Category Archives: Prayer
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7
Dear heavenly Father, this Scripture makes me long for more of the ophthalmological corrective that only takes place as the gospel does its work on the eyes of my heart. Even if I could see with 20/15 or 20/10 vision, if I’m only focusing on the “outward appearance” of people and things, I’m still not seeing as you intend. My plea? Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, that I may see Jesus, and as I see Jesus more clearly, help me see everything else from his perspective.
Help me to see people with eyes of grace. Father, help me to see the beauty, dignity, and your image in people, much more clearly than I notice their brokenness and inconsistencies. And when I do see their weaknesses, may I do so with compassion and understanding, not with shock and irritation. Help me to see what you see in my spouse, children, and friends—even in total strangers.
Help me to see creation with eyes of grace. Father, don’t let me miss your majesty revealed in the ocean and mountains, sunrises and sunsets, flora and fauna, rainstorms and rainbows. Help me live more as a worshipful steward of your creation and …
At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” Dan. 4:34-35
Dear Lord Jesus, this Scripture confronts our unbelief, tames our fears, and consoles our hearts. We can’t be reminded too often whose kingdom and which King is actually in control, of world events and our daily circumstances.
You have no rivals, contingencies, or concerns. There’s no sweat on your palms, vacancy in your eyes, or vexation in your heart. You set up kings and you sit them down at your discretion. You live forever, your dominion is eternal, your kingdom endures, and you do as you please . . . period!
Even as you brought King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to his theological and political senses, so keep us in gospel sanity. Forgive us when we pay more attention to political pundits, sensational blogs, news-naysayers, and talk shows crazies, than we take notice of the occupied throne of heaven and listen intently to what you have to say to us in your Word.
And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart heart and action, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, and I will never stop doing good to them. Jer. 32:38-40
Dear heavenly Father, this Scripture exposes the lingering presence of my unbelief, and the irrepressible, tenacious, measureless wonder of your goodness. Fortunately, your goodness wins the collision with my unbelief.
I want everything you’ve promised in these remarkable words spoken through Jeremiah, starting with singleness of heart. For quite often, my heart gets distracted, disconnected, and divided. You alone are worthy of my heart’s affection, adoration, and allegiance. Corral and center my wandering heart, for your glory, by your grace.
I want singleness of action, Father, seeking first the kingdom of redemption, restoration, and righteousness—the kingdom of your beloved Son, Jesus. Too many of my thoughts and too much of my energy is spent on the little fiefdom of me; it is squandered, frittered, wasted. Give me passion for what really matters.
I want to fear you, Father, now that I no longer have to be afraid of you. Through the work of Jesus, you have eternally freed me from the fear of death and judgment. Now give me awe and reverence, consistent with the measure of your mercies and grace that are ours …
Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them. Rom. 4:7-8
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:10-12
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:1
Dear heavenly Father, like all words, categories, and concepts, true “blessedness” is to be defined by you. You alone have the right to tell us the difference blessing and curse—between fool’s gold and real gold, and you’ve done so clearly, through the words of a broken king (David – Ps. 32:1-2), and a humbled Pharisee (Paul – Rom. 4:7-8).
Count me among the blessed, for you have completely forgiven all my transgressions, once and for all, through the finished work of Jesus. You have thoroughly covered my sins by the blood of Jesus. You will never count my sins against me because you counted my sin against Jesus and you now count me righteous in him. Hallelujah, many times over. The cross was my Judgment Day, the empty tomb is the guarantee of my justification, and my true citizenship is now in heaven.
Abba, Father, whether I live …
I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. Jer. 31:25
Dear heavenly Father, we’re like baby birds with mouths wide open this morning. Come, feed and nourish our hearts with the riches of your grace. It’s heartening to know that we don’t have to pretend around you. We don’t have to feel guilty, feign strength, or make excuses. You meet as a loving Father, not as a disgruntled coach. You meet us with the gospel, not with a scorecard; with a smile, not with a scowl; with encouragement, not disgruntlement. Hallelujah, many times over!
So what makes us weary, Father? Where do we start? The demands and delights of relationships; wars and rumors of wars; too many guns in the hands of too many teenagers; cancer in our friends, and heartaches in our breasts; the normal process of bones aching, and the ill-timed moments of stuff breaking; pandemics in our world, and paying for the academics of our kids; Christians that can’t get along, and friends that simply move on; transitions in our vocations, and the long overdue need for a vacation.
Father, we so look forward to an eternity of no more pettiness or petulance; no more hard-heartedness or fragile-heartedness; no more hurt feelings or bullying egos; no more communicating in part or conflicting to win; no more passive aggressiveness or active indifference; no more innuendo or bravado or anything else that hides the beauty of Jesus.
Indeed, Jesus, there’s no lasting refreshment apart from you. You still cry out in a …
And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour? I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 1 Cor. 15:30-32
Dear Lord Jesus, I have no clue what kind of wild beasts Paul battled in Ephesus—whether they were of the four-legged or two-legged variety, or if they were simply demons. Because of his love for you, conflict with evil was inevitable. Because of your love for him, death would be gain. Because of your resurrection, he knew his labors in the Lord were not in vain.
Jesus, this moves me to pray today for those who have taken on various “beastly” callings. I praise you for friends who work in the seedy, dark world of human trafficking. I thank you for these servants, many of whom endanger themselves every hour. Keep them resourced, wise, and filled with the hope of the gospel.
I pray for those who are serving in the vortex of the Ebola pandemic. Keep them safe and bless their labors, Lord Jesus. We long for the Day of no more disease of any variety.
I pray for pastors and churches, in the throws of conflicts, strife, and division. As the Prince of Peace, bring your peace to …
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possessions who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14
Dear Lord Jesus, if there’s one teacher I want to excel under, one curriculum I need to master, one school I want to do well in, it’s the academy of God’s grace. In the past, I’ve either taken education too seriously, turning grades into idols; or I’ve been irresponsible—doing just enough to get by. But when it comes to grace, I want to get “schooled”—big time.
Your grace first appeared to me like a longed-for sunrise after the bleakest night of darkness. It came, quite literally, bringing salvation to me—for I could never find it on my own, earn it through my efforts, or even desire it, apart from the Spirit’s work.
And this is the grace of your gospel, Lord Jesus: You gave yourself for us on the cross to redeem us from sin, to purify us for yourself, to make us zealous to do good. Anything less, more, or other is not the gospel.
So as one under the pedagogy of your grace, Jesus, help me say an emphatic “No!” …
God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. Rom. 11:2-6
Dear heavenly Father, at least seventeen times a day I need to be reminded of how I got into your story of redemption and how I stay there—only and fully by grace.
Occasionally I’m like Elijah, assuming I’m special because I’m one of the few who really “gets” the gospel—no longer bowing the knee to performance-based spirituality, moralism, or legalism. At other times I know myself to be an idolater—not worshiping Baal, but worshiping almost anything or everything else—and wondering how I could possibly be yours.
Then, like a rebuke or a kiss from heaven (depending on my disposition), I hear the Holy Spirit speak these words to my heart: “I have kept for myself a people for myself.” As in the days before Elijah, of Elijah, and long after Elijah, you are keeping and are preserving a much-loved people for yourself.
Many of them have …
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thess. 5:23
Dear heavenly Father, it’s a source of incredible comfort to know that you are resolutely committed to keeping and changing us—to make us more and more like Jesus. For you’ve promised to bring to completion the good work you began in your children (Phil. 1:6).
We’d despair if this wasn’t the case, for the disparity between Jesus’ beauty and our brokenness is overwhelming to us at times. The thoughts we think, the things we feel, and the choices we make often contradict the gospel we love. We could never be our own savior, and only a great Savior like Jesus is sufficient for people like us.
So here’s our peace and joy: As the “God of peace” you’re completely sanctifying us— transforming us through and through—spirit, soul, and body; and you’re not impatient in the process. You don’t roll your eyes, cross your arms, or furrow your brow when you think about us. You are completely at peace with us.
We will be wholly blameless and shameless, at Jesus’ second coming, only because he took our blame upon the cross, and despised its shame. Even now, our lives are hidden safely in Christ; and when he does return, we will appear with him in glory, for Jesus is our life—our righteousness, holiness, …
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Rev. 1:5-6
Dear Lord Jesus, John’s words, early in the Book of Revelation, have the feel of a toast to them. It’s as though we’ve just finished a great banquet and have risen to our feet, with glasses hoisted to honor you, we proclaim in a loud voice “To him who loves us . . .” No one is more worthy of honor than you, and we long for the Day when knowing you in part gives way to knowing you as fully as your glorified Bride will.
Truly, there’s no date on the calendar of my heart more anticipated and longed for than the wedding feast of the Lamb—the banquet of which all other banquets are a mere hint; the mercy meal consummating your great love for us; the bodacious blowout inaugurating of our shared life together in the new heaven and new earth. Even so, hasten that Day, O great Bridegroom; hasten that Day.
Until then, please help me grasp the implications of that one enormous little phrase, “To him who loves us. ” How fitting—that this kiss of grace would be found in the opening words to the concluding book of your whole revelation. What a glorious summation of your work on our behalf. What a magnificent affirmation of the …