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Wary, Weary, and Weak?

     Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isa. 40:28-31 ESV

Heavenly Father, this is one of the first Scriptures I memorized as a young believer, yet reading it today is like reconnecting with an old friend. It reminds us, (hallelujah), that you’re not like us in many ways. For starters, you never get tired or weary. We do, and are. Why?

Some of us are still reeling from the last hurricane, as we brace for another. Some of us are facing complicated medical stories; others, can’t remember the last 8-hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep. Some of us feel like we have more thorns in our flesh than treasure from a field. Others are weary in well doing, spent from loving well, and tired of waiting. Thanks for not despising our weaknesses. Thanks for understanding, Father.

Since youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, why would we think any of us is exempt from “running on empty,” staring into space, and hitting …

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Refreshment, Renewal, and Release

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spiritPs. 51:12

What has happened to all your joy? Gal. 5:6

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Prov. 16:11

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11

Lord Jesus, knowing you is a personal but not a private affair. We may come before you alone, but we can’t remain alone. As soon as we bring our longings and needs before you, you enlarge our hearts and expand our gaze. We remember others. Such is the way of the gospel. Grace comes to us that it might run through us.

Today as we come, we bring faces and names precious to us. Everybody needs what you alone can give, Jesus–new mercies, fresh grace and renewed joy. We all have stories of failure and fear, burdens and weakness, brokenness and stuck-ness, heartache and longings. The details of our stories differ, but our need for the gospel is the same.

So, we ask with confidence, and we appeal with hope, restore to us the joy of our salvation, Jesus. Bring us back to the joyful, childlike love we had for you at first, Jesus (Rev. 2:4)–a love totally generated in response to the undeserved, unparalleled, unwavering love you have for us (1 John 4:19). May your Spirit renew, refresh, and release our hearts.

For your joy is our strength, …

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Asking Abba for More of the Spirit and Expecting to Receive

     “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13)

     Be filled with the Spirit. (Eph. 5:18)

     Heavenly Father, thankfully, I can’t shake this fresh longing for a fresh work of your Spirit in my heart, and the hearts of my friends. You are the fountain of quintessential generosity–the most big-hearted and open-handed Father imaginable. As Jesus says in this passage, when we ask you for fish and eggs, you won’t give us snakes and scorpions, but more of your Spirit, and grace upon grace.

Not doubting your promise one bit, and, without shame or hesitation, I ask for a fresh stirring and filling of your Holy Spirit. By the power that raised Jesus from the dead, free me from my under-believing the gospel and over-compensating in foolish ways. Open the eyes of my heart to see more of Jesus. Dazzle me with his delights; buckle my knees with his beauty; …

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Father, Send Grace in the Shape of Our Need

     Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praiseJer. 17:14 (NIV)

     Restore to me the joy of your salvationPsalm 51:12 (ESV)

     Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine foreverPsalm 73:25-26 (NLT)

Heavenly Father, for your welcoming heart, we adore you; for your daily mercies, we worship you; for your promise of renewal, we trust you.

Your grace finds us where we are; but, thankfully, it doesn’t leave us there. We long for the music of the gospel to fill the corridors of our hearts, once again. Gracious and loving Father, refresh and renew us. Restore to us our first love relationship with Jesus.

Some of us are just worn out, spent, and weary from life’s demands. It’s not that we don’t love you, Lord; it’s just that the joy of our salvation has been replaced with sighs of depletion. Breathe, O breath of God, on our tired hearts.

Some of us are weighted down with stressed relationships or hurting friends; old wounds with renewed power, or new hurts with fresh pain. Father, hold us close, give us the perspective of heaven, and send grace in the shape of our need.

Some of us are close to “going off the radar.” We’ve mishandled our longings and we medicate our pain foolishly, and we don’t know the way back home. Grab …

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When Feeling a Tad “Blah-ish”

     Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isa. 40:28-31 (ESV)

Heavenly Father, there’s nothing major going on–no foreboding issues in front of me, or recent disappointments dogging me. I’m just feeling a bit tired and “blah-ish,” as this day begins. So this Scripture comforts me on many levels.

First of all, I’m glad to be reminded that even youths get faint and weary, and young men get exhausted–and I aged out of those categories a while back. So thanks for the freedom to accept my limitations and humanity–a freedom I need to access more regularly.

But more importantly, Father, I’m thankful for what this passage reminds me about you. You are tireless in your care, everlasting in your mercies, and generous with your grace. You anticipate our weakness and meet us right there. When we get worn-out, you don’t roll your eyes and call us “couch potatoes” or slackers. Rather, you call us your beloved children–daughters and sons in whom you delight, and to whom you give daily mercies and sufficient …

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Taking Our Joy Seriously

What has happened to all your joy? Gal. 4:15 (NIV)

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love, Lord, and grant us your salvationPs. 85:6-7 (NIV)

Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:24 (NIV)

Lord Jesus, we begin our day grateful for your pursuing heart, revealed in the questions, wooing’s, and pleas of these Scriptures. May we take our joy as seriously as you do. We join the chorus of many who cry out, “Revive us again, Lord, restore to us the joy of your salvation.”

In response to Paul’s question to the Galatians, “What has happened to all your joy?” (Gal. 4:15), there’s a wide range of possible answers, Jesus. Some of us may have fallen back into performance-based spirituality–trusting more in our feeble efforts than your finished work. Some of us may have fertilized roots of bitterness in our hearts with Miracle Grow, poisoning our joy with resentment, anger, and unforgiveness.

Some of us may be giving greater audience to our fears and worries than to the gospel and your glory. Some of us are emotionally exhausted from bouts with illness, the price of loving well, or the drains of doing ministry. Some are paralyzed by the condemning accusations of the devil–the consummate faith-thief and joy-robber. Still others of us have been way more preoccupied with the chaos in Washington than the consolation of your enthronement.

For each of these scenarios, the resolve is the same. We need a fresh heart-connection with you, Lord Jesus. In you we …

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With Jesus

     The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with JesusActs 4:13 (NLT)

Dear Lord Jesus, this simple story indicts and invites, convicts and compels my heart this morning. Two unschooled, ordinary fishermen named Peter and John were radically liberated, all because of their fresh, robust relationship with you.

Jesus, this story reminds me that doing the right things for you is not the same thing as spending life-giving time with you. Thinking great thoughts about you is not the same thing as current communion with you. Helping others understand the gospel is not the same thing as drinking deeply from the wellspring of living water for myself.

Jesus, fuel, renew, and delight my heart-relationship with you. May your beauty be tantalizing, your love be astonishing, and your peace center and settle the core of my soul. When I am with you, nothing else really matters–every problem assumes its right size, fears flee, worries shrink, hurts heal, anger melts, and hope grows.

Because who or what do I have in heaven but you, Jesus? You make heaven heavenly and glory glorious. Being with you, my lusts are tamed and my idols fall. Absolutely nothing else thrills and satisfies my soul like you do. My flesh and my heart will grow weaker, but you are the strength of my heart–my portion, banquet, and inheritance forever. It is good, …

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Craving a Fresh Work of God in Our Hearts

Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praiseJer. 17:14 (NIV)

Restore to me the joy of your salvationPsalm 51:12 (ESV)

Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine foreverPsalm 73:25-26 (NLT)

Dear heavenly Father, for your welcoming heart, we adore you; for your daily mercies, we worship you; for your promise of renewal, we trust you.

Your grace finds us where we are; but, thankfully, it doesn’t leave us there. We long for the music of the gospel to fill the corridors of our hearts, once again. Gracious and loving Father, bring us home. Restore to us our first love relationship with Jesus.

Some of us are just worn out, spent, and weary from life’s incessant demands. It’s not that we don’t love you, Lord; it’s just that the joy of our salvation has been replaced with sighs of depletion. Breathe, O breath of God, and bring refreshment and renewal to our tired hearts.

Some of us are weighted down with stressed relationships or hurting friends, old wounds with renewed power or new hurts with fresh pain. Father, hold us close; give us the perspective of heaven; and send grace in the shape of our need. If we’re going to run, may it be in your direction.

Some of us have “gone off the reservation,” or at least have packed our bags. We’ve mishandled our …

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A Prayer for Days When We Need a Little Encouragement

     May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word2 Thess. 2:16-17 (ESV)

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

     May the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thess. 3:16 (NLT)

Dear heavenly Father, with palms turned upward, we receive the encouragement of these verses as our day begins, and will continue. Thank you for anticipating every challenging situation before us today; and for knowing every fear and uncertainty of our hearts; and for staying faithfully committed to cherish, nourish, and flourish us. What a loving God you are.

And as you comfort and encourage us, so we get to share this gospel goodness with others. Indeed, Father, may the mercy and grace you lavish on us in Jesus, run like a stream of kindness, through us to others. Grant us life-giving words of hope for friends in various stages of overwhelm-ment, weariness, and stress. Love through us to your glory.

Thank you for directing our hearts into more of your love and “the perseverance of Jesus.” (2 Thess. 3:5) We are so thankful that it is Christ’s perseverance, not our bare-knuckle-resolve or ability to hold on, which is the measure of our hope and the power for our callings. You saved us and you will keep us. You began the good …

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A Prayer for Our Corporate Worship to Be Filled with the Presence of God

     The secrets of their hearts are laid bare, (and) they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!” 1 Cor. 14:25

     Dear heavenly Father, what an amazing scene Paul describes in this Scripture. What more could we possibly long for in our services of worship than for your presence to be so obvious that even non-believers would be compelled to acknowledge you are powerfully at work in our midst, and in our hearts?

     There’s only one reason we’re not afraid for the secrets in our hearts to be “laid bare” today, and it’s because you open wide and laid bare your heart towards us in Jesus. You dealt with Jesus according to our sins and have rewarded us according to his righteousness. Hallelujah, many times over! Only the gospel frees us to fall down and worship you in humility, not humiliation; in gratitude, not groveling; in repentant faith, not uncertain penance; in the assurance of Christ’s righteousness, not the condemnation of our unrighteousness.

     Father, grant our church families this same freedom–especially as we gather each Lord’s Day to worship you. In a day when we seem to need more gadgets and gimmicks to create “worship experiences,” free us from needing anything more than the gospel to worship you the way you deserve and delight to be worshiped.

     Reel us back in anytime we move away from the “sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). Teach us how to be stewards of technology, …

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