Search

Category Archives: Prayer

When Feeling a Bit, or a Bunch, Weary

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matt. 11:28-29 (ESV)

He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Isa. 43:2 (NLT)

Lord Jesus, we praise you for perpetually presiding at the throne of grace, and for doing so with so much joy, gentleness, and burden-bearing love. When we feel our weakest—when we feel like “weak reeds” or “flickering candles,” you don’t judge us, you welcome us; you don’t roll your eyes with disgust, you open your arms with delight. You promise us a rest you alone can give, and we are ready to receive.

We bring you our political angst, social concerns, and global fears. It’s a precarious time in world history—in far away places and in our own communities. Jesus—Prince of Peace, there seems to be so little peace. We’ve never longed more intensely for the fullness of your kingdom. How long, O Lord?

We bring you the weariness that comes from seeking to love well. We bring you our fatigue born from our stories of grief and loss, care-giving and criticism-taking. Lord, help us accept our emotional depletion and mental tiredness. No aspect of our lives is more delightful, and yet more depleting, than our relationships. As parents and spouses, children and friends, grant us grace, wisdom, and strength, Lord Jesus. Give us …

| Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resting in Jesus’ Commitment to Save Us Completely

     Because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Heb. 7:24-26 (NIV)

      Lord Jesus, this Scripture is like a 72-degree, no-humidity, cloudless, deep blue-sky day. It is perfect!  What joy, peace, and gratitude we have knowing of your commitment to save us completely.

     Because of your finished work, our Judgment Day has come and gone; and our standing in grace is present and firm. We’re forgiven all sins, robed in your righteousness, and sealed with your Spirit. Your banner over us is love, your delight in us in constant, and your protection of us is tenacious. We’re God’s inheritance—his beloved treasure and children; and co-heirs with you of the new heaven and new earth. Who can measure such spectacular riches of grace?

     Because of your 24/7 intercession, we have perpetual advocacy, inviolate mediation, and incomparable peace. All your prayers for us are perfect, and none will go unanswered. Though Satan’s attacks are constant, your affection is more so. Your active, passionate, effectual care of us is one of the greatest encouragements in our lives.

     Because of your imminent returnwe live with hope and certainty. Abba, Father will complete the work of salvation in us; for from beginning to end, salvation is of the Lord. One Day we will be as lovely and as loving as you (1 John …

| Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Praising God for Our Friends

When we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus. 2 Cor. 7:5-6 (NIV)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Prov. 17:17 (NIV)

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today”. Heb. 3:13 (NIV)

Heavenly Father, these Scriptures make me extremely thankful for the friends you’ve woven into my life—the brothers and sisters who pursue me, though my default mode is withdrawal; who reach out to bear my burdens, even when I pretend to be okay and hate to be a bother; who comfort me when I’m downcast, though I struggle to being emotionally honest and genuinely weak in the presence of others.
Father, thank you for friends who know how to encourage me with their presence and words—those who remind me of the gospel and help me get a better perspective on disappointments and hurts. Thank you for friends who “call me out” from self-pity and cynicism, unto faith and hope; but also who “call me up,” just to check in on me, or to have some fun.
Make me the same kind of friend, Father, especially in this next season of life. Whether you give me five, ten or fifteen more years of life, I want to finish my days in this world as an encourager and comforter, and as a conduit of your mercy and grace. I …

| Tagged , | Leave a comment

Grace to Accept Our Limits

     We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He 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, as you help us by your prayers. 2 Cor. 1:8-11 (NIV)

     Heavenly Father, there are some lessons in this life of grace I seem to have a hard time remembering, or at least accepting. Knowing my limits is certainly one of them. The idol of self-sufficiency is formidable. Forgive me for not wanting to need the gospel, your Spirit, and others as much as you say I do.

     Thank you for the gift of Paul’s story. Thank you for an apostle of grace who boasted in his weaknesses that Jesus might be the hero. Thank you for the model of a lover of God who was utterly dependent on the God he loved. I want to be much more like Paul, Father.

     So, as this day begins, I forsake the illusion of my self-sufficiency, “enough-ness,” and limitlessness. I cast myself on you, “the God who raises the dead.” I’m not facing deadly perils (like Paul); but I am facing broken people I cannot fix, injustices in the world I cannot …

| Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Resting in God’s Timing and Faithfulness

     But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you. 2 Pet. 3:8-9 (NIV)

Heavenly Father, thank you for being so patient with our impatience. You’ve never been late for anything. “Swiss timing” is tardiness, compared to the precision of your promptness. You never oversleep, have a “senior moment,” or get distracted. Your glorious story of redemption and restoration is right on schedule. You will send Jesus back for us at just the right time. That grand Day will happen, not a day early and not a day late.

And how we long for Jesus’ return. No more death, pain, or mourning; no more knowing in part or loving in part; no more goodbyes or good riddance’s; no more disappointing others or being disappointed; no more silent betrayals or loud rejections; nor more broken hearts or broken anything; no more heartaches or even heartburn; no more terror in our streets or tensions in our marriages; no more stress fractures or stressful days; no more late flights or church fights. Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Though we don’t always understand or agree with your ways, there’s no panic or second-guessing in heaven today. You are über faithful. Help us be full of faith. Though it’s hard to imagine why you haven’t answered certain prayers we’ve offered, with a quick and big “Yes!” nevertheless, you do all things well. You …

| Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Plans Trumping Our Preferences

     I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11 (ESV)

      Heavenly Father, this well-known, oft-quoted verse both confronts us and comforts us. It confronts that part of us that wishes you would simply “sign-off” on the plans we make for ourselves.

     Our instinct is to make plans that include few surprises and negligible suffering; tons of familiarity and droves of comfort… and, therefore, very little need for faith and waiting. In essence, we’d love for you to be more of a Sugar Daddy than Abba Father. You are so kind and patient with us, your self-centered children.

     But in our heart of hearts, getting our way isn’t what we really prefer. In our most sand moments, we don’t really want you to be the clay and us the potter. We trust you and we love you, Father. You gave Jesus to us and for us. Of course we can trust you to give us everything else we actually need (Rom. 8:32).

     There are stretches when it seems like you answer our prayers with a disproportionate amount of “No’s” to “Yes’s”. Healing doesn’t come quick enough, and broken cars, appliances, and bills come too quickly. Instead of grace upon grace, sometimes life feels like disappointment upon disappointment. 

     Sometimes your plans include things that, in the moment, don’t really feel like they’re for our welfare at all. You call our favorite pastors, leaders, and bosses to new places; you send our kids …

| Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intense Longings for the Day of No More Evil

     Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherlessPsalm 10:12-14

Holy Father, there are times when it’s important to feel and say, “No more; not here”—to get red in the face and fire in the pants; to get fueled with holy disgust and kingdom longings. Looking into the eyes of helpless victims, and hearing the sneer of agents of evil, is just such a time. Today we take up the psalmist’s impassioned cry, “Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless” (Ps. 10:12).

It’s inconceivable, unconscionable, and unacceptable: Over 40 million people wake up today in slavery to fellow image bearers of God; and nearly 100 billions dollars a year is made in the porn “industry”—just to mention two of many manifestations of the kingdom of darkness.

Righteous Father, “break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out” (Ps. 10:15). We don’t pray with self-righteous arrogance, but with heart-breaking passion—longing for justice to flow like a river through the streets of every metropolis and hamlet in the world; and for your righteousness to be the never-failing stream, cutting its way throughout …

| Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord Claims Ownership of Our Battles

The Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s(1 Sam. 17:47)

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.” (2 Chron. 20:15)

“This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’” (Zech. 4:6-7)

Heavenly Father, I love it when you claim ownership of things I don’t really want anyway, like my battles, conflicts and life skirmishes. Though spiritual warfare will continue until Jesus returns, and though you give us all the resources we need to fight well (Eph. 6:10-18), it’s you we must trust, not our ability to fight

Indeed, we’re not to be disengaged pacifists, but fully engaged worshipers—beholding the salvation of the Lord. We’re never more than David facing Goliath with a few pebbles, or Zerubbabel facing a “mountain” of opposition without an engineering team. But with you, we will not be afraid. It’s your Spirit, never our stealth.

Whether it’s a mere skirmish or an all-out assault, the battle belongs to you, Father. Faith and peace are the order of the day. When we fear global upheaval or local terror, a present crisis or an unknown future, let us hear the laughter of heaven (Ps. 2:4). Show us the occupied throne of heaven, and it will shut up our …

| Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Goodness of the Gospel Filling Our Hearts Afresh

 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Eph. 1:15-18 (NLT)

Heavenly Father, I begin this day in Portland, Oregon, with a rousing “Amen!” to Paul’s prayer for his friends in Ephesus. Me too, Lord, me too—open the eyes of my heart that I might see more of your beauty, wonder, and grace. For the better we know you, the less we stay preoccupied with ourselves. The fresher our relationship is with you, the deeper our peace is, the quicker our repentances become, and the more joyfully we love and serve others.

So, Father, dazzle our hearts with insight into hope you’ve secured for us as your children. It’s a living hope, a hope of glory—an anchor of calm in a sea of chaos. Through Jesus, you delight to give us peace, encouragement, and assurance, on a daily basis… including this day. Hallelujah.

Never let us forget your commitment to complete the good work you’ve begun in us, and in the entire cosmos. Even as you’ve declared us righteous in Christ, you will make us fully like Christ, one Day. I wish I …

| Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Gospel Perspective on Hardship and Suffering

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over youIsa. 43:1-2 (NIV)

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Pet. 5:10 (ESV)

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Rom. 8:18 (NIV)

      Heavenly Father, thank you—many times over, for the way you come to us in your Word. You don’t merely give us “verses to claim,” you reveal yourself as a Father to know—a Father who loves and cares for us so much more than we realize.

Today, in particular, thank you for validating our sufferings, and for pledging yourself to us in our hard places and broken stories. There’s no name that you call us, more precious to us than, “Mine.” We are honored to be yours, and relish everything belonging to you implies.

Father, you say to us, not “if”, but “when” we pass through deep waters and rushing rivers, you will be with us. Thank you for being upfront about life between the resurrection and return of Jesus. We will experience difficult seasons and all types of suffering in this life; and so will people we love.

But grant us the perspective Peter had. No matter how many years you give us in this world, sufferings in this life are for “a little …

| Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment