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Category Archives: Prayer

Hearing Our Father’s Voice, Above All Others

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.” Isa. 55:1-3 (NIV)

     Heavenly Father, we love everything about this passage, but especially your passion for being heard. So many other voices vie for our attention, and we need your voice to rise above the chatter and confusion. Thank you for always addressing us as your beloved children, and for always speaking the dialect of grace. Turn up the volume, Father.

Cut through the haunting voice of our shame. Sometimes the “what if’s” and “if only’s” of our past drown out your voice. Vain regrets create a bondage that’s hard to break, but the gospel can mute them. Grant us greater freedom, Lord. We trust in Jesus’ righteousness, not in penance for our past.

Speak more convincingly than our fears do, Father. It’s hard to accept not being in control—of health and happiness, pain and people. But if we can’t (won’t) trust our unknown future to you, our known God, who will we trust? We live in an ever-changing world, but you are our never changing Father. Hallelujah!

Drown out our self-centered, self-pity-filled, orphan-like musings. Sometimes the loudest voice in our hearts is our own dry, dusty, faithless monologue. We …

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Grace for Our Thorns, Burrs, Punches, and Arrows

     Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Cor. 12:9 NLT

Heavenly Father, thank you for promising to give us all the grace we need, no matter the circumstance, crisis, or crucible. You gave Paul “sufficient grace” for his “thorn in the flesh”—though he really wanted you to remove his thorn. Thank you for his model of honesty in struggle, boldness in prayer, and submission to your heart, hand, and timetable. Help us, as well, also believe you are doing all things well, even when you don’t do all things easy.

For our “thorns in the flesh”: Grant us grace to accept the inconvenient, limiting, painful things going on in our bodies. Until you give us our resurrection bodies, help us whine less, and worship more, as we deal with the wear and tear of our “outer man.” Free us to boast in, rather than bemoan about, our weaknesses. Reveal Jesus to us and through us, and it will be enough.

For our “burrs in the saddle”: Father, some of us have to deal with irritating people and aggravating circumstances on a daily basis. Whether on the job, or in our homes, if you’re not going to change certain people and situations, then please change us, Father. Give us bigger hearts and thicker skins, wisdom from above and grace on the ground.

For …

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Overwhelmed with God’s Mercy, Grace, and Hope

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory Eph. 1:13-14

Heavenly Father, what a blessed morning this is—sitting beside a roaring fire pit, on a chilly May morning, among the Redwoods of California, lingering under the waterfall of your grace—pouring down on my heart from the high cliffs of grace in the book of Ephesians. It’s hard to stand up to the rush of so much glory and grace, peace and love, encouragement and hope. It’s simply overwhelming.

Reading through this one little epistle, alone, we discover that we’ve been loved before the foundation of the world; chosen in Christ and called in life; justified by faith and declared righteous in your sight; adopted by Abba, Father and betrothed to Jesus, our Savior; sealed, indwelt and gifted by the Holy Spirit; placed in your church and given a family. What a generous God you are, alone worthy of all that we have and are.

In Christ, you’ve given us a completely forgiven past, a present standing in grace, and a future of unimaginable wonder. But what really encourages me today is to realize, yet again, that all of this heavenly goodness is guaranteed. You’ve “sealed the deal” by the Holy Spirit. You’ve given us the down payment, firstfruits, and promise of a future beyond our wildest dreams, imagining, and asking.

There’ll be no …

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Honoring Our Longings and Waiting on the Lord

Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts. 1 John 5:21 (NLT)

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 1 Cor. 10:14 (ESV)

My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways. Prov. 23:26 (NIV)

Heavenly Father, these Scriptures remind us that the battle for our hearts is nonstop. Idols, wanna-be-gods, and “empty nothings” constantly crave our affection and trust. It’s a war that will continue until the Day you finish your “good work” in us (Phil. 1:6). Keep us wise, careful, and alive to the riches of the gospel.

Through the gospel, you’ve already taken away our stony hearts and have given us a new heart; and you’ve written your law upon our hearts and placed your Spirit there (Ezek. 36:26). You’ve also forgiven all of our sins, and have declared us to be guiltless and righteous in your sight. Thank you, and Hallelujah! So what does heart-idolatry look like is this season of life? What vies for your place in my heart? Heart-warfare is subtler than it used to be.

Father, I don’t find myself sucker-punched by the quest for more and newer material things, more power and authority, or more acclaim and applause by the world. Rather, the battle for my heart centers more on turning good desires into critical needs. Every time I make a desire a need, well… it doesn’t end well. What does this look like?

Father, I want what you’ve promised, but I want it now. I want to …

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Living at the Pace of Grace by the Riches of Grace

Titus 2:11- For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 

Heavenly Father, your grace “appeared” in our lives like the sun burning through the bleakest skyline; like an artesian spring in the middle of the driest desert; like a Coast Guard rescue basket lowered to us in a raging sea; like Jesus speaking words of resurrection to a dead Lazarus, “Come forth!”

Your Spirit “hand-delivered” your saving grace to us, for there’s no other way we could have/would have received it. We praise you for the irresistible, indefatigable, inexhaustible grace you’ve poured out on us generously in Jesus. Grace for all people, for none of us is beyond the reach or the need of your grace. Indeed, we’ll need the gospel today just as much as the first day we believed it.

12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age… 

Now that we’ve been justified by your grace, we’re being taught, trained, and transformed by the same grace. You get all the credit, Father. There’s no other way we could ever become like Jesus. Father, thank you for working in us both to will and do the things that honor you. Thank you for calling us to live at pace of grace—saying “Yes!” to more of Jesus, and “No” to the things that contradict the gospel and godliness.

13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous …

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Friends Who Bring Perspective, Refreshment, and Hope

For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you. Philemon 1:7

Heavenly Father, I can’t imagine navigating storms, bearing burdens, and handling heartaches without good friends. Thank you for the gift of friendship—for the perspective, refreshment, and hope encouragement you give us through our friends.

Sometimes we’re inclined to think, “No one can possibly understand what I’m going through. No one can to relate to my feelings and confusion. Nobody’s as big of a mess as me.” Those are the times when it’s easy to withdraw into isolation, fall into condemnation, and reach for some ill-chosen medication. That’s when the gift of grace-marked friends becomes especially precious.

These two well-timed words, “Me too,” have often been an elixir of grace, a kiss of mercy—better than an angelic visitation. Thank you for friends who know how to “refresh the hearts of the saints“—including this saint. Thank you for friends who remind me of the truth of the gospel, the love of Jesus, and the bigger story you’re always writing.

Thank you for friends who share their lives, and not just their gospel—those who offer tears and not just answers, their brokenness-birthed wisdom, not just mess-fixing formulas. Thank you for friends who can say hard things I need to hear, but in a way I can actually hear those things. Thank you for friends with whom it’s easy to pray and play, eat cheesy nachos and the Lord’s Supper, watch a sunset and seek …

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Give Jesus Access to Your Heart Today

Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

Lord Jesus, you are my generous shepherd—my very Good Shepherd. You give me everything I need, even when that includes things I don’t want. All I’ll need today is you, plus what you choose to give me.

2 He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.

As long as you are there, even the most difficult places are like green meadows. And in the desert seasons and parched places, you quench my thirst and give me a peace impossible to find anywhere else.

3 He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.

By your grace I’m learning to “fake it” less, and boast in my weaknesses more. When I come to the end of my strength, wits, and rope, you graciously meet me there. Thank you for marking my path and determining my steps.

4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.

You never promised us a stress-free life or a pain-less journey Home. But you have promised never to leave or forsake us—even in the darkest valley. That’s all we really need to know—that you’re close by and that you love us, and that you won’t let anything happen to us outside of your perfect plan for our lives.

5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

You’re taking …

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Dealing with Feelings of Broken Trust

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7 (ESV)

Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. Prov. 28:26 (NIV)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3 (NIV)

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. John 14:1 (NLT)

Heavenly Father, every difficult season of life is anticipated in your Word—all the exigencies and emergencies, disheartening crises and devastating crucibles, broken promises and broken trust. Thank you for your warnings and wisdom. Few things hurt as much as broken trust. Help us Lord; help us trust you when trusting is really hard.

We trust a bed will support our weight when we lie down, a bridge won’t collapse when we drive across it, the food we bring home from the market is safe, the diagnosis we get from our doctor is right, and people we love won’t harm us. Father, we’re not naïve. We live in a broken world, as broken people. If we stay in any relationship long enough, there will be disappointment and pain—wherever we live, work, and play.

So we come to you, Father. Where else can we go? Who else can we trust? If we trust in ourselves, we are foolish, for our pain will dictate a course contrary to your heart. If we trust in chariots of revenge, we’ll be destroyed under the weight of our anger and spite.

If we trust no …

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Monday Morning Care Casting: Phil. 4:6-8

6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Heavenly Father, thank you for catching every worrisome care we cast in your direction. Should we “pray more and worry less”? Indeed, that’s not a cliché; it’s our freedom. You know our needs better than we do, but here are a few of which we’re aware.

We need power to love others as Jesus loves us, for our relationships are the most daily need we have for your grace. We need freedom to accept our transitions in life and aches in our bodies. We need peace about the political chaos and culture of vitriol in our nation. We need wisdom for pressing decisions and important choices. We always need protection from the condemning voice of the enemy, who loves to rob us of a robust experience of your love for us in Christ.

Thank you for what you’ve already done? That’s easy to do, Father. You’ve given Jesus to us and for us. Jesus is now our righteousness, holiness, and redemption and a whole lot more. We praise and bless you for the indescribable gift of the gospel.

7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

On this Monday, we gladly receive the provision of your peace that passes all understanding, Father. We know your timing is Swiss and your faithfulness is great, even when your ways …

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Constantly Rejoicing in the Main Thing

     The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”Luke 10:17-20 (ESV)

Lord Jesus, thank you for commending our joy, and for giving us so many reasons to be a people of joy. You created a world for us to enjoy; and though it’s lost the perfections of Eden, creation still reveals your beauty, goodness, and majesty. And you’ve blessed us with so many creature comforts—things we either take for granted or assume we deserve. Thank you for our vocations and vacations, food and clothing, cars and feet, sleep and sweets… and the list goes on and on.

And like the seventy-two disciples in this passage, you give us the joy of being used in your service—no small thing, indeed. Thank you for the privilege of sharing the gospel and serving in your church, working for the common good and laboring in your kingdom. Thank you for the honor of loving our neighbors and working for justice, caring for the poor and bringing freedom to the bound.

BUT, Jesus, we are zealous to obey the main command in this text. Above all reasons for heart-palpitating felicity and soul-invigorating joy, thank you for writing …

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