Category Archives: Prayer

Without Love We’re Zeros: 1 Cor 13:1-7

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Heavenly Father, these words buckle my knees and make the gospel entirely necessary and exquisitely beautiful to me today. No matter how many spiritual gifts we have, or how powerful a faith; even if we were the most generous person in our circle of friends or were martyred for our faith… without love it’s all for naught. We’re zeros, without a heart of love.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 

Father, by the transforming power of the gospel, supersize our patience with difficult people and disruptive circumstances. Replace our edginess and prickliness with your kindness and peace. Grant us contentment in Christ and by Christ, so we’ll envy less, whine less, and grow in genuine humility.

5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

     Grant us hearts of mercy, and quickness in covering other people’s foibles and failures. Continue to free us of self-interest, self-exaltation, and other forms of self-ism. Help us steward our anger carefully; and give …

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The Day of No More Knowing in Part or Loving in Part

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Gal. 5:14 (NIV)

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away1 Cor. 13:9-10 (ESV)

Heavenly Father, there are so many reasons I’m looking forward to life in the new heaven and new earth. For starters, I look forward to the Day when each of your children will enjoy a perfected understanding of your Word, the gospel, what it means to know you. No more theological one-up-man-ship, tribal separations on Sunday mornings, or online critiques of each other’s beliefs. It will be a Day of manifest humility, unbridled joy, and unparalleled love. Bring in on, Lord!

The Day when we’ll no longer know in part or love in part—the Day when we’ll never again label, dismiss, or marginalize one another, over our differing doctrines and Biblical interpretations. That we who have been saved by your grace—from beginning to end, should ever resort to condescending, judgmental, dismissive attitudes with fellow brothers and sisters in Jesus, is tragic and unacceptable. Defending the faith is one thing; dissing other believers is quite another.

Father, forgive me for those times when I choose being right over being kind. Forgive me for loving my theological tribe much more than other parts of the Body of Christ. Forgive me for defending sovereign grace ungraciously. Forgive me for thinking to myself, “I get the gospel so much more than they do.” Forgive me for using Biblical knowledge to put up walls, rather than build bridges. Forgive me and free me to …

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Abiding, Marinating, and Remaining in the Love of Jesus

I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me. Song of Sol. 7:10 (NIV)

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. John 15:9 (ESV)

Lord Jesus, we long to believe this bold declaration of your love for us SO much more than we already do. Make it happen, Lord; for you’ve made us for yourself and have redeemed us for yourself. Our oldest longings and greatest joys find their fulfillment only in you. Our greatest brokenness and deepest wounds find their healing through you. Our lingering fears and abiding foolishness find their release by you.

What a wonderful, merciful Savior you are, Jesus; no one could ever love us the way you do. Forgive us thinking otherwise, and looking to anyone else for what you alone can give.

We belong to you, Jesus—not by the merit of our efforts, nor by the measure of our sincerity, not by the tears of our repentance, nor by the pledge of our faithfulness. We belong to you, because you came to us and gave yourself for us. By your life of perfect obedience, and your death in humble submission, you paid a price beyond measure to give us riches beyond calculation. Nothing can sever or change our belongingness.

You desire us, Jesus—not because we show promise, but because you fulfilled every promise God made on our behalf. You desire us, Jesus—not because we are choice, but because we are chosen. You desire us, Jesus—not because of anything in us, but because of everything in you. Nothing can diminish or intensify our beloved-ness. Jesus, this isn’t just a “game changer, “it’s an everything changer. …

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When Life Feels TOO Out of Control

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Ps. 115:3 (ESV)

Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish. Isa. 46:9-10 (NLT)

“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 (NIV)

Heavenly Father, though things often seem out of control—in our world, families, and hearts, nothing could be farther from the truth. We may not always see your hand, discern your heart, or like your ways, but only you are God and only you are good.

In these three Scriptures, three of your children, in three different sets of difficult circumstances, all affirm the same glorious truth: You can be trusted, period. You were sovereign over King David’s challenged rule, crazy family, and personal failures. You were sovereign over Isaiah’s difficult ministry, fractured world, and Messiah-filled hope. You were sovereign over Job’s loses and betrayals, misery and waiting, health and faith struggles. Indeed, NO purpose of yours can be (or will be) thwarted.

Surely therefore, Father, we can trust you with however you choose to work in our stories, country, and world. You give and you take away, but, always to bring glory to yourself. You work in all things for our good—no exceptions, not one.

When you wound, ultimately it’s to heal. When you enrich, it’s to make us generous. When you delay, it’s not to frustrate us, but to prepare …

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When Feeling Temptation’s Lure

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Cor. 10:13 (NIV)

When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came. Luke 4:13 (NLT)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantlyJohn 10:10 (ESV)

Lord Jesus, I praise you for the daily-ness of your warnings, and the persistence of your wooing. Everyday—sometimes hourly, we have to choose between wisdom and foolishness, light and darkness, life and death. Satan intends to steal, kill, and destroy us; but you give limitless mercy, abounding grace, and abundant life. The very fact that we indulge our fantasies underscores our weakness and vulnerability—and just how much we need the gospel daily.

Jesus, some of us are feeling highly tempt-able right now. Grab us and grace us. Temptation is raging and sin looks very appealing. Whether from weariness in well doing or the exhaustion of difficult relationships; the ache of unfulfilled longings or the naïveté of an unguarded heart; the quest for new adventure or the lure of old memories… we own our weakness and our need of you.

Thank you for your promise, that for every temptation we face in life—every one of them, you will always provide a way out. Show us what that looks like today, even in this very moment. Like Esau, sometimes a bowl of hot …

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The 3rd Debate, the Perfect King, and Great Peace

     For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! Isaiah 9:6-7 NLT

     Lord Jesus, I cannot think of a passage more appropriate for today than this one. It promises the hope for which we long, the peace we intensely crave, and the government we desperately desire. We’re so thankful this isn’t just a passage to be read at Christmas, but a reality to be experienced every day.

Tonight, much of the world will watch the 3rd American presidential debate. The first two have raised our ire, fueled our fears, and exposed our unbelief. For quite sometime, life in our world has felt fragile and threatening; and now in our country, it feels chaotic and divided. We need you, Lord Jesus; we need you and everything you are and everything you’ve promised.

Help us really really believe that the government of the universe presently sits squarely on your shoulders. Though the fullness of your reign awaits your return, it was fully inaugurated through your resurrection. You are already King of kings and Lord of lords. Hallelujah!

As Wonderful Counselor, grant us the wisdom we need moving forward—not just with November 8th …

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Gospel Recalibrated Hearts

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and Christ’s perseverance2 Thess. 3:5 (NIV)

Heavenly Father, this Scripture reminds me of a line from one of my favorite hymns: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Take my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.” If you’re not directing my heart, it too easily drifts in in faithless, graceless, loveless directions.

Some days I wake up with my heart running to self-pity—when my disappointments loom larger than your delights. Some days the GPS of my heart seems programmed for people’s approval—when my insecurities are more real than the gospel. Some days I lace up my running shoes for a quick jog to unforgiveness and resentment—where I rehearse the failures of others, more so than the riches of your grace.

Still other “unguarded heart days” I can take little side trips into envying what other people are and have; or I allow the “what if’s” and “if only’s” to rob me of joy and contentment; and maybe worse, I go swimming in the toxic pool of self-righteousness—forgetting how much I need the gospel, as I judge, criticize, and label others.

So Father, please answer the apostle Paul’s prayer on my behalf. Drive and direct my heart into your lavish, liberating, life-giving love. And take me deeper into Christ’s perseverance—his work for me and in me. I’ll gladly be like one of those automatic driving cars—take the wheel, set the course, and get …

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Monday Mercies

     May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

     Heavenly Father, what an awesome Scripture this is, for claiming, fueling, and filling our hearts, this Monday in October. Help us to know you more fully as the “God of hope”—the Sovereign Lord who has everything and everyone in every place under his control, and our loving Father who is working in all things all the time for our good.

Indeed, fill us with all joy and peace—the joy of knowing you are with us and for us, and that nothing can separate us from your love; the joy of knowing that you love us as much as you love Jesus, for you have clothed us in his righteousness and have hidden our lives safely in his; the joy of experiencing your presence in our storms, your grace in our weakness, and your mercy in our messes.

And Father… fill us with your peace—the peace that things aren’t just going to be okay, but they’re going to be beyond all we can ask or imagine; the peace of knowing your heart and hand are engaged in the lives of our children, and in the crazy presidential election we are enduring; the peace of believing that history is still your story and that you’ll send Jesus back, right on time.

Ah yes, Father, we’d LOVE to “abound in hope”—to be so alive …

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The New Name(s) Jesus Gives Us

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it. Rev. 2:17 (NIV)

Lord Jesus, this Scripture reminds me that nothing is more central to our identity than the name(s) by which we live. Quite often, our most functional and formative name isn’t the one on our birth certificate.

Some of us have been branded with names that have shamed and wounded us deeply. And, regretfully, some of us have deeply hurt others by the labels we’ve placed on them. All of us stand in need of your mercy and grace, which you readily and freely give us in the gospel.

Whether or not there’s literally a new name you’ll give us in heaven, I’m not sure. But it’s enough that you look at us today and address us as “Beloved,” “Mine,” and “Desired”. I’m so grateful for the power of the gospel to rename, renew, and release us from old destructive labels—including the crippling ones we’ve given ourselves.

But as much as I love my new gospel-names, your name is the name I love to hear more than any other, Lord Jesus. It’s by your name we’re fully forgiven and declared righteous, are being healed of every disease, and freed from every bondage. And it’s at your name we will gladly bow, one Day, with everyone in heaven, on earth and under the earth… declaring that you are Lord, to the glory …

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When Feeling a Bit Annoyed and Aggravated

A fool shows his annoyance at once… Proverbs 12:16

A man’s wisdom gives him patience..Proverbs 19:11

(Friends, consider this prayer, “show and tell”—an example of how the gospel helps the morning after an aggravating, irritating day… you know, one of those days which reveals how much we need the grace of God, so freely ours in Jesus.)

     Dear Jesus, though not condemned, I certainly feel deeply convicted, by these Scriptures. Yesterday was one of those days that exposed my idol of control and my default mode of irritation, annoyance, and impatience.

Of all things—driving to be the main speaker at a missions conference, the traffic was bad, I took a wrong turn on a very familiar route, and the traffic got bad again, and it took way too long, and I got knotted on the inside—fuming and forgetting that I’m on a trip to help people understand the glory of your story and the wonders of your love. Jesus, I’m a fresh mess in need of your new mercies.

As I own my bad attitude, I make haste to your throne of grace. I’m so thankful for your forbearing heart, unlimited patience, and renewing grace. This side of glorification, I don’t really expect to be annoyance-free; but certainly the gospel is big enough to help me be more accepting of things I cannot control, humble when things don’t go my way, less shamed when I make a mistake, and quicker with my repentances when I get bent out of shape.

Thank you that today is not a day for doing …

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