.  Following that, You will be condemned to death, mocked and spit on, flogged and finally killed.   Your disciples respond by asking You to do them a favor – and a selfish one at that!

Then, as You come to the city of Jericho, You take time to heal a blind man calling out by the side of the road.  Amazing!

I would think that foremost in Your mind, would be the terrible death You are about to face.  I would think You would want some understanding, sympathy, comfort from those around You.  Yet I find You seeing to the needs of others, teaching them about servanthood, and healing a stranger.

Even in a time of personal need, You give more than anyone else possibly could.  You take Your eyes off Yourself and put them on others.  You use Your power to teach and to heal for the benefit of others. Again, You amaze me!

I wonder, did the disciples hear what You were saying, but think to themselves, “Yeah, but it will probably work out differently when we get there – this can’t be right?”   What else would explain their insensitivity?

Father, let this be a lesson to me to be present with people around me who are hurting.  When they tell me of their hardship, let me be comforting and encouraging.

Remind me to lift them up in prayer.  For although I probably won’t be able to solve their concerns, You most certainly can.

And even when I am hurting, don’t let me ignore others around me who are also hurting, like the blind man You healed.  Again, I cannot heal, but I can direct them to You – the One who always has the patience, the desire and the ability to help.

I am so glad You are my Savior, my Healer, my Father, my Friend.  Amen

Mark 10:32-52

Feb 21 Healing and Forgiveness

Dear Father, even though You no longer walk this earth in the flesh, Your power is still present hereEach believer has the Holy Spirit and can call on You in prayer to effect Your purposes.

prayer-888757_1920So we bring our loved ones and the people of the earth before You.  We ask for healing from physical ailments.  And for an end to suffering, whether at the hands of ungodly persecutors, or by the powers of this present darkness that work for the evil one.

We ask for salvation to come to those who are lost and in need of a Savior.  Lord, be the light in their lives that heals and frees and saves.

Like Jairus, I put my faith in Your power to touch and heal.   You are a God of miracles.

I also realize that when I intercede, or pray on behalf of others, I need to be clean before You.  Unconfessed sin can get in the way of our communication.  David says that his sin caused health to leave his body, guilt to overwhelm him.

I too need to confess my sin before You and ask forgiveness.  Show me the sin in my life Lord, and as I agree with You and turn from it, cleanse me anew.

Thank You for Your forgiveness.  Thank You for purifying me from all sin’s unrighteousness.  Thank You for allowing me, like Jairus, to ask in faith for Your healing.

Help me pray in Your will, because I trust that Your will is the absolute best for each of us.  And help me rest in Your answers and Your timing.  Amen

Mark 5:21-43; 1 John 1:8-9

Feb 18 Living A to Z

ffzjspuwc_i-diomari-madularaFather, help me embody the alphabetical list of traits in this Psalm.

In his old age David gives us instructions for living.  Of course the Hebrew Alephbet goes from Aleph to Tav, not A to Z, but what was true then is still true now.

It’s hard to see evil people prosper knowing that the wrong they do causes harm to others.  And when they seem to be getting away with it, I wonder where Your justice is.

But as David says, “like the grass, they will soon wither.”  And I must wait on Your justice, which will come.  My responsibility is to do what You have told me to do and live how You have shown me to live.  This is what I am accountable for.

As I trust in You Lord, help me do good to others whenever it is within my power to do so.  Let me find my delight in You, and not be envious of others’ ill-gotten gain.

Help me commit my way to You so I look to You for guidance and direction and not toward my own selfish gain.  Several times I’ve been in circumstances where I was wronged and had a defensible position to press for my rights. I did not speak out because I trusted in You to fight for my cause.

It was hard to do, but You did not fail me.  In time the truth came to light without my having to say a word.  You defended me and my rightness was made even more evident because it was not me who spoke out.

Help me be still before You and wait patiently.  Even when I feel I’m justified in fighting.  Being “still” here means don’t move and don’t make a noise.  So help me not make a move without Your direction, and not rant or rave or carry on.

Remind me that prayer is a mighty weapon.   Help me pray for myself, the situation, and for my enemies to come to a saving knowledge of You, and stop their evil ways.

Help me turn away from anger and wrath.  One kind of anger boils over into uncontrolled lashing out.  Another kind seethes, simmering under the surface plotting and planning revenge, building up, until the perceived hurt is blown out of proportion.

Both of these responses are damaging to me.  I need to remember that vengeance is Yours, not mine.

Following these instructions will allow me to live in peaceMeekness is not weakness.  But it is power under controlHelp me live a Holy Spirit-controlled life.  Amen

Psalm 37:1-11

Feb 15 Me? A Disciple?

picture0223Holy Father, may I be like those You called to follow You as disciples.  May I be willing to leave my family, my occupation to go with You wherever You lead me, leaving behind the security I would lean on in place of You.

Although I was not present in Capernaum when You began teaching with such authority, let me learn from the amazing lessons in Your Word.

You have given me the Holy Spirit to teach me, correct me, guide me.  Make me sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Help me listen to godly wisdom when it comes to opportunities and circumstances; not just take the easy way, or most logical way.  I will call on You, and seek the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Though I may not have seen You perform miracles in Galilee, You have answered prayers and done miraculous things in my life and in the lives of others I know.  Let me be bold about sharing those experiences and so spread the word as Your disciples did.

“I have the assurance that You will contend with those who contend with me and will fight against those who fight against me.
You will take up shield and buckler, arise and come to my aid.
You will brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me.
You will disgrace and put to shame those who seek to ruin my life; and turn back in dismay those who plot my ruin.“

As David wrote these words about the men who were literally seeking his life, I seek Your deliverance from the oppression of the powers of this present darkness at work in the world today; from the spiritual forces at work against You, and so also against me as I live in Your light.

“My soul rejoices in You.  I delight in Your salvation.”  I place my complete trust in You, for there is none like You.  I know that “Your wisdom will reward me.”  Thank You for being my Savior.  Amen

Mark 1:16-28; Psalm 35:1-4,9; Proverbs 9:11

Feb 13 I will testify and praise You

worship-435108_640So many prophecies fulfilled just in today’s verses from Matthew, Lord. 

In so many ways, You made good on Your Word to send a specific deliverer by a specific pre-ordained way: a Savior who would be the Lamb of God and take away the sin of the world, if we would just accept and believe. 

These were not easy promises to fulfill.  They were quite costlyJesus paid the ultimate price with His very life, in a painful and torturous way.  And even after His death, more prophecies were satisfied.  

So many people, so many years, so many ways the plan could miss the mark, be off the prophecy just a bit.  But You brought Your plan down through the ages to fruition.  You accomplished the saving of man’s soul and his reconciliation to Yourself.

For these reasons as well as Your faithfulness, Your trustworthiness to Your promises, Your Sovereignty and power in accomplishing all You set out to do, I will extol You!”

According to a dictionary, that means I will praise You, exalt You, commend, admire and worship You.  I will tell others of You with highest recommendations.   “Your praise will always be on my lips.  My soul will boast in You!“

I will invite others to glorify You and lift up Your name with me in song, in prayer, to other believers and to anyone who will listen. 

I will tell them how You heard my prayers and saved friends and family from illness and injuries, how You protected them from bad decisions and bad people and bad situations.  I will share how friends at death’s door were returned to their loved ones, and how in Your mercy, others were spared from terrible pain. 

I will let them know that You are in the business of revealing wisdom when I ask for help making decisions and don’t know the way to go.  When I have felt trapped, You made a way out of the situation I had never thought of or considered. 

I will recall times when I was too afraid of what was about to happen, but You gave me peace and the courage to make it through by giving me songs, or visions, or specific scriptures to help. 

I will share how there were times when I thought things were going so wrong, but You worked them out and brought blessings out of them I never thought were possible.

These are the things, the testimonies that I have tasted, and have proven over and over again that You are good

Thank You – for being there for me every time I knew I needed You.  And thank You Lord for being there for me when I didn’t even know I was in need.  Amen

Matthew 27:32-66; Psalm34:1-8

Feb 9 not my will…

olive and meLord God, what a blessing You gave me to be able to travel to Israel, to see the city of Jerusalem, and to walk into the Garden of Gethsemane!  I am forever changed by that gift.  It was amazing! 

On one hand, as a tourist, it seemed historically and intellectually reasonable to be seeing structures and walls that stood in Jesus’ time.  But as I sat, looking at two of the very olive trees that were standing in the garden when You were there, I marveled.  Utterly amazing!

To see something that was alive, living then, and still alive and living now was incredible.  To think that I was in the presence of something that had been alive in Your presence here on earth…

In the quiet, my thoughts were drawn back to the night You came to pray the “not my will but Thine” prayer.  I reread that passage in Matthew that described that sorrowful and troubled plea.

Jesus laid all His personal potential down.  Father, I have hopes and dreams, goals, desires.   I desire to honor You with what I do.  I thought of what my biggest possible plan could be, all the potential I have, and how it would bring glory to You, thinking, if You would just make it happen…

And then I realized something:  if Jesus, with all the ability and power and potential that He possessed, (and He could have called ten thousand angels and made a spectacle the world had never seen before!)  was willing to put it all aside for God the Father’s holy and perfect will for His life; how can I do less?

What is there that I could possibly think of to do, that would be better than anything Jesus could have done?  And He could have done literally ANYthing!  Yet Jesus laid it all down to take up God the Father’s purpose.

I must do the same.   And so echo those words:  “not my will, Lord, but Thine.”

Jesus had the unlimited and infinite capability to accomplish whatever He wanted.  And He gave it all up to accept Your plan.  I have a very limited and puny capability for setting and accomplishing goals.

So rather than asking You to bless whatever plan I may be able to think up, I ask that You would show me the plan You have for this portion of my life.

And give me the courage and strength required to live it in a way that will bring You glory.  Amen.

Matthew 26:36-46

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 21 It’s all perspective

woman-790590_1920Holy 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 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 far better ways 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

Jan 7 The Lord’s Prayer

religious-316272_1280Dear Father and Creator of us all, who dwells in heaven and whose name is holy, I pray for Your will and Your kingdom to be manifested here on earth as it already is in heaven where You reign.

Bless me with all I need today.  I trust that You know better than I do, what that is.  I gratefully accept what comes from Your hand.

Forgive my sin against You and others [specifically say the sins you repent of] and help me be forgiving of those who have sinned against me.

Lead me away from whatever or whoever would tempt me; and rescue me from evil.

I worship You, honor You, and give You glory.  Yours is the power eternally.  Amen

Matthew 6:9-13

Jan 5 You hear my voice…

praying-614374_1920“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation.”

This is the substance of my prayer today.  I lay myself and my loved ones, one by one before You, asking for Your hand to be at work in each of these relationships, and in our circumstances.

Father, You know what each of us needs better than I do, so work in each of our lives to bring about Your perfect will.

Where we have set our own will in opposition to Yours – set us back on Your path.

Some of our bodies need a physical healing; some a spiritual one.  Heal us.

Where there has been rebellion, turn our spirits to You.

Where our hearts are hard, soften them.

Give us Your help and direction.

Where there is disappointment or despair, give us a realization of Your blessings in our lives.

Where our troubles are the result of bad choices, show us those mistakes. Teach us to learn from them so they are not wasted.

Where we are wrestling with spiritual forces, rulers, principalities, authorities, and powers of this dark world and in the heavenly realms; destroy them Lord! Declare them as guilty O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their sins and rebellion against You.

We take refuge in You, and in Your mighty power! You have the resources, the authority, and the power to achieve even more than I can ask or even imagine.

Spread Your protection over us. Surround us with Your favor as with a shield. I wait for Your hand to be made visible in the lives of my family and myself so that I can see and rejoice in You and sing for joy!

We love Your Name O Lord. Jehovah! Yahweh! Jesus! Messiah! For there is no other name by which we can be saved! Amen

Psalm 5:1-12

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

Dec 31 Alpha and Omega

O Father, You are “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”  You are faithful to Yourself, by Your Word and by Your actions.  You are faithful to Your creation and to me.

Alpha OmegaYou existed at the beginning of all things, and You will be there at the end of all things as I know them.  You will create a new heaven and a new earth.

Malachi talks about that day when the righteous will be healed and the evil set on fire.  John, the same: the righteous will live with You, seeing Your face, and the evil are thrown into the lake of fire.

Father, You have been faithful to me each and every day this year.  Each day, You have shown me in Your Word how to pray: from the first day of the year to the last, from the beginning of Your Word, to the end.  Thank You!

I am both amazed at Your faithfulness to me, and at the same time, not surprised by it.  And now, I have felt the blessing of it personally.  Thank You Father, for walking through each day of this year with me. 

Thank You for leading me through Your Word in such a meaningful way.

 “I praise You Father in Your sanctuary” – under the sky You created, in the forest and in the open, I kneel before Your great presence and acknowledge Your authority.  I lift my voice to give glory to You.

In every person I see Your creativity and diversity.  In every bird and flower and creature, I observe Your infinite imagination.  In the cycle of seasons, I marvel at Your ingenuity.

I cannot wait to see You face to face and live with You throughout eternity.  I believe “You are coming soon.  Come!  Come Lord Jesus!”  Amen

Malachi 4:1-6; Revelation 22:12-21; Psalm 150:1-6

Dec 11 You are the One

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.

michelangelo-71282_1280

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

Dec 2 Your Word – still our prayer

 Father, these exact these words of Daniel, oddly enough, seem to apply to my country and me in these times.   America has enjoyed Your blessing and protection, but her people have turned away from You and Your values.

Judgment and punishment are at our doorstep, and our only hope is to return to You.  If we do not, I fear a great judgment is coming our way.  So using the very words of Daniel, “I pray to You, the Lord my God and confess:

foundingfathersprayLord, the great and awesome God, who keeps Your covenant of love with those who love You and keep Your commandments, we have sinned and done wrong.  We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from Your commands and laws.   We have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our [government officials], our [spiritual leaders] and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.

“Lord, You are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people [Your believers] and the inhabitants of [our cities] and all [America], both near and far…because of our unfaithfulness to you.   We and our [government officials], our [spiritual leaders] and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against You.   

You, the Lord our God are merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against You; we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws You gave us through Your servants the prophets.   All [America] has transgressed Your law and turned away, refusing to obey You.

Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, [we are in danger of them being] poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.   You [will fulfill] the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster.  Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem.  [And we are in danger of the same fate.] 

Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster [will] come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to Your truth.  You [will] not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for You, the Lord our God are righteous in everything You do; yet we have not obeyed You.

Now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for Yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.   Lord, in keeping with all Your righteous acts, turn away Your anger and Your wrath from [America]. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made [America] and Your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of Your servants.  For Your sake, Lord, look with favor on [America].   Give ear, our God, and hear; open Your eyes and see the desolation of the [country] that [has borne] Your Name. 

We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy.   Lord, listen!  Lord, forgive!  Lord, hear and act!  For Your sake, my God, do not delay, because [America] and your people bear your Name.”  Amen

Daniel 9:1-17

Nov 29 Let me be like Daniel

You are the Living God and You endure forever; Your kingdom will not be destroyed, Your dominion will never endYou rescue and You save; You perform signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.  You have rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” 

Daniel lion denO Father, do for me what You did for Daniel!  When forces come against me with contrived plans for my demise, save me from their evil strategies!  Deliver me from whatever punishment they seek to be my end.  Put people in my life who will come to my defense like King Darius, and will pay back my enemies.

Let me be like Daniel.   Make me steadfast in my faith, recognizing You are worthy to be worshipped no matter the social or political climate.  Help me be faithful to pray, trusting in You no matter what.

An interesting point is that Daniel was in his eighties when he was thrown into the lion’s den.  This means that since he was taken captive as a boy in his teens, he never lost faith in You! 

He continued his prayer life and godly lifestyle all throughout his years.  He remained a man of integrity and faith.  Even those jealous of his position found him to be trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.”  Let this be true of me also.

A time is coming when lawless, ungodly men will be judged.  As the flood destroyed the earth once, You will destroy it again by fire.  But I will see a new heaven and a new earth created by Your hand.

As I await that day I want to live, like Daniel, a holy and godly life.

In the Words of the Psalmist: Direct my footsteps according to Your Word; let no sin rule over meMake Your face shine upon Your servant and teach me Your decrees.”

Father, this is how I can live the life I desire.  With Your help, I can grow in Your grace and knowledge.  Amen

Daniel 6:1-28; II Peter 3:1-13; Psalm 119:133-135

Nov 27 Your Gifts

“Your divine power has given [me] everything [I] need for a godly life…”  “You have given [me] Your very great and precious promises…”

Thank You Father, that I have all that I need:

box-159630_640prayer as a way to hear from and talk to You
Your Word as a guidebook.
the Holy Spirit who reveals spiritual truth to me

You have promised me:

Your eternal love
Your constant presence
Your faithfulness
Your protection
Your provision

All this because You are my personal Savior.

Help me live in the light of these gifts.  And nurture qualities that will lead me to be effective and productive.  Peter tells me these qualities are: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness and love.  Some of these are the Fruit of the Spirit and will grow in me as I am obedient to Your Spirit’s leading.  Help me embrace opportunities for each of these qualities to grow in my life.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Your Word, the Scriptures, are that light for me.  When I am not sure which option is best, Your Word tells me Trust in the Lord with all Your heart and lean not on Your own understanding.”

When I feel frustrated with some results, You tell me Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [you] will reap a harvest…”  Or when I feel discouraged, alone and depressed, You tell me “I have carried you since your birth…I will continue to be with you and sustain you, even when you have gray hairs.  I will always carry you; I will always sustain you; I will always rescue you.” [paraphrased to personalize]

Your Word helps me see that next step and take it.  Thank You Father, that You care so much for me that even in the darkness of this world and its “wisdom” You have made a way for me to stay on Your path and keep moving ahead safely.  Amen

II Peter 1:1-8; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 3:5; Galatians 6:9; Isaiah 46:3-4

Nov 26 Teach me

Father, thank You for Peter’s reminder that as the end approaches, believers must be earnest in prayer, share Your deep love with others, and use our Spiritual gifts.

Some of these sound so easy.  None of them are.  I can’t do any of them without Your help.

What I can do is come to You in prayerYou help me in so many ways.  I love my conversations with You!

aec-1782427_640Sometimes I feel closer to You when I walk around the lake, or through the trees, or can see the mountains.  When I am surrounded by Your amazing creation, You often give me a word of instruction or encouragement.

You have taught me things by watching geese flying above, or ducks feeding in the pond, or sunlight shining through dark clouds.  You have shown me how to be humble through the faces of blossoms that track the sunlight across the sky, or sunflowers that have heads so heavy with seed that they bend low.

It is so easy to praise You in the presence of the beauty of Your creation, and when things are going well.  But rejoicing in suffering is harder to do.  Sometimes, my side of the conversation is sobbing and tears.  It is anxious pleading with pain.

You reach out to me then too.  There is nothing You cannot handle.  There is nothing too big or too small to bring to You.  Thank You for this life-saving and life-giving privilege of prayer.

Father, teach me how to show Your great love to others.  It‘s usually easy to do with strangers.  Kindness to a stranger is short-lived.  Help me also to be loving and forgiving and hospitable to those I know.

Show me how to be humble, and not grumble.   And especially to those I know well, give me perseverance to act and speak in love for the long haul.

Lord, lead me in seeking out ways to join You where You are already at work, in ways that will use my Spiritual gifts.  Give me the energy and stamina to serve.   Show me how to serve humbly so You get the credit.  And let me recognize when to step back so another can use their gifts.

In all these things, let me also be aware of “[my] enemy the devil” who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Help me see through his lies and deceptions.  Help me avoid his traps and temptations.   Strengthen me to resist him in all his cunning ways.   Make me strong, firm and steadfast.

Yours is the power forever.  I know You will never fail me.  Thank You.  Amen

I Peter 4:7-11; 5:5-8

Oct 17 Pray for others

Father, as I worship You, and speak to You in prayer, it is most often to give thanks with praise and to intercede for myself and those close to me.

But today in scripture, You urge me to pray, intercede and give thanks for all people. 

hug-2709635_640What a huge task!  It broadens my focus and gives me a small sense of Your job: to care for and love every single person on the planet!  For they are each Your creation, and dear to Your heart.

As I begin, it helps me to think of categories of people.  So I pray first for all children.  Would You provide for their needs: physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Some are very well off, born to parents who love and value them and have the means to care for them.  Do not let them be misled to think they have all they need, when what they need most is You.

Other children are born into poverty, neglect, even abuse.  Father, protect them and let them feel especially close to You.  Reveal Yourself to them to encourage, empower and save them.   Teach them all to hear and understand Your voice and obey it, whatever their circumstances.   Bring a godly advocate into their lives who will stand up and speak for these without a voice.

Father, give every mother a heart for her child.  Guide them to love and care for their children; to protect them and pray for them; and teach them about You.  Give them the courage to correct them in love.

 Lord, I lift up every man who is a father.  Help them to see the position of accountability they are in in regards to their family.  Show them how to provide for and love their children with a father’s love.  Do not let them harm or exasperate their children.  Impress upon them to set a godly example.

For men and women everywhere, whether married or single, Lord, bring them to a saving knowledge of who You are.  Cause them to hunger and thirst for the truth, whatever their current state or religion.  Place godly counselors and mentors in each life, who can lead them to You and encourage them in becoming believers.

Help them stand strong in the face of temptation, fear and doubt; recognizing the lies and deceit of the evil one, and turning from it.  Give them discernment and guidance for decisions they face.

Father, protect married couples in the face of the temptations of infidelity and other things that would seek to separate them: money problems, anger, greed, selfishness, violence.

Forces in this world seek to destroy marriage and undermine the system of family that You set up.   Father, overturn those forces.  Likewise, protect singles from the temptations of lust, loneliness, and the desires that would turn them to idolatry.  Show them how to live with godly values.

Father, for those leaders of anything, and people in positions of authority over families, communities, churches, businesses, nations; bring them to a saving knowledge of You.  Give them clarity in hearing Your voice in their personal and professional lives.  Give them the courage to follow wherever You would lead them.

Show them that with their position of authority comes responsibility and accountability.  If they are persecuting believers, stop them.  Open their eyes and change their hearts to know and follow You.  Place godly role models, mentors, counselors and accountability figures in their lives.  Give them godly wisdom to overcome obstacles, difficulties and problems to bring unity and peace to their respective arenas of authority.

Lord, as I pray, I picture elected Washington officials, African children, Muslim women.  All need Your touch on their lives.  Every one is someone special to You.  Every one is someone You died to save.

Let each person in each one of these categories know how very much You love them.  And that You have a good plan and purpose for their lives.  Amen

I Timothy 2:1-6

Aug 26 God of all comfort

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“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.”  

 

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.

Our 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.

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!

“[God] has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us”

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 for meeting us where we are.  Alone or together.  And for bringing deliverance and comfort.  Amen!

II Corinthians 1:1-11

July 29 Be Transformed

Father, I see this list of admonitions of how to live a godly life, and it shows how much room I have for improvement.  The truth is, I can’t even do one of them without You!  It is only in experiencing Your grace that I can be gracious to others.

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Forgive me Father, when I “think of myself more highly than I ought.”  With the advertising slogans of today it’s easy to become focused on self, and what I “deserve” to have.  It puffs me up, making it hard to “honor one another above yourselves.”   I find myself feeling proud and entitled.

Lord, turn me around when this happens.  Help me see my behavior through Your eyes.  Remind me to “share with Your people who are in need” and “practice hospitality.”  Show me how to “live in harmony with others”, and “as much as I can, to be at peace with them.”

That may mean giving up what I perceive as some of my “rights” and saying “I’m sorry, I was wrong” when I am in the wrong.  I realize that I hate being wrong; and even worse, I hate to admit it.  How can I change the way I am, Lord?

It has to come from You.  But I can do my part.  You challenge me, no, You command me: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

The pattern of this world is selfishness, egotism, greed, if you want it – get it, or if it feels good – do it.  And I need to be more than a non-conformer.  I need to be a Transformer!

How?

I can be transformed by spending time with You in prayer.  Hearing from You can redirect my focus, rewrite my priorities.

I can have my worldview reshaped by reading Your Word.  The Bible tells me how to gain Your perspective and consider eternity rather than just my immediate concerns.

The way I think affects the way I act.  So if I think on things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy – I will act accordingly.

Thank You Father for showing me the way.  For inspiring me to achieve.  For helping me accomplish.  I desire to be all You created me to be, and to receive all that You have for me.

Today, help me see one thing I can change and help me do it.  Amen

Romans12:1-21; Philippians 4:8

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

 

July 26 Praying Psalm 20

Your Word in Psalms today is a wonderful prayer.  “May You answer me when I am in distress.”   Thank You Lord, that I can call on You any time.  You are never too busy to hear my cry for help.  And there is no kind of distress that You cannot handle.

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You can help me when I am physically ill, hurt, weak, or weary.   You can handle it when I am in an emotional or psychological state of anxiety, sadness, depression, worry, fear, or grief.  You can uplift me when I am in spiritual turmoil or confusion or when I am feeling tempted.

“May Your Name protect me.”  Father, there is great power in Your name.  Yahweh!  Jehovah!  Jesus!  Almighty God!  El Shaddai!  Adonai!

Your name reflects Your character: who You are and Your attributes.  There is such power and reverence in Your name, some even avoid saying it at all, in order to not take it in vain.  They write or speak “HaShem” which in Hebrew means “The Name” referring to You alone.  May HaShem protect me!

“May You send me help from the sanctuary and grant me support from Zion.”  From wherever I am, You can send help from wherever You are.   Your help is better than any the world can offer.  It can deliver me from anything.   It can help me bear up under any circumstance or oppression.

“May You remember all my sacrifices and accept my burnt offerings.”  The sacrifices You desire are obedience and a contrite or repentant heart.  A burnt offering is one that is offered up totally.  It is completely consumed in the fire.  May my life be entirely and wholly offered to You.  May my words, actions, and attitudes all honor You.

“May You give me the desires of my heart and make all my plans succeed.”  Father, make Your desires mine.  Take away any desires I have that are not God-honoring.  Help me see Your plan and join You there.  And within this framework Father, “grant all my requests.”

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but I trust in the Name of the Lord my God.”  What is considered power and might in the world are worthless compared to Your power and might.  I will not place my trust in politicians, or leaders, or in any person.  I will not trust my future to a job or a paycheck.  I will not find my sense of security in fame or position, good looks or good health.

But I will rely on You, trust in You, depend on You.  For You alone are trustworthy.  I will shout for joy when You bring victory into my life!   And I will glorify Your Name!  Amen

Psalm 20:1-9

July 24 Gifts: Prayer, Plans, Presence, Power

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Father, there are so many comforts in this passage of Romans today.  You are gracious to me in so many wonderful ways.

What a gift prayer is! 

What an immeasurably awesome gift to be able to speak to and hear from the Creator of the Universe!  Sometimes I am so filled with joy and thanks and praise, I hardly know how to express the overflow of my heart.   But Your Holy Spirit communicates for me what I do not know how to say.

Other times I am so filled with grief and sorrow I cannot even mouth the words for my crying and tears.  And again, Your Holy Spirit knows my heart and conveys my requests for help to You.   Thank You for knowing me so well and providing for this meaningful non-verbal interaction.

Your plan for me.

Beyond prayer and communicating with You, I can know without a doubt, that You have my very best interest in mind and in Your plans for me.  Because I love You and am Yours, I seek to know and do what You have purposed for my life.  When I am in Your will, regardless of how things look to me from my limited perspective, I can trust that You have the power and the ability and the desire to work all things together for my good.

Father, help me know Your will so I can remain in it.  Being obedient is how I can show I love You.  There is nothing too difficult for You.  And nothing limits You.

Your presence is a gift.

You have told me that nothing can separate me from Your love.  No person, no trouble, no hardship, no persecution, no danger or sword, no famine or nakedness.

“In all these things, I am more than a conqueror through You!” 

For “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from Your love!” 

With all the experiences and emotions that I have, how comforting to know that there is no power above or below or anywhere, that will keep You away from me.

Your power is ultimate!

You can span any distance, overcome any obstacle, move any object, overpower any influence.

Your love is not dependent on me or on anything I do.  I cannot mess up so badly that it would keep You away.  You will always love me.  It is Your character and Your promise.

Thank You for these words of comfort, for these promises I can count on.  Thank You for being You.  Amen

Romans 8:26-39

 

July 22 Heal our land

flag needs prayerO Father, Solomon knew the people so well.  Even as You inhabited the Temple, and Your Glory shone all around, he knew Your people would turn away from You.  He prayed for Your forgiveness and mercy, and You answered with a promise we can claim today.

“If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Father, I belong to You.  I am called a Christian after Your Name “Christ.”  So it is my responsibility to intercede: pray for my community, my country.   That also makes it my responsibility to humble myself and turn from my sin.

It’s so easy to point a finger at corrupt people who take advantage of and mislead others.  Or to ask for forgiveness for “corporate sin” – the sin committed by others in my nation or society as a whole. But You did not stipulate only the guilty looking people confess, but Your people.

I cannot get away from the need to confess my personal sin too.

So Father, I humble myself before You.  I have not measured up in so many ways.  I do not deserve the blessings You pour out on me.   Show me where there is wickedness in my life: my words, my actions, my attitude.

Forgive me when I have spoken but should have held my tongue.  Forgive me when I held my tongue but should have spoken.

I have allowed fear to dictate when I was willing to stand up for You.  I have allowed my comfort to set the limits of my generosity when it comes to giving of my time and talents and treasure.

Lord I seek Your face to bring a spiritual awakening and revival upon my country.  Renew the Biblical values this country was founded on.  Let Your people once again know Your presence, Your power and Your blessing.

Father, bring us together in unity amid this crisis, this pandemic, this season of injustice and political division.  Help us join together to seek the common good and Your direction for our lives and our country.

“I love You Lord.  You are my strength.  You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.  I call to You, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.”  Amen

2 Chronicles 6:12-7:16; Psalm 18:1-3 

July 19 Help me walk Your path of Righteousness

adventure-1846095_640Father, David proclaimed “Wealth and honor come from You; You are the ruler of all things.”  He was amazed and pleased at the abundance of gifts the people poured out for the building of Your Temple.  And he acknowledged “Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand.” I completely agree.

Like the Israelites, teach me to be generous with all You have given me:

money, energy, time, words, music, talents, spiritual gifts.

Help me spend myself on You and Your purposes and Your people.  David prayed for the people, and I echo “keep this desire in my heart forever, and keep my heart loyal to You…give me wholehearted devotion to keep Your commands.”

Since I have Your righteousness, Lord, help me behave that way.  Remind me to speak the truth from my heart.  If I open my mouth to speak a lie or to deceive, shut it.  Show me how to speak the truth in love, and not be hurtful to people in the name of “honesty.”

Help me treat my neighbor with decency and fairness, not cheating or taking advantage.

Keep me away from malicious gossip.

Give me the fortitude to turn away from those who are evil and untrustworthy, even if society embraces them or it seems it would benefit me.

Let me truly love and support those who honor and respect You and Your values.

Help me be true to my word, even when it costs me.

Teach me to be smart with my finances, to be generous, and not extort interest from the needy.  Strengthen me so I am not tempted by bribes.

Psalm 15 promises that those “who do these things will never be shaken.”  Father, You give me solid ground to stand on.  Help me be unwavering and not overwhelmed by forces that seek to undo me.   With Your help I can stand strong, and not be moved.  Thank You.  Amen

I Chronicles 29:1-19; Psalm 15:1-5

July 17 Your Truth delivers me

Dear Father, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?”

Helmet of Salvation

It seems some days are harder than others.  If even one negative thought comes into my head, it can bring me down.  I glumly mull it over and the thought generates an emotional response.  Very easily other negative thoughts join in and pile up on each other till I am feeling discouraged.

Quickly enough, discouragement heaps on even more “should have, would have, could haves” until I am feeling out of control, overwhelmed and depressed and join with the psalmist in saying “Give light to my eyes or I will sleep in death.”  In my own words, “Help me or I’ll just die.”

It’s surprising how quickly simple thoughts can lead to anger, fear, frustration, until I am not only emotionally upset, but also experience a physical response which can leave me with a headache or feeling sick to my stomach.  It impairs my judgment and my ability to function efficiently, whether at work or at home.  I can’t even relate to people normally in my agitated condition.

“But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.”   You have already given me a wonderful solution to this problem.  If only I would remember to use it!

The battle begins in my mind.  And You have given me a piece of armor to protect my mind – the Helmet of Salvation.   It guards my thoughts and gives me the ability to take them captive and hold them up to Your truth.  It also gives me the ability to understand and memorize Your truth so I have it at the ready when I need it.

Your truth can help me stop the flow of wrong and negative thoughts.  The evil one uses these, preferring that I remain sidelined in discouragement and depression, unable to defend myself.  He will use these kinds of half-truths and deceiving lies to mislead and condemn me.  But when held up to the truth, they are shattered and scattered.

One way I can know if a thought comes from You, is that You convict whereas satan condemns.  He would make me feel like a hopeless, dirty, rotten, sinner.

You may correct me, but Your words lift me up, motivate and empower me to make the needed corrections.

Your words generate hopefulness.

His produce hopelessness.

Lord, remind me, to use this amazing gift!

When a negative thought comes, prompt me to hold it up to Your truth immediately.  Help me build into my memory an arsenal of truth from Your scriptures.

When I memorize scripture I can use it to combat the lies seeking to discourage me and control my thinking.  Then I can confidently deal with whatever truth You show me.  “I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me!”  Amen

Psalm 13:1-6

July 16 Robed in Righteousness

Thank You Father for giving me a righteousness I could never earn on my own.

clothed-in-christYou know human tendencies and have proclaimed “There is no one righteous, not even one.”  David even wrote in a song: “the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men.”

When You gave the Law You knew no one could ever live up to that standard.  What it did was make people aware of their sin, pointing them to their need for a Savior.

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from the Law, has been made known.  The Law and the Prophets testify to it.  This righteousness from God comes from faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”   The Savior that was needed is a gift from You.  So thanks to You, I have the righteousness that will allow me to live and be with You forever.

David knew this righteousness, even in his sin.  And he knew You would keep Your promise to him.  He had dreams for his son, as I have for mine, and prayed for Solomon.

I join him in asking that my sons “will be [men] of peace and rest…that You would be with them and give them success…may You give [them] discretion and understanding…[may they] be strong and courageous and not afraid or discouraged.”

Father, I thank You for Your righteousness.  Apart from You I have nothing.  I am nothing.   You protect me and keep me safe.  No matter the circumstance, my faith and my trust are in You.   Amen

I Chronicles 22:1-13; Romans 3:9-26; Psalm 12:1

July 8 You are our Hope

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Be merciful to me, Lord…O Lord, heal me.”  Father, there have been times when not only my body, but my soul have been sick with grief, with fear, with frustration.  There are times when I do not understand why such bad things happen to good, seemingly innocent people and children.

Or why tragedies come: floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, pandemics!  Such devastation is hard to watch as the suffering and loss is personalized in the news.  And that doesn’t even include man’s inhumanity to man as I hear about injustice, shootings and bombings and the violent plans of bloodthirsty men.

As hard as all this is to take in, there are the invisible tragedies as well.  These are the spiritual disasters that occur when people are deceived and led away from You into lives of confusion and sin.  As I see hate and mistrust grow in my family, community and nation I wonder where it will end.  How bad can it get O Lord, before You come and deliver?

I see children rebelling, pulling away from the godly way their parents have raised them.  When will they come to their senses Lord?

I see young people swayed into immoral lifestyles by the social tolerances of the day.  What one generation has allowed in moderation, the next has taken to excess.

Greed runs rampant.  Self is exalted.  Consequences are non-existent.  But the spiritual cost is beyond measure.

While it all looks fun on the outside, many of these people are tortured in their personal life.  They are trapped in a web of self-doubt and pain, discontented with life.  The more they seek to satisfy “self” the more dissatisfied and confused they are.

The further away they get from Your truth, the more lost and unable to even recognize truth they become

“How long, O Lord, how long?  Turn and deliver; save because of Your unfailing love.”

Your love and deliverance are the only hope.   For my family, my community, my nation.

Father, turn the hearts of sons back to fathers.  “Open the eyes “of those who have been drawn away from You, “and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to You, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in You.”

“Father, hear my cry for mercy.  Accept my prayer.”  I long for and wait for the time when all Your enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; and will turn back in sudden disgrace.”  And You will be remembered and worshipped as the One True God.  In my family.  In my nation.  In the world.

I need, we need Your mercy Father.  And Your healing.  Thank You that You hear my cry, and answer.  Amen

Acts 26:18; Psalm 6:1-10

July 7 Hear my morning prayer

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Father, like You acted in Paul’s life, would You orchestrate my circumstances to allow for opportunities to bring You glory, and would You fill my mouth with the words to say as I give testimony to Your greatness.

Although Paul’s situation of being in prison did not change, You allowed a greater and greater audience for Your truth to be spoken.

There are situations in my life that I would prefer be changed so I don’t have to deal with the hardships they bring and the worry they cause.  But I am willing to accept whatever conditions You allow, knowing that You are with me, and will defend me, and will use them to Your glory.

Thank You Lord, that this “morning You heard my voice.  As I laid my requests before You,” I know You were listening and are able to act in even the most complicated of circumstances.  I was able to get up and go on with my day, knowing and trusting that You are in control as I “wait in expectation.”

“Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness…make straight my way before me.  I take refuge in You, so let me be glad; let me ever sing for joy.  Spread Your protection over me, and all who who love Your name and rejoice in You…Surround me with Your favor as with a shield.”

If my husband or sons or I have offended each another, let us be soft-hearted towards one another.  Rather than being like fortified cities, where entry is barred, let them open their gates to each other and welcome each other in brotherly love.  Bless them Lord, and surround them also, with Your favor.  Amen

Acts 25:1-27; Psalm 5:1-12; Proverbs 18:19

July 1 A good king – a great prayer!

Finally Father, a good king!  Hezekiah was a good king (few and far between) of the southern kingdom of Judah.  He removed the high places that other kings had allowed to be used for pagan worship and smashed all the sacred stones and Asherah poles.

017-hezekiah-assyriansDuring one of Assyria’s attacks, Hezekiah prayed to You because the Assyrian king mocked and ridiculed You, claiming You could not save Your people.  And You answered and delivered them.   I echo those powerful words.

“Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.  You have made heaven and earth.  Give ear, Oh Lord, and hear; open Your eyes Oh Lord, and see, listen to the words (of the world and the evil one), sent to insult the living God. “

“It is true, Oh Lord, that (the evil one) has attacked and laid waste (to many, winning victories over their lives).  Now, Oh Lord, our God, deliver (me and my loved ones) from the hand of the enemy “- from any plot or plan to derail me, or us from the purpose and plan You have for our lives  – from any lies or deception the world or the evil one would use to oppress us  – from any harm the enemy would seek to do in our lives, whether physical, mental, emotional, psychological, intellectual, social, financial, political or spiritual – “so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You, alone, Oh Lord, are God. “

My loved ones and I may not have to do battle on horseback with spears, but our enemies are real.   Powers and forces come against our family, our godly values, our emotions, our finances, our life circumstances; all trying to defeat us and make us lose our faith in You.

Your response to Hezekiah was positive and powerful.  I desire the same victory You gave Him, Father:

“The enemy will not enter (my life or the lives of my loved ones) or launch an attack (against us).  The enemy will not come against us with shield or build a siege ramp against us (to gain a foothold in our lives or cause devastation within our walls).  By the way that the enemy came (to oppress us,) he will leave and will not enter.   You will defend us and save us, for Your own sake. “     

You were true to Your Word to Hezekiah, and I know You will be faithful to me.  Father, thank You that there is nothing too big and nothing too small for me to ask of You.

You have the power, the authority and the desire to act.  Thank You that You can do immeasurably more than I can ask, or even imagine, in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones – so that You will get all the glory!   Amen

2 Kings 18:17-19:37

June 19 Your Word, Your Spirit, Your Voice

God's Word 3Precept??

Father, how amazing that You spoke through prophets to Israel’s kings to give them direction, correction, even advice on successful battle plans!  You sent specific word to Ahab that he should fight against the 33 kings and their armies and chariots assembled.  You told him who should lead the attack, when, and who would win.

I often wish there were such easily discernable ways I could hear from You.  If only You would send me an email, or write across the sky to inform me about decisions or concerns I face.

And then I realize – You have written me a letter – It’s Your Holy Word!

If I take the time to read it, often things become clear.  If I had never read the Bible, I wouldn’t know that in it, You have already included instructions for godly, moral living.

You have made Yourself very clear on many topics that relate to me today.  Instead of hearing of and memorizing only scattered verses, I need to know the entirety of what You have to say to me.

So, reading Your word is a start.  Studying it for a deeper understanding is also important.  Then connecting the dots to how what You have said impacts my life, is crucial.

Some Bible study methods have big words for this: observation, interpretation, application.  Very simply, it is asking:

What are You saying?

What does it mean?

What does it mean to me?

So a big part of the burden to hear from You is on me to listen to what You have already said.

But to help me even more, You have given every believer the Holy Spirit.

Part of the Holy Spirit’s job is to help me understand, apply, and live by what Your Word says to me.  I need to pay attention to what it is telling me, and be obedient, not ignore, discard, or drown out what I hear.

Thank You that I can hear from You just as specifically as those who heard the prophets speak.  You have given me so much more so I can know You and understand You.

Thank You for Your Word.  Thank You for the Holy Spirit.

Help me make reading and studying Your Word a priority for my time and energy.  And do not let me quench the Holy Spirit.

And thank You that I can even talk to You personally in prayer.  And know that You hear me.  And that You answer.  What an awesome God!  Amen

I Kings 20:1-22

June 18 You know what I need

prayer answers

Father, 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 answered.

How 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 prayer.  Sometimes 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

June 13 You still and quiet my soul

Father, how often do I come before You in prayer feeling so overwhelmed by life?

There are some times when I feel like things are going well.  I feel in the center of Your will and I have no concerns.  I am blessed in the sense of peace all around me.

There are times when I have small issues that are so easy for You to show me solutions.  They may take time and action, but are easily handled with Your help.

And then there are times when I am so anxious over circumstances that I lay my heart open for You to see and heal.  I prepare for battle with Your armor and You send me out with marching orders against the enemy.  And I am victorious!

mother-2605132_640

But sometimes, when I see the overwhelming personal issues: illness, death; and larger ones that ravage the world, my country, Your people: suffering, hunger, corruption, oppression, injustice, terrorism, to name a few; I am overcome by how small I am and how helpless I feel.

These are the times I come to You and lay my head on Your shoulder.  I wrap my arms around You, bury my face in Your robes and nuzzle in, breathing in Your power, and Your peace.

I am calmed, because I know that You are in control.  I understand that this is not a battle You have called me to, but that You have it completely in hand.  And I need not worry about it.

These verses describe what I feel:

“My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.  But I have stilled and quieted my soul like weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”

I know there are things You deal with that are too big for me to even be a part of.  And like a child who no longer breastfeeds, when that child goes to its mother, there is no physical hunger to be satisfied –only peace and calm derived from the safety and security the mother offers.

That’s what I feel in You.  I know that the world is in Your capable hands, and I can rest contented.  You are my hope, now and forevermore.

Thank You for this lovely picture.   And for being the One I can trust and rest in.  Amen

Psalm 131:1-3

June 12 Thank You

“O Lord, hear my voice.  Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.  If You, Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?  But with You there is forgiveness.”

banner-949932_640Thank You Lord, that You hear my voice and my prayer.  Thank You that one of Your qualities is omnipresence: You can be everywhere at once.

I never have to worry that You are too busy, or that I have to wait on the other people in the world for You to be listening and responding to me.  Thank You that in the quietness of my heart, I can turn to You anytime and You are there.

Thank You that when I turn from my sin and ask for forgiveness, You remove my sin from me and never bring it up again.

People remind me of my failures and mistakes, some more than others.  But with You, there is never a backhanded comment, or dredging up my past faults.   When You forgive, it is over and done with.

Thank You for knowing that no one can stand when compared to Your standard and example of perfection without Your covering of mercy and righteousness.  And thank You for providing exactly that in the blood You shed on the cross.   It completely pays the penalty my sins deserve.

“In Your Word I put my hope.”  Its promises are true.  Its instruction is sure.   Father, bring my loved ones to put their hope in You too.   In You, they will find unfailing love and full redemption.  Turn their hearts back to You.  Open their eyes to Your truth.

Pull back the veil of lies and deceit they have believed.  Rip away the evil one’s trickery and schemes that have drawn them away from You.  Help them see that You alone can redeem them.  I wait in anticipation of their deliverance and salvation.  Amen

Psalm 130:1-8

June 10 I seek Your Blessing

child-praying-hands-1510773_640 (1)O Lord, I desire to be blessed by You.  I fear You with respect to the acknowledgement of who You are: Creator, Savior, Deliverer, the One True God.

My attitude towards You is one of reverence and honor.  You are so high above me, yet You invite me to come to You, to approach You, and to be in Your presence.

That in itself is a blessing.  Your thoughts and Your ways are far beyond what I can think or even imagine.

Father, help me know Your ways and walk in them as I live day to day.  Show me how to honor You by living according to Your commands.  Give me the wisdom and discernment to know what is right and honoring to You.

And give me the strength of character to choose the right and turn away from the wrong.  Being obedient to Your ways keeps me under the umbrella of Your protection and blessing.

I ask for Your blessing all the days of my life.  For protection, prosperity, purposeful living in joy, health, wholeness, security – summed up in the word “shalom”- peace.  Thank You for Your shalom, for Your “peace.”   Amen

Psalm 128:1-6

June 8 Thank You for the people in my life

thank-you-hands

Father, help me be more like Solomon.  When You told him “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you.”  He was not quick with a Christmas list of desired material possessions.  Even before You granted him wisdom beyond all human possibility, he answered wisely.

He began by acknowledging Your kindness and faithfulness to his father David.  He focused on You, and what You had already done in his life.  Then he presented himself humbly – as an individual and as a ruler.  He recognized the enormity of both the blessing and the responsibility You had given him.  And in the face of this, he asked for wisdom.

Let this be a pattern for my prayer life as well.

Lord, I truly acknowledge Your faithfulness to me.  I can’t begin to understand all the pieces You brought into place for my being here now, as one of Your children.

How interconnected are the lives of the people You orchestrated to impact my life: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, friends, Sunday school teachers, teachers, coaches, acquaintances, co-workers.  You not only coordinated who they were and how they influenced me, but where they were, as I moved across the country almost every year growing up.  That blows my mind!

You have blessed me in the roles I play to others: daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, wife, mother, friend, teacher, labor coach, and in the intimate way I have been able to relate to people at significant times in their lives.  I feel very inadequate to fill the needs of the people You give me opportunities to minister to.  On my own, I cannot do it.

Give me a discerning heart to speak to and relate to those You bring into my life.  Help me distinguish between right and wrong and be able to speak the truth in love into their lives as I live my life according to Your guidance.   Show me when to speak and when to keep silent.  Show me how to share the understanding You have given me when it comes to teaching and encouraging others.

Father, thank You for the blessing of all those You have brought into my life.  Help me care for them in Your love, in Your strength, and in Your name.  Amen

I Kings 3:4-9

June 6 By God’s Power

God in control“Sovereign Lord, You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Your servant David when he said ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?  The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One.’.”

It was true in David’s time that the Philistines and others came and attacked Your people who were led by the men You had anointed to rule them.  Again, when You came to Israel in the flesh, the High Priest and Sanhedrin plotted against You to have You killed.

And today, many other religions are set against You and Your believers with plans of destruction.  Even more, the culture I live in does not embrace a Biblical worldview, but is focused on material gain, social success, political intrigue and self-gratification.

The prayer of Your disciples is a great guide for me.  First, they acknowledged that You were and are in control.  “They did what Your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”  In David’s time, in Your time here on earth, and now in my life, You are in control.  When things aren’t going well, I sometimes forget that.

Thank You for the reminder that I don’t have to worry that something is going to slip by You unnoticed.  You know all things.  You do not sit wringing Your hands wondering what to do next.  I can trust that not only is Your plan advancing, but Your plan is the best one for me.  Your power and Your will have already determined beforehand, what is best.

Their prayer was to “enable Your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness.”   What a courageous prayer!  The disciples had just been told by the religious leaders NOT to speak of You, and they had the courage to say they would prefer to obey You, rather than obey man.

Show me Lord, when I should speak.  And as I open my mouth, fill it with Your words.  And then close it when I am to remain silent.

“Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.”  My country is in dire circumstances: political and social tragedy and unrest, economic challenges on a grand scale.  The entire world is suffering loss of life, health and financial stability.  What I see is that the stage is set for You to do a miracle!

Let the people today see that You are a miracle-working God.  Let them see how much You care for them, and want to have a personal relationship with them.  When things work out, let them see and acknowledge Your hand in their lives, and turn to You!

This was a powerful prayer for the disciples.  I ask it would also be for me.  Amen

Acts 4:1-31

May 28 Your Protection

jesus_prays_for_us

Lord God, thank You for praying for me.  Thank You for looking into the future and identifying “those who would believe in You through their [the disciples] message.”

Thank You for protecting me by the power of Your name because I am Yours.

Thank You for praying for me Yourself, personally; not to take me out of this world, but to protect me from the evil one in this world.   That includes the arrogant who dig pitfalls for me trying to entrap me by their political intrigues, their social agendas, and their false philosophies that are contrary to what You teach in Your Word.

It includes those who would persecute me because they hate You, and those who want to see me wiped from the earth.  And the wicked, waiting to destroy me, my health, my finances, my relationships, and defeat my spirit.  Thank You that You have the power to preserve my life and all these things according to Your love.

When I do not feel strong help me remember Your Word.  Your Word is eternal.  Its promises are true forever.

Just as the earth You created still stands, Your truth still stands.  Your faithfulness and love are steadfast and boundless.  Thank You for the encouragement of Your prayer for me.  And for the protection I have in You.  Amen

John 17:6-26; Psalm 119:89-96

May 24 An audience of One

post-it-from Jesus

Father, may I share the joy that David showed as he danced and worshipped before You!  I love the times when it’s just You and me, and I can sing as if no one else is listening, dance as if no one else is watching and pour out my heart to You.

Whether in thanksgiving and joy or in discouragement and need, it is a truly special time.  Thank You for those times of pure worship.  I don’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks – I have an audience of One.

And thank You for the reassurance that You have gone before me to prepare a place for me.  And that You will come back and take me to be with You.  As a reminder I have a half sheet of paper on my mirror that says:

“Have gone to prepare a place for you – be back soon!

Love, Jesus”

As if You just stepped out and may return any minute.  I see it every day, and it reminds me of this truth.

Thank You for this confidence: that no matter what is happening in the world, no matter how overwhelming my circumstances seem, I can come to You with the assurance that You are there, and listening.  And that You have the power and the desire to interact with me help me handle whatever the world or the evil one throws at me.

I may be here when You return, and will see You coming in the clouds to be reunited.   Or I may breathe my last and close my eyes on this earth to open them in Your presence.

Either way, what a blessing!  Amen

2 Samuel 6:12-23; John 14:1-4

May 21 Family Victory!

bhwhat-makes-a-family-holy-

Father in heaven, as You did for David, would You do for me and my family?  Would You “protect us and hand over to us the forces that come against us.”

 

David was fighting a real physical enemy.  Life and death were in the balance.

They were in hand-to-hand combat to regain what had been taken from them: their families and possessions.  David “inquired of the Lord” to seek Your will before he acted, and You promised him victory.

Father, I come before You today to seek Your will for my family; to ask if You will give us victory over the forces that are at work in the world today that pull us apart and away from You.

We do not fight hand to hand with a physical enemy.  But we live in a culture where family values are going by the wayside and Biblical values are not honored.

Parental authority is being eroded, parents are disrespected, children are rebellious and often rude.  We fight against selfishness, greed, hate, violence, immorality, materialism, the occult, witchcraft, and all the schemes of satan.

Father, especially in my family, would You give me wisdom as a parent to know when to speak and when to keep quiet, so I can offer wise counsel and not destructive comments.  Set a guard over my mouth to use words that are instructive, edifying and building up according to the needs of the one I seek to help.

Show me how to pray for Your perfect will in my children’s’ lives, not simply what I think will benefit them.  Keep me from comparing them to other friend’s children, or even each other.

Lord, keep the lines of communication open so conversations between us will be effective and filled with love and respect.

Give my children discernment so they are not swept away by the vain philosophies of men and the political schemes that do not support Biblical values.

Help them recognize and turn away from temptation when it would lead to greed, immorality, the occult or anything satan would use to draw them away from You.  Block their way when others entice them into ungodly activities.

Let them seek to bless with their words, and not curse.  Draw them to Yourself and instruct them in the way they should go to be in the middle of Your will and Your  blessing.  Remind them of their need for a Savior, and the joy of having a close relationship with You.

And I will give thanks that You are with me and You are my Helper.  Because of that, I will look triumphantly upon these foes.  I take refuge in You, Lord.  You are my strength and my Victory!  Amen

I Samuel 30:1-25; Psalm 118:7, 14

May 16 Praying Psalm 112

praying-hands-on-bibleFather, I pray the words of this Psalm for myself, and my loved ones.

I give You praise!

Blessed am I because I fear You – have an earnest respect for You – and delight in knowing and obeying Your commands.  May my children be mighty in the futures You have promised them.  May they live uprightly so their generation will be blessed.

Thank You that I possess wealth and riches.  Perhaps not as the world recognizes wealth and riches, but as You count them.   And thank You that Your righteousness remains with me forever.

Even in the dark and challenging times we find ourselves in, let me live in Your light as You give me grace and compassion to deal with whatever comes.  Your goodness pours into my life.  Let me generously pass that goodness on to others.  I will seek Your justice in conducting my affairs and act in accordance.

As I have planted my faith in You, I will never be shaken.  The circumstances of  the world will not make me fall apart.  Keep my heart strong even in the face of bad news, so I will not fear.  And draw me ever closer to You, who I trust completely.

Because I know that You win in the end, my heart and mind are secure.  I know that at the end of the age, when You return, all Your foes will be vanquished, and I will look triumphantly on those enemies.

I will send my service and prayers and financial support to the poor, here and around the world.  Let Your righteousness done through me be remembered forever.  And my family be remembered honorably.  Amen

Psalm 112:1-9

May 8 Make me like Samuel

bible-coffeedrawnear

Lord God, make me as Samuel.

Samuel was only a child here, but he grew up in Your presence. You were with him and he felt it. Sensitize my heart, my eyes, my ears; to see You at work, to hear Your voice, to feel Your presence.

Father, You know everything about me, even my thoughts.  Help me grow in awareness that You are with me wherever I go.   Let me recognize where You are, and see Your purpose in having me where I am.

And let that be both a powerful deterrent and an awesome reassurance.

Samuel heard Your voice, and although he did not understand it all at first, he answered and was obedient.  Father, when I hear Your voice, let my response also be “Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening.”

Reveal Yourself to me through Your Word: the Bible.  Don’t let me read Your scripture and walk away unchanged.  But let Your words sink deep into my spirit and mind.  Let them take root in my life and be the foundation for all I do and all I am.

Let me hear You speak to me through nature, Your creation.  And as I pray.  And through other believers.  And in visions.  And through my circumstances.

Help me set my priorities to spend time in Your Word every day.  Every day let me make time to listen for Your voice.  And then let my actions, attitudes and words show other people that I have spent time with You.

Let hearing Your voice change me.  As Your words sink deep into my spirit and mind, let them take root in my life and be the foundation for all I do and am.

Like Samuel, let me grow in stature and in favor with You and with men.  Amen

I Samuel 2:26; 3:1-19

 

May 7 It’s all about You

Father, let me be like Hannah.

Hannah words

Let me be earnest and persistent in prayer as Hannah was, pouring out my feelings and heartaches to You.

Father, there is much in the world to heartbroken over: illness, poverty, political disunity, abuse.  And You know each individual and their personal needs.   You know the desire of my heart as You knew Hannah’s.  Help me not give up, but persevere, keep praying, trusting in Your timing: for healing, for salvation, for peace.

And like Hannah, when I make a promise to You, help me be true to my word, no matter how hard it is.  Hannah gave back to You the very thing she prayed for: a precious son.

Help me hold Your blessings loosely enough that I do not love them more than I love You.

I will rejoice as Hannah did over all You do for me.  Help me acknowledge that all my blessings come from You.  It is You who give life and take it away, You who send poverty and wealth. You who heal and save.

It is not by strength that any of us prevails, but You who deliver and give victory over our enemies.

You are the Lord God Almighty who knows all and weighs all deeds.  You laid the foundations of the world and set it in place.  There is no one holy like You.  You are the Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the darkness.  You are my God.

Thank You for answering prayer.  Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen

I Samuel 1:1-2:11

April 21 Obey Your Word, Walk in Your Presence

In today’s scripture, You give two passages that tell me how to be blessed.  I acknowledge and desire to follow those instructions.

ljqedqamani-ben-whiteLord, help me “be very strong; to be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.  I will not associate with those who do not follow You by invoking the names of their gods or swear by them.  I will not serve them or bow down to them.  I will hold fast to You.”   

Lord, I can only be careful to obey Your Word if I know Your Word.  So I will read it and study to understand it.  I will pray and ask for understanding when I am confused or in doubt.

I will not ever call upon the names of other gods, because there is no other God but You.  There is none like You.  There is no other name under heaven by which I am saved.

Your power alone created the universe.  I will worship You alone, and seek Your direction and wisdom for my life.

The next passage tells me “blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence.”

Father, I give glory to Your name only, because of who You are and what You have done.  You are Most Holy God.  You are all-powerful and all-knowing.  You created the heavens and the earth.

You created man and set him in this place to have fellowship with You.  When he broke that fellowship by sinning, You made a way of reconciling man to You: through Your blood on the cross.  And because I accept that gift I can walk in the light of Your presence once again.

The light of Your presence is where truth is revealed, nothing is hidden, nothing is feared.  Your presence dispels darkness.  To be present with You is to talk with You and listen to You – Your responses to my prayers, in Your Word and through the Holy Spirit.  It is to rest in You, fearing nothing.

In these trying times, I come to You and seek Your presence in prayer, in reading scripture, in having quiet times walking alone in Your creation, and in praising and thanking You for the blessings and challenges in my life.

I rejoice in Your name.  I trust in Your righteousness.  You are my protection, my King, the Holy One.   And I am blessed.  Amen

Joshua 23:6-11; Psalm 89:15-18

April 17 Learn from the blind beggar

boy-2026186_640“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 86:1-13; Luke 18:35-42

April 16 Your voice, not the world’s

Lord, let me and let my sons be like Caleb and Joshua.

ToHear God's Voice

They spied out the Promised Land and saw all the goodness there.   They also saw the enemy for who they were, but knew that You would give victory and deliver them according to Your Word.

They held to their convictions and lived a long life receiving all You had promised.  Even in their old age, they were strong and vigorous because they served You wholeheartedly.

Help my sons not listen to the world and the voices of the enemy who wants them to be discouraged and overwhelmed.  Draw them to seek out Your promises and hold to those even in the face of trials and trouble.  Let them see Your hand at work in their lives.

Remind us that when we serve You, we will receive all You promise.  Your will, Your plan will not be thwarted.  

Father, let me also be like the widow who made her plea to the judge so persistently that she received the justice she wanted.  Let my faith be unstoppable, lifting my concerns and needs to You in prayer.

Even in my old age, let me be found faithful, continuing in prayer, not being dissuaded by circumstances or the influences of this world.

Keep me and my loved ones mindful that our only righteousness comes from You, so we will not look down on anyone else, but remain humble.  I am ever dependent on You, on Your mercy and on Your grace for my life and all that I have.

Thank You for Your faithfulness – to warriors, to widows, to me.  Amen

Joshua 14:6-15; Luke 18:1-14

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

 

Mar 18 Heaven or earth?

O Lord, what a wonderful and confusing prayer here from David.

I’m not exactly sure of his meaning; but like many prayers, it shows the divided interests and longings of many believers.

heaven or earth

On one hand, I have been through a lot.  As a nation we are going through a LOT right now.  Life is challenging, and sometimes I want to just give up.  Like David says: “my heart grows faint.”  I feel anxious to be done with this earthly life and all its problems.  “I long to dwell in Your tent forever.”

Thinking about that, all pain and suffering would be over in heaven.  No more battles to fight.  I would be in the presence of my Lord and Savior.  What could possibly be better!

On the other hand, You have given me blessings here, Lord.  I desire to fulfill all You have planned for me, and bring glory and honor to Your name here on earth.  And hopefully bring many to a saving knowledge of You while doing it.

So I echo “increase the days of my life, my years for many generations.”  How awesome would it be to see my children grown and serving the Lord, and grandchildren, and great grand children!

Bottom line, I trust You with all my days.  Whether here on earth or with You in heaven, I rely on You and Your perfect will to know the length of my days, and prepare me for them.

I thank You that You knew all my days before even one of them came to be.  And that no power can take away even one hour You have promised me.  I trust in, and rest in, Your power and Your wisdom, Your mercy, and Your plan.  Amen

Psalm 61:1-8

Coronavirus National Day of Prayer

Father in heaven, thank You for today being set apart to pray for the world as we face coronavirus which has circled the globe.  People we know and people in countries we have never even heard of are dealing with this illness in many ways.

We lift up those who are sick and ask that You would be their Healer.  Whether they can get to a doctor or not, strengthen them and their immune systems to fight this virus in their bodies.  Fight for them when they cannot.  Give them the rest and nourishment they need to survive.  Let them draw strength from You.  And bring people alongside them to help them with their needs.

We pray for caregivers – whether doctors, nurses, family members or friends and neighbors who are helping the sick.  Father give them the energy and stamina they need to help in whatever ways they can.  Protect them from getting sick too.  Give them patience and a sense of humor when they need it to meet the needs of those around them who are ill.  Let them draw strength from You.

We pray for those who are still working, whose jobs are impacted by this outbreak.  Many will have lost wages and be facing financial hardship even though they may not be sick.  Those living from paycheck to paycheck will have difficult decisions to make.

Father, open opportunities for them to earn money in other ways to meet their financial needs.  Let them receive grace to delay payments on rent and bills until work picks back up.  Provide for their needs through the generosity of the communities around them.  Ensure they have the food and care they need to survive this hardship.

We pray for leaders in positions of authority in local, state, national and world arenas to receive godly counsel in making decisions. Father, give those called to address this crisis, whether medical or political, wisdom and compassion.  Let them draw strength from You.

Lord, show each one of us how to best function in this time of “social distancing.”  Lead us in a time of spiritual growth and maturity, reading Your Word, praying, listening for Your leading, helping others.

Father, turn the tide of this epidemic.  Halt its progress.  Release a wave of healing that circles the globe.

We turn to You.  Our Healer.  Our Savior.

Amen

Mar 7 Follow the Leader

Lord, I love how You are always available to me.  I can come to You any time to ask for wisdom and direction. There is no question too big or too small for You to answer.   And You never make me feel bad for asking.

cloud-pillar_imgarcade.comThe Israelites came and inquired of You through Moses about a problem for some wanting to celebrate the Lord’s Passover.  And You told them exactly what to do.  Not only did You answer their question, but Your presence was visible in the camp as a cloud over the Tabernacle.  When You remained, the people remained where You were.  When Your presence moved, they moved.

How I would love to have my own pillar of cloud appear before me and stay with me to direct my path!

Then I would know precisely if I were in Your perfect will or if I were ever in danger of straying from it.  I would know when to move on and when to stay put.  There would be no question of misinterpreting what You were telling me.

And what an accountability factor!  If I were not near the pillar, everyone would know it was me who had moved away – who chose not follow.

In Jerusalem, when Your disciples asked about their future, You revealed events that would help them prepare for the dangers and challenges to come.  You also reminded them to watch for signs and pay attention to the things around them that would help them discern what was coming.  And warned them about false prophets.

As Your Word warns, help me also keep watch and be prepared.

In Psalm 50:15 You tell me to call on You in the day of trouble and You will deliver.  Again showing Your availability and desire to respond when I ask.  I can trust that You, the mighty Creator of the universe, are available to help me, whenever, wherever, however a need arises.

“The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous.” And You have shown me that way.  You came and lived on earth to be my example by showing how to treat people and live a moral and godly life.

Also, through Your sacrifice, death and resurrection, You showed me the way to have eternal life.  And gave me the gift of Your Word so I would have it written down, to read and study and memorize and hide in my heart.

You are my refuge.  Thank You for being my sheltered, protected place of sanctuary.   Thank You for being ready with whatever I need.  And for knowing what I need even when I do not.

I am so grateful to have a God who hears, who is able, who is available, and who is willing.  Amen.

Numbers 9:1-23; Mark 13:14-37; Psalm 50:15; Proverbs 10:29

Mar 3 Hosanna!

Oh Lord, how wonderful it would have been to be one of the people who shouted to You “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”

And to lay down palm branches and watch You ride onto Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.  What a prophetic time to live in.

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Picture from LumoProject.com

I can just imagine the excitement of the moment, and the expectation of the people as they wondered if You really could be the Messiah.

Hosanna!  Waving my arms in the air, swaying with the crowd; having heard the stories of Your miracles and healing.  Water into wine!  Walking on water!  Healing with a touch, a word!  Raising the dead!  These must be signs of a long-awaited deliverance for our people!

But were these the same people who only a few days later called “Crucify Him!” and watched as You were led away?

How is it Jesus, that so near the end of Your time here, You are still to be found teaching.  Whole crowds were amazed at Your words when You threw out the money changers, enraging the chief priests and teachers of the law.

Thank You for teaching me one more time about prayer.  Your words remind me that I need to ask in faith, believing.  And that I need to ask according to Your will.  And that I need to be forgiving so I can be forgiven.

“You are my refuge!  And my strength!  My ever-present help in times of trouble.  Therefore, I will not fear.”  Amen

Mark 11:1-24; Psalm 46:1-2

Mar 2 Selfless Savior

clasped-hands-541849_640Lord Jesus, You amaze me!

Walking on Your way to Jerusalem, You have just told the disciples that You are going to be personally betrayed.  Following that, You will be condemned to death, mocked and spit on, flogged and finally killed.   Your disciples respond by asking You to do them a favor – and a selfish one at that!

Then, as You come to the city of Jericho, You take time to heal a blind man calling out by the side of the road.  Amazing!

I would think that foremost in Your mind, would be the terrible death You are about to face.  I would think You would want some understanding, sympathy, comfort from those around You.  Yet I find You seeing to the needs of others, teaching them about servanthood, and healing a stranger.

Even in a time of personal need, You give more than anyone else possibly could.  You take Your eyes off Yourself and put them on others.  You use Your power to teach and to heal for the benefit of others. Again, You amaze me!

I wonder, did the disciples hear what You were saying, but think to themselves, “Yeah, but it will probably work out differently when we get there – this can’t be right?”   What else would explain their insensitivity?

Father, let this be a lesson to me to be present with people around me who are hurting.  When they tell me of their hardship, let me be comforting and encouraging.

Remind me to lift them up in prayer.  For although I probably won’t be able to solve their concerns, You most certainly can.

And even when I am hurting, don’t let me ignore others around me who are also hurting, like the blind man You healed.  Again, I cannot heal, but I can direct them to You – the One who always has the patience, the desire and the ability to help.

I am so glad You are my Savior, my Healer, my Father, my Friend.  Amen

Mark 10:32-52

Feb 18 Living A to Z

ffzjspuwc_i-diomari-madularaFather, help me embody the alphabetical list of traits in this Psalm.

In his old age David gives us instructions for living.  Of course the Hebrew alephbet goes from Aleph to Tav, not A to Z, but what was true then is still true now.

It’s hard to see evil people prosper knowing that the wrong they do causes harm to others.  And when they seem to be getting away with it, I wonder where Your justice is.

But as David says, “like the grass, they will soon wither.”  And I must wait on Your justice, which will come.  My responsibility is to do what You have told me to do and live how You have shown me to live.  This is what I am accountable for.

As I trust in You Lord, help me do good to others whenever it is within my power to do so.  Let me find my delight in You, and not be envious of others’ ill-gotten gain.

Help me commit my way to You so I look to You for guidance and direction and not toward my own selfish gain.  Several times I’ve been in circumstances where I was wronged and had a defensible position to press for my rights. I did not speak out because I trusted in You to fight for my cause.

It was hard to do, but You did not fail me.  In time the truth came to light without my having to say a word.  You defended me and my rightness was made even more evident because it was not me who spoke out.

Help me be still before You and wait patiently.  Even when I feel I’m justified in fighting.  Being “still” here means don’t move and don’t make a noise.  So help me not make a move without Your direction, and not rant or rave or carry on.

Remind me that prayer is a mighty weapon.   Help me pray for myself, the situation, and for my enemies to come to a saving knowledge of You, and stop their evil ways.

Help me turn away from anger and wrath.  One kind of anger boils over into uncontrolled lashing out.  Another kind seethes, simmering under the surface plotting and planning revenge, building up, until the perceived hurt is blown out of proportion.

Both of these responses are damaging to me.  I need to remember that vengeance is Yours, not mine.

Following these instructions will allow me to live in peace.  Meekness is not weakness.  But it is power under control.  Help me live a Holy Spirit-controlled life.  Amen

Psalm 37:1-11

Feb 13 I will testify and praise You!

So many prophecies fulfilled just in today’s verses from Matthew, Lord.

worship-435108_640In so many ways, You made good on Your Word to send a specific deliverer by a specific pre-ordained way: a Savior who would be the Lamb of God and take away the sin of the world, if we would just accept and believe.

These were not easy promises to fulfill.  They were quite costly.  Jesus paid the ultimate price with His very life, in a painful and torturous way.  And even after His death, more prophecies were satisfied.

So many people, so many years, so many ways the plan could miss the mark, be off the prophecy just a bit.  But You brought Your plan down through the ages to fruition.  You accomplished the saving of man’s soul and his reconciliation to Yourself.

For these reasons as well as Your faithfulness, Your trustworthiness to Your promises, Your Sovereignty and power in accomplishing all You set out to do, “I will extol You!”

According to a dictionary, that means I will praise You, exalt You, commend, admire and worship You.  I will tell others of You with highest recommendations.   “Your praise will always be on my lips.  My soul will boast in You!“

I will invite others to glorify You and lift up Your name with me in song, in prayer, to other believers and to anyone who will listen.

I will tell them how You heard my prayers and saved friends and family from illness and injuries, how You protected them from bad decisions and bad people and bad situations.  I will share how friends at death’s door were returned to their loved ones, and how in Your mercy, others were spared from terrible pain.

I will let them know that You are in the business of revealing wisdom when I ask for help making decisions and don’t know the way to go.  When I have felt trapped, You made a way out of the situation I had never thought of or considered.

I will recall times when I was too afraid of what was about to happen, but You gave me peace and the courage to make it through by giving me songs, or visions, or specific scriptures to help.

I will share how there were times when I thought things were going so wrong, but You worked them out and brought blessings out of them I never thought were possible.

These are the things, the testimonies that I have tasted, and have proven over and over again that You are good.

Thank You – for being there for me every time I knew I needed You.  And thank You Lord for being there for me when I didn’t even know I was in need.  Amen

Matthew 27:32-66; Psalm34:1-8

Feb 9 not my will…

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Lord God, what a blessing You gave me to be able to travel to Israel, to see the city of Jerusalem, and to walk into the Garden of Gethsemane!  I am forever changed by that gift.  It was amazing!

On one hand, as a tourist, it seemed historically and intellectually reasonable to be seeing structures and walls that stood in Jesus’ time.  But as I sat, looking at two of the very olive trees that were standing in the garden when You were there, I marveled.  Utterly amazing!

 

 

DSCN4181To see something that was alive, living then, and still alive and living now was incredible.  To think that I was in the presence of something that had been alive in Your presence here on earth…

In the quiet, my thoughts were drawn back to the night You came to pray the “not my will but Thine” prayer.  I reread that passage in Matthew that described that sorrowful and troubled plea.

Jesus laid all His personal potential down.  Father, I have hopes and dreams, goals, desires.   I desire to honor You with what I do.  I thought of what my biggest possible plan could be, all the potential I have, and how it would bring glory to You, thinking, if You would just make it happen…

And then I realized something:  if Jesus, with all the ability and power and potential that He possessed, (and He could have called ten thousand angels and made a spectacle the world had never seen before!)  was willing to put it all aside for God the Father’s holy and perfect will for His life; how can I do less?

What is there that I could possibly think of to do, that would be better than anything Jesus could have done?  And He could have done literally ANYthing!  Yet Jesus laid it all down to take up God the Father’s purpose.

I must do the same.   And so echo those words:  “not my will, Lord, but Thine.”

Jesus had the unlimited and infinite capability to accomplish whatever He wanted.  And He gave it all up to accept Your plan.  I have a very limited and puny capability for setting and accomplishing goals.

So rather than asking You to bless whatever plan I may be able to think up, I ask that You would show me the plan You have for this portion of my life.

And give me the courage and strength required to live it in a way that will bring You glory.  Amen.

Matthew 26:36-46

 

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 21 It’s all perspective

woman-790590_1920Holy 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 You are the One I can turn to

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

Dec 2 Your Word is still our prayer

Father, exact these words of Daniel, oddly enough, seem to apply to my country and me in these times.   America has enjoyed Your blessing and protection, but her people have turned away from You and Your values.

Judgment and punishment are at our doorstep, and our only hope is to return to You.  If we do not, I fear a great judgment is coming our way.  So using the very words of Daniel, “I pray to You, the Lord my God and confess:

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“Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps Your covenant of love with those who love You and keep Your commandments, we have sinned and done wrong.  We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from Your commands and laws.   We have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our [government officials], our [spiritual leaders] and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.

“Lord, You are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people [Your believers] and the inhabitants of [our cities] and all [America], both near and far…because of our unfaithfulness to you.   We and our [government officials], our [spiritual leaders] and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against You.   

You, the Lord our God are merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against You; we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws You gave us through Your servants the prophets.   All [America] has transgressed Your law and turned away, refusing to obey You.

“Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, [we are in danger of them being] poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.   You [will fulfill] the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster.  Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem.  [And we are in danger of the same fate.] 

Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster [will] come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to Your truth.  You [will] not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for You, the Lord our God are righteous in everything You do; yet we have not obeyed You.

“Now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for Yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.   Lord, in keeping with all Your righteous acts, turn away Your anger and Your wrath from [America]. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made [America] and Your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of Your servants.  For Your sake, Lord, look with favor on [America].   Give ear, our God, and hear; open Your eyes and see the desolation of the [country] that [has borne] Your Name. 

We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy.   Lord, listen!  Lord, forgive!  Lord, hear and act!  For Your sake, my God, do not delay, because [America] and your people bear your Name.”  Amen

Daniel 9:1-17

Nov 29 Let me be like Daniel

“You are the Living God and You endure forever; Your kingdom will not be destroyed, Your dominion will never end.  You rescue and You save; You perform signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.  You have rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” 

Daniel lion denO Father, do for me what You did for Daniel!  When forces come against me with contrived plans for my demise, save me from their evil strategies!  Deliver me from whatever punishment they seek to be my end.  Put people in my life who will come to my defense like King Darius, and will pay back my enemies.

Let me be like Daniel.   Make me steadfast in my faith, recognizing You are worthy to be worshipped no matter the social or political climate.  Help me be faithful to pray, trusting in You no matter what.

An interesting point is that Daniel was in his eighties when he was thrown into the lion’s den.  This means that since he was taken captive as a boy in his teens, he never lost faith in You!

He continued his prayer life and godly lifestyle all throughout his years.  He remained a man of integrity and faith.  Even those jealous of his position found him to be “trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.”  Let this be true of me also.

A time is coming when lawless, ungodly men will be judged.  As the flood destroyed the earth once, You will destroy it again by fire.  But I will see a new heaven and a new earth created by Your hand.

As I await that day I want to live, like Daniel, a holy and godly life.

In the Words of the Psalmist: “Direct my footsteps according to Your Word; let no sin rule over me…Make Your face shine upon Your servant and teach me Your decrees.”

Father, this is how I can live the life I desire.  With Your help, I can grow in Your grace and knowledge.  Amen

Daniel 6:1-28; II Peter 3:1-18; Psalm 119:133-135

Nov 27 Your Gifts

“Your divine power has given [me] everything [I] need for a godly life…”  “You have given [me] Your very great and precious promises…”. 

Thank You Father, that I have all that I need:

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prayer as a way to hear from and talk to You

Your Word as a guidebook.

the Holy Spirit who reveals spiritual truth to me

 

And You have promised me:

Your eternal love

Your constant presence

Your faithfulness

Your protection

Your provision

All this because You are my personal Savior.

Help me live in the light of these gifts.  And nurture qualities that will lead me to be effective and productive.  Peter tells me these qualities are: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness and love.  Some of these are the Fruit of the Spirit and will grow in me as I am obedient to Your Spirit’s leading.  Help me embrace opportunities for each of these qualities to grow in my life.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Your Word, the Scriptures, are that light for me.  When I am not sure which option is best, Your Word tells me “Trust in the Lord with all Your heart and lean not on Your own understanding.”

When I feel frustrated with some results, You tell me “Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time [you] will reap a harvest…”  Or when I feel discouraged, alone and depressed, You tell me “I have carried you since your birth…I will continue to be with you and sustain you, even when you have gray hairs.  I will always carry you; I will always sustain you; I will always rescue you.” [paraphrased to personalize]

Your Word helps me see that next step and take it.  Thank You Father, that You care so much for me that even in the darkness of this world and its “wisdom” You have made a way for me to stay on Your path and keep moving ahead safely.  Amen

II Peter 1:1-8; Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 3:5; Galatians 6:9; Isaiah 46:3-4

 

Nov 26 Teach me

Father, thank You for Peter’s reminder that as the end approaches, believers must be earnest in prayer, share Your deep love with others, and use our Spiritual gifts.

Some of these sound so easy.  None of them are.  I can’t do any of them without Your help.

What I can do is come to You in prayer.  You help me in so many ways.  I love my conversations with You!

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Sometimes I feel closer to You when I walk around the lake, or through the trees, or can see the mountains.  When I am surrounded by Your amazing creation, You often give me a word of instruction or encouragement.

You have taught me things by watching geese flying above, or ducks feeding in the pond, or sunlight shining through dark clouds.  You have shown me how to be humble through the faces of blossoms that track the sunlight across the sky, or sunflowers that have heads so heavy with seed that they bend low.

It is so easy to praise You in the presence of the beauty of Your creation, and when things are going well.  But rejoicing in suffering is harder to do.  Sometimes, my side of the conversation is sobbing and tears.  It is anxious pleading with pain.

You reach out to me then too.  There is nothing You cannot handle.  There is nothing too big or too small to bring to You.  Thank You for this life-saving and life-giving privilege of prayer.

Father, teach me how to show Your great love to others.  It‘s usually easy to do with strangers.  Kindness to a stranger is short-lived.  Help me to be loving and forgiving and hospitable to those I know.

Show me how to be humble, and not grumble.   And especially to those I know well, give me perseverance to act and speak in love for the long haul.

Lord, lead me in seeking out ways to join You where You are already at work, in ways that will use my Spiritual gifts.  Give me the energy and stamina to serve.   Show me how to serve humbly so You get the credit.  And let me recognize when to step back so another can use their gifts.

In all these things, let me also be aware of “[my] enemy the devil” who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Help me see through his lies and deceptions.  Help me avoid his traps and temptations.   Strengthen me to resist him in all his cunning ways.   Make me strong, firm and steadfast.

Yours is the power forever.  I know You will never fail me.  Thank You.  Amen

I Peter 4:7-11; 5:5-8

Nov 21 Your Word is treasure

Father thank You for warning me not to trust in earthly riches. Wealth, possessions, gold and silver are not the treasure I seek. They can lead to greed and the sins that greed temps a person to commit.

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Rather, I treasure Your Word. It gives me a wealth of knowledge and wisdom about how to receive Your blessing: something of far greater value.

You Word says I will be blessed when I “walk according to the law of the Lord…keep Your statutes and seek You with all [my] heart.” I can keep my way pure “by living according to Your Word.” So Father, “I seek You with all my heart: do not let me stray from Your commands.” I desire to be blessed; show me how to walk in Your path.

Lord, I will “hide Your Word in my heart.” I will read it, honor it, study to understand it, memorize it, and do what it says. When I do not understand it, I will pray for clarity of meaning and how to apply it to my life.

When people around me say one thing and Your Word says another, give me the conviction to be obedient to Your truth. Help me see through the misleading lies and the deceiving values of society and not be tripped up by them. Give me the strength I need to be true to You.

Because You tell me how powerful prayer is, I will pray

prayer conversations candlefor the wisdom to stay on Your path

giving thanks when I am happy

for healing when I am sick

for help when I am in trouble

for forgiveness when I have sinned.

Father, help my prayers be powerful and effective.

Besides me, so many people need Your help in so many ways. I believe praying for them is one way I can help; even the best way I can help them.

So, like Elijah, I pray earnestly and in faith, knowing that You are the One who can answer. You have the power, Lord. And You have the will.

We are all Your creations, Lord. Thank You that You love and care for us. Amen

James 5:1-6; 13-20; Psalm 119:1-16

Oct 17 Pray for others

Father, as I worship You, and speak to You in prayer, it is most often to give thanks with praise and to intercede for myself and those close to me.

But today in scripture, You urge me to pray, intercede and give thanks for all people.

hug-2709635_640What a huge task!  It broadens my focus and gives me a small sense of Your job: to care for and love every single person on the planet!  For they are each Your creation, and dear to Your heart.

As I begin, it helps me to think of categories of people.  So I pray first for all children.  Would You provide for their needs: physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Some are very well off, born to parents who love and value them and have the means to care for them.  Do not let them be misled to think they have all they need, when what they need most is You.

Other children are born into poverty, neglect, even abuse.  Father, protect them and let them feel especially close to You.  Reveal Yourself to them to encourage, empower and save them.   Teach them all to hear and understand Your voice and obey it, whatever their circumstances.   Bring a godly advocate into their lives who will stand up and speak for these without a voice.

Father, give every mother a heart for her child.  Guide them to love and care for their children; to protect them and pray for them; and teach them about You.  Give them the courage to correct them in love.

Lord, I lift up every man who is a father.  Help them to see the position of accountability they are in in regards to their family.  Show them how to provide for and love their children with a father’s love.  Do not let them harm or exasperate their children.  Impress upon them to set a godly example.

For men and women everywhere, whether married or single, Lord, bring them to a saving knowledge of who You are.  Cause them to hunger and thirst for the truth, whatever their current state or religion.  Place godly counselors and mentors in each life, who can lead them to You and encourage them in becoming believers.

Help them stand strong in the face of temptation, fear and doubt; recognizing the lies and deceit of the evil one, and turning from it.  Give them discernment and guidance for decisions they face.

Father, protect married couples in the face of the temptations of infidelity and other things that would seek to separate them: money problems, anger, greed, selfishness, violence.

Forces in this world seek to destroy marriage and undermine the system of family that You set up.   Father, overturn those forces.  Likewise, protect singles from the temptations of lust, loneliness, and the desires that would turn them to idolatry.  Show them how to live with godly values.

Father, for those leaders of anything, and people in positions of authority over families, communities, churches, businesses, nations; bring them to a saving knowledge of You.  Give them clarity in hearing Your voice in their personal and professional lives.  Give them the courage to follow wherever You would lead them.

Show them that with their position of authority comes responsibility and accountability.  If they are persecuting believers, stop them.  Open their eyes and change their hearts to know and follow You.  Place godly role models, mentors, counselors and accountability figures in their lives.  Give them godly wisdom to overcome obstacles, difficulties and problems to bring unity and peace to their respective arenas of authority.

Lord, as I pray, I picture elected Washington officials, African children, Muslim women.  All need Your touch on their lives.  Every one is someone special to You.  Every one is someone You died to save.

Let each one of them know how very much You love them.  And that You have a good plan and purpose for their lives.  Amen

I Timothy 2:1-6

Aug 26 God of all comfort

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“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.”  

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.

Our 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.

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

Aug 19 Like Esther

such a time as this

Father, here is one of the great faith statements.  Mordecai has no doubt that You will save him and his people.  He sends this message to Esther “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your family will perish.”

His faith is strong.  He is sure that You will save Your people.  The only question is how.

Father, strengthen my faith, so that even in the darkest time, there is no doubt in my mind or heart that You will deliver me.  The problems I deal with seem so small compared to the circumstances here.  No one has ever marked me and my family or church for death.  But I know that the difficulties I face in my life are a concern of Yours as well.

Thank You that there is no problem too big for You to handle.  And thank You that there is also no problem too small for You to help me with.  Thank You that like Mordecai’s and Esther’s, You answer my prayers as well.

Here is also one of the great challenges in scripture. Mordecai includes in his message: “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”   It is so evident that He believes You orchestrated the events in this time and of Esther becoming queen.

The question is, will she rise to be the instrument of deliverance You placed her there to be?

She did.  But Lord, will I?

Is there something You have orchestrated in my life that I need to respond to, because You have placed me where I am “for such a time as this”?

Father, open my eyes to see if there is something You are preparing me for, calling me to.  And give me the courage to act.  It may not be as big or as risky as Esther’s call.  It may only be something small: inviting someone to church, praying with a friend or stranger, reaching out to someone who has no one.

Help me see Lord, where You could use me, how You can use me.  Don’t let me do it in my own strength, but like Esther, let me go forward in prayer and in Your power.

Because “Your love reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies, Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, Your justice like the great deep, and Your unfailing love is priceless,” let me and my loved ones “take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.”

Protect us from whatever comes against us, attacking us in any area of our lives: financial, physical, emotional, psychological, relational, spiritual.  I give our finances to You, and place them in the shadow of Your wings.  I offer You our relationships, our emotions, our thoughts, our attitudes.  Father, keep our spirits safe and turned to You alone.

Let me and my loved ones “feast on the abundance of Your house”, let us “drink from Your river of delights.  You are the fountain of life”.  Let us live in this abundant blessing.   Amen

Esther 4:1- 7:10; Psalm 36:5-9

Jul 29 Be transformed

Father, I see this list of admonitions of how to live a godly life, and it shows how much room I have for improvement.  The truth is, I can’t even do one of them without You!  It is only in experiencing Your grace that I can be gracious to others.

door-672999_640Forgive me Father, when I “think of myself more highly than I ought.”  With the advertising slogans of today it’s easy to become focused on self, and what I “deserve” to have.  It puffs me up, making it hard to “honor one another above yourselves.”   I find myself feeling proud and entitled.

Lord, turn me around when this happens.  Help me see my behavior through Your eyes.  Remind me “share with Your people who are in need” and “practice hospitality.”  Show me how to “live in harmony with others”, and “as much as I can, to be at peace with them.”

That may mean giving up what I perceive as some of my “rights” and saying “I’m sorry, I was wrong” when I am in the wrong.  I realize that I hate being wrong; and even worse, I hate to admit it.  How can I change the way I am, Lord?

It has to come from You.  But I can do my part.  You challenge me, no, You command me: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  The pattern of this world is selfishness, egotism, greed, if you want it – get it, or if it feels good – do it.  And I need to be more than a non-conformer.  I need to be a transformer.

I can be transformed by spending time with You in prayer.  Hearing from You can redirect my focus, rewrite my priorities.

I can be transformed and have my worldview reshaped by reading Your Word.   The way I think affects the way I act.  So if I think on things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy – I will act accordingly.

Thank You Father for showing me the way.  For inspiring me to achieve.  For helping me accomplish.  I desire to be all You created me to be, and to receive all that You have for me.

Today, help me see one thing I can change and help me do it.  Amen

Romans12:1-21; Philippians 4:8

Jul 26 Praying Psalm 20

Psalm20scrollFather, Remind me to set aside time to read Your Word, and study it to understand what it is saying, and what that means to me.  Help me understand how to apply its truth to my life, and to be obedient to do all that it says.

Your Word in Psalms today is a wonderful prayer.  “May You answer me when I am in distress.”   Thank You Lord, that I can call on You any time.  You are never too busy to hear my cry for help.  And there is no kind of distress that You cannot handle.

You can help me when I am physically ill, hurt, weak, or weary.   You can handle it when I am in an emotional or psychological state of anxiety, sadness, depression, worry, fear, or grief.  You can uplift me when I am in spiritual turmoil or confusion or when I am feeling tempted.

“May Your Name protect me.”  Father, there is great power in Your name.  Yahweh!  Jehovah!  Jesus!  Almighty God!  El Shaddai!  Adonai!

Your name reflects Your character: who You are and Your attributes.  There is such power and reverence in Your name, some even avoid saying it at all, in order to not take it in vain.  They write or speak “HaShem” which in Hebrew means “The Name” referring to You alone.  May HaShem protect me!

“May You send me help from the sanctuary and grant me support from Zion.”  From wherever I am, You can send help from wherever You are.   Your help is better than any the world can offer.  It can deliver me from anything.   It can help me bear up under any circumstance or oppression.

“May You remember all my sacrifices and accept my burnt offerings.”  The sacrifices You desire are obedience and a contrite or repentant heart.  A burnt offering is one that is offered up totally.  It is completely consumed in the fire.  May my life be entirely and wholly offered to You.  May my words, actions, and attitudes all honor You.

“May You give me the desires of my heart and make all my plans succeed.”  Father, make Your desires mine.  Take away any desires I have that are not God-honoring.  Help me see Your plan and join You there.  And within this framework Father, “grant all my requests.”

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but I trust in the Name of the Lord my God.”  What is considered power and might in the world are worthless compared to Your power and might.  I will not place my trust in politicians, or leaders, or in any person.  I will not trust my future to a job or a paycheck.  I will not find my sense of security in fame or position, good looks or good health.

But I will rely on You, trust in You, depend on You.  For You alone are trustworthy.  I will shout for joy when You bring victory into my life!   And I will glorify Your Name!  Amen

Psalm 20:1-9

Jul 24 4 Gifts: Prayer, Plans, Presence, Power

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Father, there are so many comforts in this passage of Romans today.  You are gracious to me in so many wonderful ways.

What a gift prayer is!

What an immeasurably awesome gift to be able to speak to and hear from the Creator of the Universe!  Sometimes I am so filled with joy and thanks and praise, I hardly know how to express the overflow of my heart.   But Your Holy Spirit communicates for me what I do not know how to say.

Other times I am so filled with grief and sorrow I cannot even mouth the words for my crying and tears.  And again, Your Holy Spirit knows my heart and conveys my requests for help to You.   Thank You for knowing me so well and providing for this meaningful non-verbal interaction.

Your plan for me.

Beyond prayer and communicating with You, I can know without a doubt, that You have my very best interest in mind and in Your plans for me.  Because I love You and am Yours, I seek to know and do what You have purposed for my life.  When I am in Your will, regardless of how things look to me from my limited perspective, I can trust that You have the power and the ability and the desire to work all things together for my good.

Father, help me know Your will so I can remain in it.  Being obedient is how I can show I love You.  There is nothing too difficult for You.  And nothing limits You.

Your presence is a gift.

You have told me that nothing can separate me from Your love.  No person, no trouble, no hardship, no persecution, no danger or sword, no famine or nakedness.  “In all these things, I am more than a conqueror through You!”  For “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from Your love!” 

With all the experiences and emotions that I have, how comforting to know that there is no power above or below or anywhere, that will keep You away from me.

Your power is ultimate!

You can span any distance, overcome any obstacle, move any object, overpower any influence.

Your love is not dependent on me or on anything I do.  I cannot mess up so badly that it would keep You away.  You will always love me.  It is Your character and Your promise.

Thank You for these words of comfort, for these promises I can count on.  Thank You for being You.  Amen

Romans 8:26-39

Jul 22 Heal our land

flag needs prayerO Father, Solomon knew the people so well.  Even as You inhabited the Temple, and Your Glory shone all around, he knew Your people would turn away from You.  He prayed for Your forgiveness and mercy, and You answered with a promise we can claim today.

“If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Father, I belong to You.  I am called a Christian after Your Name “Christ.”  So it is my responsibility to intercede: pray for my community, my country.   That also makes it my responsibility to humble myself and turn from my sin.

It’s so easy to point a finger at corrupt people who take advantage of and mislead others.  Or to ask for forgiveness for “corporate sin” – the sin committed by others in my nation or society as a whole. But You did not stipulate only the guilty looking people confess, but Your people.

I cannot get away from the need to confess my personal sin too.

So Father, I humble myself before You.  I have not measured up in so many ways.  I do not deserve the blessings You pour out on me.   Show me where there is wickedness in my life: my words, my actions, my attitude.

Forgive me when I have spoken but should have held my tongue.  Forgive me when I held my tongue but should have spoken.

I have allowed fear to dictate when I was willing to stand up for You.  I have allowed my comfort to set the limits of my generosity when it comes to giving of my time and talents and treasure.

Lord I seek Your face to bring a spiritual awakening and revival upon my country.  Renew the Biblical values this country was founded on.  Let Your people once again know Your presence, Your power and Your blessing.

“I love You Lord.  You are my strength.  You are my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.  I call to You, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.”  Amen

2 Chronicles 6:12-7:16; Psalm 18:1-3 

Jul 17 Your Truth delivers me

Dear Father, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?”

Helmet of SalvationIt seems some days are harder than others.  If even one negative thought comes into my head, it can bring me down.  I glumly mull it over and the thought generates an emotional response.  Very easily other negative thoughts join in and pile up on each other till I am feeling discouraged.

Quickly enough, discouragement heaps on even more “should have, would have, could haves” until I am feeling out of control, overwhelmed and depressed and join with the psalmist in saying “Give light to my eyes or I will sleep in death.”  In my own words, “Help me or I’ll just die.”

It’s surprising how quickly simple thoughts can lead to anger, fear, frustration, until I am not only emotionally upset, but also experience a physical response which can leave me with a headache or feeling sick to my stomach.  It impairs my judgment and my ability to function efficiently, whether at work or at home.  I can’t even relate to people normally in my agitated condition.

“But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.”   You have already given me a wonderful solution to this problem.  If only I would remember to use it!

The battle begins in my mind.  And You have given me a piece of armor to protect my mind – the Helmet of Salvation.   It guards my thoughts and gives me the ability to take them captive and hold them up to Your truth.  It also gives me the ability to understand and memorize Your truth so I have it at the ready when I need it.

Your truth can help me stop the flow of wrong and negative thoughts.  The evil one uses these, preferring that I remain sidelined in discouragement and depression, unable to defend myself.  He will use these kinds of half-truths and deceiving lies to mislead and condemn me.  But when held up to the truth, they are shattered and scattered.

One way I can know if a thought comes from You, is that You convict whereas satan condemns.  He would make me feel like a hopeless, dirty, rotten, sinner.  You may correct me, but Your words lift me up, motivate and empower me to make the needed corrections.  Your words generate hopefulness.  His produce hopelessness.

Lord, remind me, to use this amazing gift!  When a negative thought comes, prompt me to hold it up to Your truth immediately.  Help me build into my memory an arsenal of truth from Your scriptures.  When I memorize scripture I can use it to combat the lies seeking to discourage me and control my thinking.  Then I can confidently deal with whatever truth You show me.  “I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me!”  Amen

Psalm 13:1-6

Jul 16 Robed in Righteousness

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Thank You Father for giving me a righteousness I could never earn on my own.

You know human tendencies and have proclaimed “There is no one righteous, not even one.”  David even wrote in a song: “the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men.”

When You gave the Law You knew no one could ever live up to that standard.  What it did was make people aware of their sin, pointing them to their need for a Savior.

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from the Law, has been made known.  The Law and the Prophets testify to it.  This righteousness from God comes from faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”   The Savior that was needed is a gift from You.  So thanks to You, I have the righteousness that will allow me to live and be with You forever.

David knew this righteousness, even in his sin.  And he knew You would keep Your promise to him.  He had dreams for his son, as I have for mine, and prayed for Solomon.  I join him in asking that my sons “will be [men] of peace and rest…that You would be with them and give them success…may You give [them] discretion and understanding…[may they] be strong and courageous and not afraid or discouraged.”

Father, I thank You for Your righteousness.  Apart from You I have nothing.  I am nothing.   You protect me and keep me safe.  No matter the circumstance, my faith and my trust are in You.   Amen

I Chronicles 22:1-13; Romans 3:9-26; Psalm 12:1

Jul 8 You are our Hope

usa-1491725_640Be merciful to me, Lord…O Lord, heal me.”  Father, there have been times when not only my body, but my soul have been sick with grief, with fear, with frustration.  There are times when I do not understand why such bad things happen to good, seemingly innocent people and children.

Or why tragedies come: floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires.  Such devastation is hard to watch as the suffering and loss is personalized by the news reporting teams.  And that doesn’t even include man’s inhumanity to man as I hear about shootings and bombings and the violent plans of bloodthirsty men.

As hard as all this is to take in, there are the invisible tragedies as well.  These are the spiritual disasters that occur when people are deceived and led away from You into lives of confusion and sin.  As I see hate and mistrust grow in my family, community and nation I wonder where it will end.  How bad can it get O Lord, before You come and deliver?

I see children rebelling, pulling away from the godly way their parents have raised them.  When will they come to their senses Lord?

I see young people swayed into immoral lifestyles by the social tolerances of the day.  What one generation has allowed in moderation, the next has taken to excess.

Greed runs rampant.  Self is exalted.  Consequences are non-existent.  But the spiritual cost is beyond measure.

While it all looks fun on the outside, many of these people are tortured in their personal life.  They are trapped in a web of self-doubt and pain, discontented with life.  The more they seek to satisfy “self” the more dissatisfied and confused they are.  The further away they get from Your truth, the more lost and unable to even recognize truth they become

“How long, O Lord, how long?  Turn and deliver; save because of Your unfailing love.”

Your love and deliverance are the only hope.   For my family, my community, my nation.

Father, turn the hearts of sons back to fathers.  “Open the eyes “of those who have been drawn away from You, “and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to You, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in You.”

“Father, hear my cry for mercy.  Accept my prayer.”  I long for and wait for the time when all Your enemies will be ashamed and dismayed; and will turn back in sudden disgrace.”  And You will be remembered and worshipped as the One True God.  In my family.  In my nation.  In the world.  I need, we need Your mercy Father.  And Your healing.  Thank You that You hear my cry, and answer.  Amen

Acts 26:18; Psalm 6:1-10

Jul 7 Hear my morning prayer

Father, like You acted in Paul’s life, would You orchestrate my circumstances to allow for opportunities to bring You glory, and would You fill my mouth with the words to say as I give testimony to Your greatness.

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Although Paul’s situation of being in prison did not change, You allowed a greater and greater audience for Your truth to be spoken.   There are situations in my life that I would prefer be changed so I don’t have to deal with the hardships they bring and the worry they cause.  But I am willing to accept whatever conditions You allow, knowing that You are with me, and will defend me, and will use them to Your glory.

Thank You Lord, that this “morning You heard my voice.  As I laid my requests before You,” I know You were listening and are able to act in even the most complicated of circumstances.  I was able to get up and go on with my day, knowing and trusting that You are in control as I “wait in expectation.”

“Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness…make straight my way before me.  I take refuge in You, so let me be glad; let me ever sing for joy.  Spread Your protection over me, and all who who love Your name and rejoice in You…Surround me with Your favor as with a shield.”

If my husband or sons or I have offended each another, let us be soft-hearted towards one another.  Rather than being like fortified cities, where entry is barred, let them open their gates to each other and welcome each other in brotherly love.  Bless them Lord, and surround them also, with Your favor.  Amen

Acts 25:1-27; Psalm 5:1-12; Proverbs 18:19

Jul 3 Your Word nourishes me

tree streamFather, at age twenty-four, King Josiah read Your Words for the first time.  They affected him so profoundly that he wept and tore his robes.  He gave orders to the priests and others to bring the country’s worship practices in line with what You commanded.  He rid the nation of all remaining idolatry and led his people in worshiping the One True God.

O Lord, I pray that Your Word would still have that effect on people.

Let it be true in my life, that when I read Your Word, it’s meaning is clear to me, and I immediately obey what it says.  If I misunderstand, let me hear Your voice correcting me.  If I forget to obey, remind me.   And if I don’t want to obey, change my attitude.

As in the Psalm, make me like a tree planted by streams of water.  This is a tree that will always have the moisture it needs for its roots to go down deep into the soil and feed from the rich nutrients in the earth to make it strong.  Such a tree will not wither or loose its leaves, but will remain healthy and strong the whole year.

Let me grow in this manner so my faith will yield abundant and good fruit when the time is right: fruit that will glorify and bring honor to You.  Make me strong in my faith, able to withstand the heat, the cold, the wind and storms.  Bless my actions and my service to You with abundance.

Father, let me know Your Word so intimately it becomes my strength and my guide.  Let me speak boldly of my relationship with You to encourage others.  And let these things make me fruitful, like the tree, that brings about a bountiful harvest to honor You and nourish others.  Amen

2 Kings 22:3-23:30; Psalm 1:1-6

Jul 1 A good king – a great prayer!

Finally Father, a good king!  Hezekiah was a good king (few and far between) of the southern kingdom of Judah.

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He removed the high places that other kings had allowed to be used for pagan worship and smashed all the sacred stones and Asherah poles.

During one of Assyria’s attacks, Hezekiah prayed to You because the Assyrian king mocked and ridiculed You, claiming You could not save Your people.  And You answered and delivered them.   I echo those powerful words.

“Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, You alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth.  You have made heaven and earth.  Give ear, Oh Lord, and hear; open Your eyes Oh Lord, and see, listen to the words [of the world and the evil one], sent to insult the living God. “

  “It is true, Oh Lord, that (the evil one) has attacked and laid waste (to many, winning victories over their lives).  Now, Oh Lord, our God, deliver (me and my loved ones) from the hand of the enemy “- from any plot or plan to derail me, or us from the purpose and plan You have for our lives  – from any lies or deception the world or the evil one would use to oppress us  – from any harm the enemy would seek to do in our lives, whether physical, mental, emotional, psychological, intellectual, social, financial, political or spiritual – “so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You, alone, Oh Lord, are God. “

My loved ones and I may not have to do battle on horseback with spears, but our enemies are real.   Powers and forces come against our family, our godly values, our emotions, our finances, our life circumstances; all trying to defeat us and make us lose our faith in You.

Your response to Hezekiah was positive and powerful.  I desire the same victory You gave Him, Father:

“The enemy will not enter (my life or the lives of my loved ones) or launch an attack (against us).  The enemy will not come against us with shield or build a siege ramp against us (to gain a foothold in our lives or cause devastation within our walls).  By the way that the enemy came (to oppress us,) he will leave and will not enter.   You will defend us and save us, for Your own sake. “     

You were true to Your Word to Hezekiah, and I know You will be faithful to me.  Father, thank You that there is nothing too big and nothing too small for me to ask of You.   You have the power, the authority and the desire to act.  Thank You that You can do immeasurably more than I can ask, or even imagine, in my life, and in the lives of my loved ones – so that You will get all the glory!   Amen

2 Kings 18:13-19:37

Jun 19 Your Word, Your Spirit, Your Voice

God's Word 3Precept??Father, how amazing that You sent Your Word through prophets to the kings of Israel to give them direction, instruction, correction, even advice on successful battle plans!  You sent specific word to Ahab to determine that he should fight against the thirty-three kings and their armies and chariots assembled.  You told him who should lead the attack, when, and who would win.

I often wish there were such easily discernable ways I could hear from You.  If only You would send me an email, or write across the sky to inform me about decisions or concerns I face.

And then I realize – You have written me a letter – It’s Your Holy Word!

If I take the time to read it, often, things become clear.  If I had never read the Bible, I wouldn’t know that in it, You have already included instructions for godly, moral living.

You have already made Yourself very clear on many topics that relate to me today.  Instead of hearing of and memorizing only scattered verses, I need to feed myself, and know the entirety of what You have to say to me.

So, reading Your word is a start.  Studying it for a deeper understanding is also important.  Then connecting the dots to how what You have said impacts my life, is crucial.

Some Bible study methods have big words for this: observation, interpretation, application.  Very simply, it is asking: What are You saying?  What does it mean?  What does it mean to me?

So big part of the burden to hear from You is on me to listen to what You have already said.

But to help me even more, You have given me, and every believer, the Holy Spirit.

Part of the Holy Spirit’s job is to help me understand, apply, and live by what Your Word says to me.  I need to pay attention to what it is telling me, and be obedient, not ignore, discard, or drown out what I hear.

Thank You that I can hear from You just as specifically as those who heard the prophets speak.  You have given me so much more to help me in knowing You and understanding You.

Thank You for Your Word.  Thank You for the Holy Spirit.

Help me make reading and studying Your Word a priority for my time and energy.  And do not let me quench the Holy Spirit.

And thank You that I can even talk to You personally in prayer.  And know that You hear me.  And trust that You’ll answer.  What an awesome God!  Amen

I Kings 20:1-22

Jun 18 You know what I need

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

prayer answers

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 answered.  How 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 to 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 prayer.  Sometimes 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

 

June 6 By God’s Power

“Sovereign Lord, You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of Your servant David when he said ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?  The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against His Anointed One.’.”

God in control

It was true in David’s time that the Philistines and others came and attacked Your people who were led by the men You had anointed to rule them.  When You came to Israel in the flesh, the High Priest and Sanhedrin plotted against You to have You killed.

And today, many other religions are set against You and Your believers with plans of destruction.  Even more, the culture I live in does not embrace a Biblical worldview, but is focused on material gain, social success, political intrigue and self-gratification.

The prayer of Your disciples is a great guide for me.  First, they acknowledged that You were and are in control.  “They did what Your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”  In David’s time, in Your time here on earth, and now in my life, You are in control.  When things aren’t going well, I sometimes forget that.

Thank You for the reminder that I don’t have to worry that something is going to slip by You unnoticed.  You know all things.  You do not sit wringing Your hands wondering what to do next.  I can trust that not only is Your plan advancing, but Your plan is the best one for me.  Your power and Your will have already determined beforehand, what is best.

Their prayer was to “enable Your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness.”   What a courageous prayer!  The disciples had just been told by the religious leaders NOT to speak of You, and they had the courage to say they would prefer to obey You, rather than obey man.

Show me Lord, when I should speak.  And as I open my mouth, fill it with Your words.  And then close it when I am to remain silent.

“Stretch out Your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of Your Holy Servant Jesus.”  I have spoken to several people in the last few days who have described dire circumstances for themselves and/or their children.   What I see is that the stage is set for You to do a miracle!

Let the people of my generation see that You are a miracle-working God.  Let them see how much You care for them, and want to have a personal relationship with them.  When things work out, let them see and acknowledge Your hand in their lives, and turn to You!

This was a powerful prayer for the disciples.  I ask it would also be for me.  Amen

Acts 4:1-31

 

May 28 Your Protection

jesus_prays_for_us

Lord God, thank You for praying for me.  Thank You for looking into the future and identifying “those who would believe in You through their [the disciples] message.”

Thank You for protecting me by the power of Your name because I am Yours.

Thank You for praying for me Yourself, personally; not to take me out of this world, but to protect me from the evil one in this world.   That includes the arrogant who dig pitfalls for me trying to entrap me by their political intrigues, their social agendas, and their false philosophies that are contrary to what You teach in Your Word.

It includes those who would persecute me because they hate You, and those who want to see me wiped from the earth.  And the wicked, waiting to destroy me, my health, my finances, my relationships, and defeat my spirit.  Thank You that You have the power to preserve my life and all these things according to Your love.

When I do not feel strong help me remember Your Word.  Your Word is eternal.  Its promises are true forever.

Just as the earth You created still stands, Your truth still stands.  Your faithfulness and love are steadfast and boundless.  Thank You for the encouragement of Your prayer for me.  And for the protection I have in You.  Amen

John 17:6-26; Psalm 119:89-96

May 21 Family Victory

bhwhat-makes-a-family-holy-

Father in heaven, as You did for David, would You do for me and my family?  Would You “protect us and hand over to us the forces that come against us.”

David was fighting a real physical enemy.  Life and death were in the balance.

They were in hand-to-hand combat to regain what had been taken from them: their families and possessions.  David “inquired of the Lord” to seek Your will before he acted, and You promised him victory.

Father, I come before You today to seek Your will for my family; to ask if You will give us victory over the forces that are at work in the world today that pull us apart and away from You.

We do not fight hand to hand with a physical enemy.  But we live in a culture where family values are going by the wayside and Biblical values are not honored.

Parental authority is being eroded, parents are disrespected, children are rebellious and often rude.  We fight against selfishness, greed, hate, violence, immorality, materialism, the occult, witchcraft, and all the schemes of satan.

Father, especially in my family, would You give me wisdom as a parent to know when to speak and when to keep quiet, so I can offer wise counsel and not destructive comments.  Set a guard over my mouth to use words that are instructive, edifying and building up according to the needs of the one I seek to help.

Show me how to pray for Your perfect will in my children’s’ lives, not simply what I think will benefit them.  Keep me from comparing them to other friend’s children, or even each other.

Lord, keep the lines of communication open so conversations between us will be effective and filled with love and respect.

Give my children discernment so they are not swept away by the vain philosophies of men and the political schemes that do not support Biblical values.

Help them recognize and turn away from temptation when it would lead to greed, immorality, the occult or anything satan would use to draw them away from You.  Block their way when others entice them into ungodly activities.

Let them seek to bless with their words, and not curse.  Draw them to Yourself and instruct them in the way they should go to be in the middle of Your will and Your  blessing.  Remind them of their need for a Savior, and the joy of having a close relationship with You.

And I will give thanks that You are with me and You are my Helper.  Because of that, I will look triumphantly upon these foes.  I take refuge in You, Lord.  You are my strength and my Victory!  Amen

I Samuel 30:1-25; Psalm 118:7, 14

May 7 It’s all about You

Father, let me be like Hannah.

Hannah words

Let me be earnest and persistent in prayer as Hannah was, pouring out my feelings and heartaches to You.

When I make a promise to You, help me be true to my word as Hannah was, no matter how hard it is.  Hannah gave back to You the very thing she prayed for: a precious son.

Help me hold Your blessings loosely enough that I do not love them more than I love You.

I will rejoice as Hannah did over all You do for me.  Help me acknowledge that all my blessings come from You.  It is You who give life and take it away, You who send poverty and wealth.

It is not by strength that I or anyone else prevails, but You who guard my feet and give me strength and victory over my enemies.

I delight in Your deliverance and in Your justice.  You are the Lord God Almighty who knows and weighs all deeds.  You laid the foundations of the world and set it in place.  There is no one holy like You.

Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen

I Samuel 1:1-2:11