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A Prayer for Gazing Upon the Beauty of the LORD

Jan 29, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4 (NIV)

Dear heavenly Father, it’s only through the gospel of your grace that I’ve come to know you to be a beautiful God. Before then, your loveliness was veiled to me, mostly by the darkness of my unbelief. But now, your splendor outshines the sun; your excellences stager my imagination; and your kindness melts my heart.

I see your beauty in the things you have made. Open my eyes wider, Father. Grant me jaw-dropping wonder as I come even more alive to your fingerprints everywhere—your great artistry and the joy you experienced creating a world that loudly declares your glory.

I see your beauty in people—all kinds of people, in every person, if I take time to look. Oh, Father, continue to heal my vision of people. Though we are all broken, yet as your image bearers, each of us reveals glimmers and glimpses of your loveliness. Forgive me when I see anybody’s brokenness to the exception of their beauty—your beauty in them.

I see your beauty in Jesus. Indeed, Father, I have come to behold your beauty most expressly and fully in Jesus. No one has ever seen you completely—in the fullness of your glory and being; but Jesus, your Son, at your side, has made you know to us (John 1:18). Hallelujah, many times over, for this gift—this incomparable honor and privilege. In Jesus, I see the magnificence of your mercies, the grandeur of your grace, and the wonders of your love. Show me more, Father; show me more.

I long for the Day when we will see the unfettered undiminished beauty of your face (Rev. 22:4); for that will be our first Day in the new heaven and new earth. Hasten that Day, LORD. Until then, I bless you for your commitment to make all things beautiful in their time, including us, your children. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ tender and triumphant name.

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A Prayer for Resting in Jesus’ Commitment to Save Us Completely

Jan 28, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     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)

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

     Because of your finished work, all of our sins have already been forgiven; and we’ve been declared righteous in God’s sight. Your banner over us is love, and your desire for us is constant. We’ve become God’s inheritance—his beloved treasure and children, and we’ve been made co-heirs with you of the new heaven and new earth. Who can measure such a spectacular standing in grace?

     Because of your constant intercession, we have perpetual advocacy before the Father. All of your prayers for us are perfect, and all of them will be answered. Though Satan’s attacks are constant, your love and care for us are even more unremitting, and they trump everything he throws at us. Your active, passionate, effectual intercession is one of the greatest encouragements in our lives.

     Because of your imminent return for us, we 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 as you, and as loving (1 John 3:1-3)—as hard as that is to imagine. Nothing can separate us from your love; nothing can sabotage this grand work of grace; nothing can derail or deter our Father’s joyful resolve to make all things new through you. May this über-good news free us to live and love to your glory, until the Day. So very Amen we pray, in your righteous and reigning name.

     

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A Prayer for Bringing Hurting Friends to the Throne of Grace

Jan 27, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need Heb. 4:15-16 (NIV)

     Dear Lord Jesus, with joy and confidence we run to the occupied throne of grace today on behalf of many friends. No one understands and empathizes with our weaknesses like you; and no one has the ability to dispense copious amounts of mercy and grace, like you. You are, indeed, a most wonderful, merciful Savior. Hear our cry for our friends.

     We pray for parents nearing the end of their strength, resources, and hope. Few stories have the power to exhaust our emotions and multiply our heartaches than when our kids choose to live without boundaries or a conscience. Jesus, grant great mercy and sufficient grace to moms and dads who are living the nightmare of watching their children self-destruct. And Lord of resurrection power, reveal yourself, to our kids who seem allergic to your grace and love.

     We pray for friends who feel helplessly, and frustratingly, distant from you, Jesus—those who still affirm the gospel with their lips, but whose hearts are disconnected from the wonders of your love. Whatever the genesis of the weariness and weakness, come close Jesus. Renew, restore, and refresh our friends, we pray; and show us how to stay present in their lives as a source of patient encouragement and kindness.

     Lastly, Jesus, we pray for ourselves. You know where we struggle the most and trust you the least; you know our most difficult relationships, persistent fears, and nagging weaknesses. Grant us the mercy and grace we need today, for healing and freedom. So very Amen we pray, in your loving and strong name.  

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A Prayer for Resting in the Sovereignty of God

Jan 26, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     “After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting, and his kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ’What do you mean by doing these things?’ Daniel 4:34-35 (NLT)

     Dear heavenly Father, like Nebuchadnezzar, I am never more sane than when I am worshiping you and acknowledging your sovereignty. I am so very thankful that you are God, and I am not. Forgive me when I think less of you, and otherwise of me.

     I am grateful that you do as you please, and not as we often beg you to do. Indeed, Father, I’ve lived long enough to praise you for some of the “No’s” I’ve received to prayers for which I desperately wanted a “Yes”. You do all things well, not easy; but in time, you will make all things beautiful. Give me grace to wait for that Day, Father.

     Help me to trust your heart when I cannot see your hand at work. Forgive me for thinking I need to draw certain international crises and personal situations to your attention, as though you’re not aware, or worse, as though you don’t care. Thank you, Father, for your kindness and patience, when I’m anxious and demanding.

     So as this day begins, and continues, I’m grateful to affirm that Jesus has the hearts of all kings in his hand; that you not only care for birds and fields, but for me and the people I love; and that nothing can happen, or will happen, apart from your sovereign will. Forgive me when I doubt your faithfulness, and grant me grace when I struggle with your ways. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ trustworthy and worship-worthy name. 

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A Prayer for Connecting with the Hope of the Gospel

Jan 25, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     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)

     Dear heavenly Father, I begin this day with a rousing “Amen!” to this prayer Paul prayed for his dear friends in Ephesus. Me, too, Lord, me too—open the eyes of my heart that I might see more of your beauty, glory, and grace. For the better I know you, the less I stay preoccupied with me. Indeed, the more robust my relationship is with you, the deeper my joy is, the quicker my repentances become, and the more ready I am to love and serve others.

     Yes, Father, flood my heart with insight into hope that you have secured for us as your children—a living hope, a hope of glory, an anchor of certainty in a world of ebbing and flowing chaos. For as surely as you have called us to yourself, you have called us to hope. You have subpoenaed our souls to peace, encouragement, and assurance. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

     You will bring to completion the good work you have begun in us. Even as you have declared us to be righteous in Christ, you will make us fully like Christ, one Day. I wish I had a magic gospel-wand to wave for accelerating that process; for I’d love to be a lot more like Jesus than I already am. I so wish there was a shortcut to sanctification; but there isn’t.

     But this I know, and this give me roots and wings; you have chosen us to be your inheritance—we are beloved, treasured, and secure. As you contemplate our future together, you are at peace and full of joy. And that is enough for me, Father, that is enough. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.

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A Prayer for Perspective When We Are Suffering

Jan 24, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     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 you. Isa. 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)

     Dear heavenly Father, thank you, so 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 is no name that you call us that is any 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. There will be, and there are difficult seasons and all types of suffering in this life.

     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 while”. In the big scheme of things, it’s only going to hurt for “a little while“. Thank for you’re your promise to restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us—in, through, and after our suffering.

     And grant us Paul’s perspective, as well—his sense of redemptive math. The things you have prepared for us in the future, far, far, far out value the present sufferings we are called to endure now. Father, grant us the grace we need to suffer to your glory, strength to trust you in the hardships and with our heartaches, and wisdom and kindness to care for our fellow sufferers. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ tender and triumphant name. 

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A Prayer of Fresh Encouragement and Grace

Jan 23, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     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 word. 2 Thess. 2:16-17 (ESV) May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. 2 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 these words of encouragement and grace as this day begins. Thank you for anticipating every challenging situation before us today; and for knowing every fear and uncertainty of our hearts; and for staying so faithfully committed to bless, care, and nourish us.

     But we don’t only need comfort for ourselves, but for those with whom we walk. May the mercy you lavish on us in Jesus, run like a stream of kindness through us to others. Father, grant us words of healing and hope for friends in various stages of overwhelm-ment and stress. Love through us to your glory.

     Indeed, direct our hearts into more of your love and the perseverance of Jesus; for it is out of the overflow of your love for us that we have the resources to care for the people you’ve placed in our lives. As much as we already know of your love, show us even more, Father. Dazzle and delight us. Renew our ebbing affections by your steadfast and endless love for us in Jesus. We are so thankful that it is Christ’s perseverance, not our bare-knuckle-resolve, which is the measure of our hope and the power for our callings.

     Lastly, Father, we trust you for your peace, at all times and in every situation. Guard our hearts with your peace; balance our stumbles with your peace; calm our storms with your peace. That you are with us and that you are for us, is all we really need to know. So very Amen we pray, in the ever-kind, ever-near name of Jesus.

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A Prayer for Abiding in Jesus’ Love

Jan 22, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:9-11(ESV)

     Dear Lord Jesus, how can it be? How is it possible that you love us as the Father loves you? With unfettered joy, the fullness of affection, and a deluge of delight. We believe, help our unbelief

     Jesus, to abide in your love is a command we’ll gladly keep. As a fish swims the depths of the Pacific Ocean and an eagle soars the heights of the Alaska skyline, so shall we seek to abide in your love. It was your obedience that earned the fullness of God’s love for us, and it’s our obedience that frees us to enjoy every good thing we have in you.

     Because you have perfectly fulfilled the law for us, God’s commands are no longer a burden to us (1 John 5:3). By them we understand how to love as you love us; how to live at the pace of grace, instead of at the race for more; how to steward our freedom, instead of squandering our moments. Hallelujah, we’re not under the weight and condemnation of the law, we’re in you and under grace (Rom. 6:14). Hallelujah, we’ve been set free from performance-based living, for a life of whole-heart loving. Take us farther up and farther into the ways and means of grace, Lord Jesus.

     May your Word and, and everything it teaches us, increasingly become more precious to us than fine gold, and sweeter than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb (Ps. 19:10); for it warns us of the insanity of sin, and woos us unto a life of true freedom and joy (Ps. 19:7-13). May the pleasure we find in obeying you be only second to the pleasure we have in being loved by you.

     And now, as we lean into the demands, surprises, and pains of this day, knowing you are praying for the fullness of our joy, we will seek to live for the praise of your glorious grace (Eph. 1:6). So very Amen we pray, in your magnificent and merciful name. 

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A Prayer for Reaffirming Our Love for Jesus

Jan 21, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     I hope you will put up with a little more of my foolishness. Please bear with me. For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. 2 Cor. 11:1-3 (NLT)

     Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. Eph. 6:24 (NIV)

     Dear Lord Jesus, whether overtly or covertly, Satan is always seeking to steal the affections of my heart away from you. And when he is successful, everything else in my life gets out of balance. I start thinking of myself either too highly or too lowly, and certainly too often; I take criticism too personally and I feed on complements like chocolate.

     When I get distracted from my main calling (and privilege) of communing with and adoring you, I medicate my pain in unhealthy ways and get busy with things that don’t really matter; I get irritated quicker and repent slower; I’m more susceptible to fears and more likely to sin. None of this bodes well. All of these things rob me and others of grace, but worse, they rob you of glory.

     So as this day begins, and continues, I reaffirm that my greatest joy in life is being known, loved, and enjoyed by you. I love you, Jesus, because you first loved me and gave yourself for me—in life and in your death. No one, and nothing else, is worthy of my heart’s attention, affection, and adoration. Though my love for you waxes and wanes, your love for me is always full bore, full throttle, passionately present and persistent.

     Continue to rescue me from whisperings and lies, and seductions and condemnations of Satan. May your love for me be the most enthralling, liberating, and compelling force in my life, until the Day you return, and I am made perfect in your love (1 Jn. 3:1-3). Hallelujah, what a Savior you are! Hallelujah, what a salvation you have won for us! So very Amen I pray, in your great and gracious name.

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A Prayer for Receiving and Resting in the Peace of God

Jan 20, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     Now 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)

     Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:17 (NIV)

     O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works. Isa. 26:12 (ESV)

     Dear heavenly Father, I praise, bless, and adore you for many reasons. Today, in particular, I rejoice in your commitment to give us peace—to center, settle, and encourage our hearts. You never pressure us just to ‘”get over it, buck up, and be strong”. You welcome us in our weakness, confusion, and frailties.

     In Paul’s words, you promise peace “at all times and in every situation”—because of your presence with us. To know that you are with us and for us, to know that you love us and are in control of all things, that is what we need more than anything else. So Father, here are some of the “every situations” for which we ask you to “ordain” a good measure of your peace.

     Grant us peace, as we trust you with the hearts and futures of our children. No matter the age of our kids, we still want to write their stories. Forgive our unbelief; free us from our “meddling”; and grant us all season grace to love, accept, and encourage our daughters and sons.

     Grant us peace, as we make important decisions. Some of us are facing career changes, church choices, economic challenges, and health issues. Free us from the notion that there is only one right choice to make. Actually, there is only one right God to trust, and that is you. Lead us, as we lean on you, Father.

     Lastly, grant us peace, as we live in some broken stories for which Jesus’ return, alone, will bring the resolve. Whether it’s a world at war, or wars in our hearts, may the promise of consummate peace prove to be sufficient peace until that Day. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ strong and tender name.

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