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A Prayer for Greater Release from Our Shame

Mar 03, 2015 | Scotty Smith

      “Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood. For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.” Isa. 54:4-5 (NLT)

Dear heavenly Father, you come to us so faithfully in your in your Word, giving welcome to the exiled, balm for the broken, and grace for the disgraced. Thank you for your tenacious tenderness, inexhaustible patience, and heart-healing kindness. Thank you that I don’t have to be ashamed of my lingering battle with shame. Thank you for the promise that one Day I will be completely free, healthy, and whole.

Until that Day, I will blast my heart with the good news—the true news. You are not ashamed of me, Father. In fact, you delight in me—as hard as that is to believe at times. Your gaze is the grace of grace. When you look at me, you not only see the righteousness of Jesus, with which you’ve clothed me, you see me and desire me.

There’s nothing about me you don’t know. There’s nothing left to discover, shock, or disappoint you. You don’t love me as I should be, or will be, but as I am right now—your beloved child, en route to becoming more like Jesus. Thank you, Father, thank you—words that come easily, but words that feel woefully inadequate to express my sense of gratitude, relief and peace.

As this day begins, and will end, I bless you that there’s no more disgrace for me and that I no longer have to live in shame; that Jesus is my Spouse and the armies of heaven are marshaled against all the lies of the enemy; that your name is Redeemer and my name is beloved. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.

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A Prayer for Crying Out to Jesus for Healing–for Others and Ourselves

Mar 02, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” Matt. 8:14-17 (NIV)

Dear Lord Jesus, you are a most wonderful, merciful Savior. We praise, bless and adore you for everything you are, and for everything you’ve done for us. By your life, death, and resurrection, you have completely secured our salvation and you guarantee a most complete salvation. Everything about us matters to you—spirit, soul, and body; and everything about us stands in need of your cleansing, healing, and liberating grace.

In the Scriptures we see your healing power at work; and by the gospel, we know one Day we will be completely healthy and whole—and we are so grateful. In light of that Day, Jesus, our cry in this day is simple, humble, and earnest. Lord Jesus, please bring your healing power to bear for those we love and cherish.

For our children: Jesus, renew their minds with your gospel; capture their hearts with your love; heal their emotions and bodies by your power. It’s so hard to see our kids suffer, and to know our inability to make things right. Grant us grace, as we seek to love and serve them the best we know how.

For our friends: Oh, for the Day of no more cancers and no more heart disease (of any kind); no more tumors or terrors; no more addictions or even obsessions; no more mental maladies or emotional diseases; no more bodies that wear out or death in any form. Jesus, there are so many situations for which we boldly ask you for supernatural healing, or supernatural sufficient grace.

We know you don’t despise our asking. We know you do all things well. We know you are writing stories larger than our understanding. We know, and still we ask, Jesus please bring healing to our kids, friends… and to us. So very Amen we pray, in your worship-worthy and trustworthy name.

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A Prayer for Our Worship to Be Gospel Shaped and Spirit Filled

Mar 01, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom. 12:1-2 (NIV)

     Worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh. Phil. 3:3b (ESV)

     Dear heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of corporate worship. Thank you for the honor and joy of gathering with my sisters and brothers to respond to every good thing you have given us in Christ. Free us to give you the worship you deserve and in which you delight. It’s about you Father, not us—it’s all about you, the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

     So grant us a fresh and full gaze of your mercies, lavished on us in the gospel. We want to offer you a sacrifice of praise, with everything we have and are. Father, you are worthy of so much more that mere lip worship; we want to declare your worth with our minds, hearts, and bodies. So consume us afresh, overwhelm us again, and liberate us for your praise.

     Send your Holy Spirit, for our worship is in vain apart from the Spirit’s work and presence. Free us to glory in Christ Jesus—to boast and exult, rejoice and rest in everything Jesus is, and everything he has accomplished for us. Turn our theology into doxology; our singing into adoration; and our listening into liberated living. We put no confidence in our anything, Father, but humbly and expectantly rely upon your work in our hearts and midst.

     May our worship today be a sweet aroma to you, and a transforming power for us. Send us forth with your benediction, into a week of living and loving to your glory. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ exalted and loving name.

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A Prayer for Hearing and Believing the Gospel, All Over Again

Feb 28, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Rom. 3:21-24 (NIV)

     Dear heavenly Father, as I mediate my way through this remarkable passage, once again I realize there’s simply no such thing as “moving on from the gospel”; no room to ever say, “I’ve got the gospel, what’s next?” For the gospel isn’t just about how we enter the Christian life, it’s the beginning, middle, and end. Hallelujah, for your sovereign, sufficient, and all-satisfying grace.

     Your entire Word—all Law and Prophets pointed towards the day you would send Jesus into the world, to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. We need major forgiveness, for we constantly fall short of the Law’s truth, beauty, and goodness; and we need a perfect righteousness, for the very same reason. In Jesus’, you have wondrously, generously, and once-and-for-all, given us both. Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

     By faith in Jesus, you now declare us to be exhaustively forgiven and fully justified; you cannot love us more, neither will you ever love us less. We cannot add to your affection for us, by our good works; and we cannot diminish your affection, by our foolishness and failures. Father, if you hadn’t written this good news plainly in your Word, we wouldn’t believe it—it simply seems too good to be true.

     How then shall we live, as a forgiven and justified people? Compelled by your love, Father, we want to live for your glory, love to your glory, and die to your glory. Now free from the Law’s demands and judgments, we want to reveal its goodness and beauty. Grant us grace to do so in this one, new, precious day you have given us. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ exquisite and exalted name.

     

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A Prayer for Pondering and Believing the Love of Jesus

Feb 27, 2015 | Scotty Smith

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

     Dear Lord Jesus, we believe you love us this much, but we don’t believe it as much as you intend. Heal us and free us, we pray, for you have made us for yourself and have redeemed us for yourself. Our deepest longings find their origin and fulfillment in you. Our greatest brokenness finds its redemption through you. Our lingering fears and foolishness find their release by you. What a wonderful, merciful Savior you are; and what a woefully inadequate affirmation this is.

     We belong to you, Jesus—not by the merit of our efforts, not by the measure of our sincerity, not by the tears of our repentance, not 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 have paid a price beyond measure, to give us riches beyond calculation—to make us your beloved. 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. We believe; help our unbelief.

     May this all-consuming, heart-transforming, life-liberating good news free us today to live and to love to your glory, Jesus. Take us further up and farther into your heart. So very Amen we pray, in your mercy-full and grace-full name.

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A Prayer for Letting Go of the Desire for Revenge

Feb 26, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Rom. 12:19 (NIV)

     It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” Deut. 32:35 (ESV)

     The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Rom. 16:20 (NIV)

     Dear heavenly Father, in view of the increase of kidnappings and human trafficking, the proliferation of pornography and the spirit of jihad, I find myself growing angrier and angrier. I find myself craving revenge, and relishing the thought of harming the purveyors of terror and evil. So I’m desperate for you to apply these Scriptures to my heart this morning. I need fresh and specific grace. It’s one thing for me to long for justice, but an altogether different thing to want to repay harm for harm, evil for evil, beheading for beheading.

     Father, thank you for your commitment to avenge and annihilate all evil. Thank you for your commitment to wipe away all tears, put all things right, and to make all things new. Just as in the “fullness of time” you sent Jesus to be our Savior (Gal. 4:4), so in “due time”, the day of disaster and doom will come upon the kingdom of darkness. I praise, bless, and adore you for your promise to crush Satan under our feet “soon“. May soon be very soon.

     Until then, Father, help me to be more aware of the advancing of your kingdom than the exploits of evil. May the beauty and present reign of Jesus be more real to me than the ugly and sinister deeds of darkness. Father, show me my place in your story, with your people, in my city.

     Instead of wasting energy on fretting evil, help me use that same energy for loving my neighbors and pushing back the effects of the Fall in my community. Instead of chatting up the latest menacing story, help me to be more ready to share the gospel and speak of the hope you have given us in Jesus. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ loving and triumphant name.

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A Prayer for the 150 Assyrian Christians Imprisoned by ISIS

Feb 25, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” Jonah 4:10-11 (NLT)

     Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Heb. 13:3 (NIV)

     Dear heavenly Father, we run to your throne of grace today on behalf of our Assyrian brothers and sisters, imprisoned for no other reason than because they are followers of Christ. Their fear must be great, as their threat is quite real. We especially think of the women and the elderly, held captive by this act of terror. Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy.  

     Hold them tighter than their captives, Father. May the grasp of your grace be more real to these Assyrian Christians than the grip of the darkness. Such a request of you is no vain thing, Father; for centuries ago you brought your saving love to Assyria through Jonah. Though he was a reluctant prophet, you are a generous Redeemer. You showered great mercy on Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. Why not again, why not in this chapter of their story? May your name be great among the nations, now and forever.

     Father, these 150 imprisoned Christians are the ones most obvious to us today, but there are thousands like them in various places of the world. You have called us to remember them as though we ourselves are imprisoned, and to identify with the persecuted church as through we too are suffering great mistreatment. By the power of your grace, grant us this measure of compassion and concern, Father. May the threat of evil fuel our passion to share the gospel, all the more.

     Having freed us for eternity by the riches of the gospel, we long for the Day when all captivities will be crushed; all persecutions will be pulverized; all terror will be defanged, tamed, and gone forever. Hasten that Day, O holy and sovereign Father, hasten that Day. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ triumphant and tender name.

    

     

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A Prayer for Re-Learning the Secret of Contentment

Feb 24, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. Phil. 4:11-12 (ESV)

     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)

    Do all things without grumbling. Phil. 2:14 (ESV)

     Dear heavenly Father, there are some aspects of this life of grace for which I seem to need constant refreshment courses. Contentment is one of them. I know you’re not calling me to kill desire, demonize ambition, or decry enjoyment. And yet at the same time I totally “get” your warnings about complaining, ingratitude, and discontent.

     So I come to you, Father, once again, acknowledging a need you alone can meet. Grant me the grace of contentment. Whether I have a little or a lot; am well known or forgotten; live in a palace or a garage apartment; feast on filet mignon or yesterday’s mac and cheese. Whether I feel included or left out; celebrated or underappreciated; have discretionary funds for splurging, or literally, have to pray for daily bread. Whether my relationships are “rocking” or are rocky; whether I have really good health, or chronic maladies. Father, I want to be content, not passive; not in denial, but truly grateful; not immune to pain, but alive in Jesus.

     So, by your Holy Spirit, convict me when I default too easily to murmuring and complaining, which usually segues into whining and blaming. Heal me of gospel amnesia—too easily forgetting every good thing we have in Christ. Open the eyes of my heart as I begin (and continue) this day. Let me see a little more of Jesus, actually, a lot more. That’s all I need; that’s all I really need. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ all glorious and grace-full name.

     

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A Prayer for Lamenting Evil and Longing for Its Demise

Feb 23, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 1 John 3:8 (NIV)

     Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil. Heb. 2:14 (NIV)

     He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Col. 2:15 (ESV)

Dear Lord Jesus, I am so thankful for the hope we have of a world and eternity completely devoid of all sin, evil, and brokenness. Though it will require your second coming, nonetheless, I am grateful for that Day, and long for it more than ever.

The Day of no more beheadings, or even kidnappings; no more human trafficking or even bad traffic; no more greed, or any form of need; no more harming in any form, just blessing in every form; no more vengeance or retaliation, just peace and reconciliation; no more broken people, places, or things; just beauty, in everyone in every place.

Thank for, Jesus, for destroying the devil’s work, by your work on the cross. His crushed head, broken dominion, and sure demise are sweetness to our souls, peace in our storms, and power for our mission. Through your shame you shamed evil and by your defeat you defeated darkness. Terror is now terrified of you. Though the devil is filled with fury, he is on a leash, knowing his time is short (Rev. 12:12).

We will not shrink back; we will not cower; we will not fear. You have won the war, and you will win the remaining battles. As full as the world is with evil and devils, it will be filled thousands of times over with beauty and you. As surely as you spoke the world into existence, you will speak the one word that will ultimately fell the devil, and spell the end to all his deadly doings. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah!

Lord Jesus, we praise, bless, and adore you, for so great a salvation and so trustworthy a hope. For your glory, we will live this day in light of that Day. So very Amen we pray, in your exalted and majestic name.

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A Prayer for Rejoicing in Jesus’ Once and for All Sacrifice for Our Sins

Feb 22, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. Heb. 10:11-14 (NLT)

     Dear Lord Jesus, I cannot hear it too much. I cannot believe it too deeply. I cannot rejoice in it too fully. By your death on the cross, you have taken away our sins, once and for all. Nothing is left undone. Nothing more needs to happen. Nothing else could have met our need. Nothing else must be our cry—“We have been made righteous in Christ forever! Blessed be the name of our God and Savior, Jesus—the Lamb of God who has taken away our sin; the Lord of all, who is making all things new; the Lamp of the New Jerusalem, whose glory will shine eternally!”

     And now, having completely justified us by your finished work, you are perfecting us by your glorious gospel. It’s all of grace, from beginning to end. We who have been declared perfectly righteous will be made perfectly holy—O blessed and happy hope. One Day we will be as lovely and as loving as you, Lord Jesus. There is no greater longing, no greater joy, and no greater future—none. 

     Even as we rest in your finished work, so we rejoice in your present reign, Lord Jesus. Atoned for sin will be abolished sin; defeated evil will be eradicated evil; vanquished enemies will be eliminated enemies. May the joy of this good news buckle our knees in humble adoration, and empower our hands for neighbor edification.

     As we are loved, so let us love; as we have been served, so let us serve; as we are encouraged, so let us encourage one another as we long for the Day. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ holy and loving name.

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