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A Prayer for Seeing All Things from God’s Perspective

Sep 02, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Eph. 1:18-19 NIV

     Dear heavenly Father, for years I’ve accepted the limitations of my natural vision and have worn glasses to correct my extreme astigmatism. So this text makes a ton of sense to me. Apart from the work of your Spirit and the corrective lens of the gospel, it will be impossible for me to see what you intend for me to see with awe-producing clarity. 

     So, indeed, Lord, open the eyes of my heart. Heal my shortsightedness, my farsightedness, and the astigmatism of my soul. I want to see all things from your perspective, including the hope to which you have called us. To see with eyes of hope means that I will be able to discern your heart and hand at work everywhere.

     Things are not as they appear to the natural eye. You are working in all things all the time, for your glory and our good. Father, I want to see that with 4D, High Definition, 20/10 precision, in full bore undiminished Technicolor.

     I also want to see and savor the riches of grace, freely ours in Jesus. In a world of fool’s gold, bling-bling, and wanna-be-riches, help me see through temporal “goodies” to lasting treasure. Why chase the ever-shifting winds of the world, when we can live by the life-giving breath of God? Free me from putting my hope in money, 401Ks, earthly inheritance, what I drive, where I live, and what I wear.

     Lastly Father, help me to see more of the power of the Holy Spirit at work in my heart and your world. I so want to be more like Jesus. Apart from the work of your Spirit, it “ain’t gonna happen.” I so want greater freedom, as your beloved child and servant in my culture. I so want to love you more fully and passionately and consistently. Again, apart from your Spirit, those things are impossible. I surrender today, gratefully and expectantly. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ tender and triumphant name.

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A Prayer for Everyday and Every Relationship

Sep 01, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:32 ESV

     Dear heavenly Father, this is another one of those “post-on-the-front-of-the-refrigerator” verses. No matter the circumstances, story, or details, you call us to respond grace-fully in our relationships—when it’s easy and when it’s not. Not as doormats to be walked on, or as those in denial about reality, but as children in whom you delight, and upon whom you have set your unwavering favor and endless affection.

     Father, forgive me for the moments—even hours, when my default mode is to repay indifference for indifference, stubbornness for stubbornness, coolness for coolness, wise crack for wise crack, and/or pettiness for pettiness. I want to love as you love me in Jesus, period.

     I SO look forward to the Day when I will be made perfect in love (1 John 3:1-1); but until that Day, grant me quicker repentances when I get annoyed and prickly; a softer, kinder heart when I feel prevailed upon or used; gospel responses, instead of defensive reactions, when I experience the outworking of someone else’s difficult and frustrating day.

     Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, keep me SO aware of my union with Christ—and all the riches of grace that come with it, that it will become increasingly difficult for me to love poorly, no matter the provocation, prodding, or personality. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ kind and loving name.

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A Prayer for Mondays to Be As Celebrated As Fridays

Aug 31, 2015 | Scotty Smith

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

     Dear heavenly Father, I’m not sure when or where Mondays got such a bad wrap, but they are as surely “the day you have made” as Fridays are. We come before you on this Monday not lamenting the beginning of a workweek but rejoicing in the privilege of a worship week.

     We began our week yesterday with the Sabbath rest of the gospel, and we want to continue our week at the same grace-full pace. Father, may we see our work less as a job and more as a vocation—less as a way of just paying the bills or preparing for retirement, and more as a means of expanding your kingdom and revealing your beauty. Whatever you have given us to do, may we do it as unto you—both the momentous and the mundane things.

     By the power of the gospel, help us not view our bosses and co-workers only in terms of our advantage or disadvantage; rather, let us see all women and men as fellow image bearers of God—desperate for the same grace you have lavished on us in Jesus.

     Father, grant us quick repentances when we get frustrated; mercy and grace for people who annoy and disappoint us; and great joy in knowing that it’s not mere men, but the Lord Jesus we are serving. Help us to be the chief encouragers, the best listeners, and the most trust-worthy workers—wherever you have placed us. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ wonderful and merciful name. 

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A Prayer for Preparing Ourselves for Corporate Worship

Aug 30, 2015 | Scotty Smith

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1

     Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of corporate worship—for the joy of gathering with sisters and brothers to boast in Christ, worship by the Spirit, and receive your Word. Forgive us for presuming on this honor and for coming less than prepared, to give you the worship of which you alone are worthy, as our Triune God.

     Thank for you those who will lead us in your worship today. We pray for the singers, musicians, and liturgists. Father, may they serve us as lead worshipers more so than worship leaders. Fill their hearts with a fresh sighting of the beauty of Jesus and give them a keen awareness of the riches of the gospel. Thank you for their preparation; now bless them in their service to us.

     Thank your for your servants who will read and preach your Word to us today. Give him focus and freedom, passion and pacing, and faithfulness to the text and joy in Christ. By your Spirit, Father, open us to your Word today and your Word to us. May the gospel come with convicting and humbling power, and with gladdening and transforming grace.

     Thank you for the guests and visitors who will gather with us today. May they experience your welcoming heart, the magnificence of your glory, and the riches of your grace. And as we leave the service today—with your benediction and blessing, free us to serve you this week with gladness, in everything we think, say, and do. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name. 

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A Prayer for Loving Much Because We’ve Been Forgiven All

Aug 29, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     ”I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Luke 7:47 NLT

Dear Lord Jesus, it’s as simple and profound, daily and real as this: Because you have forgiven ALL of my sins, I should love you with ever-growing awe, perpetual thanks, and indefatigable delight. And a second response to my forgiveness is just as fitting: I should also become the most humble and gentle, compassionate and loving person in my family, workplace, and neighborhood. Lord may it be; may in increasingly be, as long as you give me breath.

Jesus, by the power of your Spirit, keep me constantly aware of how much you’ve forgiven me. Don’t let me minimize the wonder of my forgiveness by thinking my sins are less numerous or egregious than anybody else’s. Don’t let me ever get used to being forgiven by you.

And convict me very quickly when I indulge an irritable spirit or a judgmental attitude towards others. Help me respond mercifully and grace-fully to a wide range of scenarios and personalities: Unintentional oversights and very intentional slights; harsh words spoken and healing words left unspoken; being ignored by people I love, or being target practice for people I’ll never meet; in the brokenness of the world or by the brokenness in people.

Jesus, in my anger, keep me from sinning; in my pain, keep me from blaming; and in my disappointment, keep me from sulking. Only your love is better than life; only your love will never let go of us; only your love was, is and ever will be enough. So very Amen I pray, in your forgiving and tender name.

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A Prayer for Those of Us Who Struggle with Impatience

Aug 28, 2015 | Scotty Smith

Love is patient 1 Cor. 13:4 (ESV)

Dear heavenly Father, I’m not sure who first warned about asking you for patience, out of fear you will create difficult circumstances that require patience. That’s nonsense; but worse of all, it’s an utter misrepresentation of your Fatherly heart and grace-full ways. I ask for patience because I already have plenty of contexts, situations, and relationships that showcase my patent need of this fruit of your Spirit.

First of all Father, forgive me for my impatience and for loving poorly. Love is patient, and a lack of patience is a lack of love. Secondly, thank you for your consummate patience with me. You’re never hurried, annoyed, or irritated with me. Thank you!

Where is my impatience most likely to rear its ugly head? When people don’t talk fast enough, I walk to help them finish their sentences. When traffic doesn’t move along quick enough, I make my poorest choices as a driver. When my emails, calls, and texts aren’t returned as soon as I’d like, I get annoyed (as though no one has anything else to do in their day but respond to my communications).

I get impatient when worship leaders talk too much between songs, and preachers talk too little from the text of your Word (as though you made me the judge and jury of anybody’s service of worship). I get impatient with indecisiveness that inconveniences me (as though I deserve a hitch-less, delay-less, non-waiting existence). I get impatient when checking out of any store, assuming the other lanes are moving faster than the one I’m in. I get anxious when flying through Chicago, because I assume I’ll have a delayed flight.

Father, if confession is good for the soul, then I should be feeling pretty good right now. But as I look at my words, I don’t feel good about me at all; but I do feel awesome about the gospel, and so grateful for it. Since I do want to be more Christlike in all things and at all times, I ask you for a clear and powerful work of your Spirit in my heart. Make me a more patient man, for your glory and the blessing of a lot of people. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus, merciful and mighty name.

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A Prayer for Trusting God When Bad News Comes

Aug 27, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure; they will have no fear. Psalm 112:6-8 (NIV)

Dear heavenly Father, I am SO drawn to the heart reflected in this Scripture—a steadfast heart beating in a circumstance-tested body; a fearless calm when surrounded by difficult people and threatening events; a Good News heart in a bad news world.

By the truth and power of the gospel, make that my heart, Father. Free me to trust more and fret less. You’ve made me righteous in Christ; now make me less shakable when shaky things are going on. I’m not wanting to become more oblivious or impervious; but less knee-jerk reactionary, and more accepting that you’ve “got this one,” and all things, well in hand.

Help me to accept bad news (or shocking or disappointing news, or anger-fueling or joy-depleting news), not with a shrug of my shoulders, but with a bend in my knees—not with passive resignation, but with active surrender to the God who does all things well. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ wonderful and merciful name.

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A Prayer for Grace to Love Well in Stories of Memory Loss

Aug 26, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     He said to me, ”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor. 12:9 (NIV)

     And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me! Matt. 25:4 (NLT)

     Dear heavenly Father, increasingly, I’ve been running into friends early in the journey of learning how to care for a loved one with a memory loss disorder. Having walked that path with my dad, my heart is softened and tuned to pray today for others, someplace in that story.

     “Can a woman forget her nursing child?” (Isa. 49:15); maybe not at birth, but later in life, she can, even as my dad forgot my face and name. What can possibly prepare us for the season when our spouses or parents, grandparents or close friends begin to forget little things, then big things, and finally us? Father, only your grace is sufficient for these chapters in our lives, and your grace comes the quickest and easiest to us when we accept our weakness. Your strength is perfected in our weakness, Father, so, first of all, help us to be weak, out of control, and childlike in dependency on you. It’s hard to “go there,” but necessary

     Rescue us from our denial about what’s really going on in the life of a loved one. Spin helps no one, minimizing minimizes nothing. Help us to accept the unacceptable—life as we know is about to change. It’s not the end of your Story, but it is our story right now.

     Also Father, grant the clearest diagnosis, the best care plan, and the resources to provide that care—emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially. None of us is sufficient. We need you; we need one another.

     Father, help us to love well, when the pain of change is overwhelming. Help us steward the fear, anger, frustration, and loss. Help us to know that when our loved ones forget us, and seemingly forget you, you will never forget them, or us. Great is your faithfulness; steadfast is your love; and perfect is the end of your Story. We praise, bless, and adore you… in Jesus’ tender and triumphant name. 

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A Prayer for Lamenting the Death of Unborn Children

Aug 25, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Rev. 21:1-3 (ESV)

     Dear Lord Jesus, these words of hope bring the power of encouragement into a world of death. We long for the Day when “death shall be no more“—death in all of its expressions, including the death of unborn children.

     Because your promises are “trustworthy and true,” we won’t give up or give in. “Legal abortion”—those two words simply don’t belong together. Because you are making “all things new,” we renew our commitment to contend for children still being knit together in their mother’s wombs. Give us mercy and fire, strength and wisdom.

      And grant us enormous compassion, Jesus, and perseverance. Show us how to care for women and men whose stories have been marked by abortion—either as victims or agents. May our love be more notorious than our rhetoric, and a non-anxious presence mark our undaunted protest.

     Jesus, we don’t just long for the Day of no more abortions. We also long for the Day of no more miscarriages and stillbirths. Our hearts break for families who must endure the pain of giving up their children before birth.

     How long, O Lord, before the last abortion and the last miscarriage? Until that Day, help us to open our hearts and homes for adopting the millions of orphaned children who have safely made it into this world. May our zeal against abortion be matched by our zeal for adoption. Surely the gospel is big enough for this calling too. So very Amen we pray, in your triumphant and tender name.

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A Prayer for Keeping a Gospel Perspective on Money and Wealth

Aug 24, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. Prov. 23:5 (NIV)

     Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Heb. 13:5 (ESV)

     “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” Luke 12:21 (NLT)

     Dear heavenly Father, all you have to do is give Wall Street a little “tap” and we’re reminded of how foolish it is to trust in anything or anyone but you. Eagle-like economies become startled starlings, and take flight. Indeed, as you tell us, Father, riches deserve but a glance, but Jesus must have our gaze.

     No matter the financial season—a winter of discontent, a spring of lush “green,” a summer of scattered showers, or a fall of falling markets, teach us the way of contentment, Lord. Intensify our love for Jesus so our love for money will shrink to a proper, healthy, gospel-size.

     And whether we have a superabundance of wealth, or, quite literally, are praying for daily bread, free us to be generous with what you give us. Every good gift we have comes from above, period. You promise never to leave us or forsake us; and you promise to “enrich us in every way so that we can always be generous” (2 Cor. 9:11). We praise, bless, and adore you for your faithfulness and generosity.

     Like the currency exchange in large airports, Father, establish new values in the currency exchange of our hearts. May we value a rich relationship with you more than all the other stuff we tend to put our trust and hope in; or look to for peace and joy. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ exalted and trustworthy name. 

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