Category Archives: Prayer

A Prayer for Thanksgiving Day

     Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT)

     Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength. Hab. 3:17-19a (ESV)

Dear heavenly Father, on this Thanksgiving Day, we praise you for being the only God from whom all blessings flow; our loving Father, who does all things well, even when you don’t do all things easy; and the sovereign Lord, who enthrones and dethrones rulers at your bidding.

King David and the Prophet Habakkuk voice the declaration of our hearts and the cry of our souls. With our whole being, we want to thank you for the multiplied blessings you have lavished upon us in Jesus. You have forgiven all of our sins—the ones which bear the most shame, and the ones we’ll never know about. You now count us righteous in …

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A Prayer for Remaining Grateful When Life Is Messy

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess. 5:18 (ESV)

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isa. 41:10 (ESV)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28 (NIV)

     Dear heavenly Father, there are some days when it’s good (and important) to remember that you call us to offer thanks in, not for, all circumstances. The gospel isn’t about magic thinking or make-believe-living, spiritual anesthesia or circumstantial amnesia. In fact, the gospel is the only place in the universe where we don’t have to pretend about anything. That’s one of the many reasons we love you, and ARE grateful to be your children.

     Father, strengthen, help, and uphold us with your righteous right hand, in stories that are recipes for dismay.

     For those of us for whom Thanksgiving Day will highlight the brokenness of our family system—grant us grace and freedom to love well in the chaos.

     For those of us bearing the weight of health concerns for ourselves, or those we love—grant us grace, peace, and the assurance of your nearness.

     For those of us weighed down by some combination of the 6 o’clock news, financial pressures, vocational …

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A Prayer of Lament and Longing for the End of Violence

     Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so? Matt. 26:52-54 (ESV)

     I will make peace your governor and well-being your ruler. No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. Isa. 60:17-18 (NIV)

     Dear Lord Jesus, we come to you today with cries of lament and sighs of longing. How long, O Lord, until you return and put an end to all violence—whether it’s in the streets of Ferguson or the villages of Iraq? How long before there’s no more no more warring nations, or even divisive personalities—no more sexual assaults or abuses of power? When will the dawn break on the Day or no more arguments between friends, pettiness between spouses, and petulance in our churches? How long, O Lord, how long?

     We yearn for the Day when peace will be our governor and well-being our ruler—when walls won’t be built of bricks and mortar, but of grace and salvation; when gates won’t be locked, to keep others out of our homes—but open, to welcome the nations into the new earth. How long until lambs and wolves …

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A Prayer for Days When You Wake Up with a Low-grade Irritability

     If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. 1 Cor. 13:1-5 (ESV)

     Dear heavenly Father, though there’s a lot more in this remarkable passage about the love, I chose to stop this morning with Paul’s couplet about love not being “irritable or resentful”—because I woke up with a measure of each vying for my day. I need your grace, even before the sun comes up. So I come to you—I run to you, thankful for your welcome and new mercies.

     Father, I don’t want this to be a bad attitude day, and as tempting as it is to blame and make excuses for my low-grade irritability, I’m not gonna do it. I am canceling my plans for a pity party; and I relinquish my elder-brother attitude of condescension, withdrawal, and judgment. Our feelings are to be taken seriously, but our feelings aren’t lord—that would be Jesus.

     So, Father, by your grace, settle me, center …

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A Prayer for Savoring Our Blessed Now and Shameless Future

     If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ”Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Rom. 10:9-11 (NIV)

Dear Lord Jesus, this is another day you have made, and I will rejoice in be glad in it. How can I not be glad and rejoice with all my heart? Though there remain many things over which I have zero control—circumstances I’d love to change, people I yearn to be healthier, and stories I wish I could write, nonetheless, my blessings in you far outnumber the broken things in my world.

Thank you for giving me the awareness of my need, and the faith to believe, that you are Lord—the Lord of creation and the new creation; the Lord of life and of death; the Lord of all kings and all craziness; the Lord of the environment and all government; the Lord of my days and my hairs; the Lord of my hunger and my feasting; the Lord of my laments and my laughter; the Lord of my justification—indeed my whole salvation.

Lord Jesus, with grace-bought freedom, I once again confess you to be the Lord of lords and King of kings. I do believe in my heart that God raised you from the dead—for my redemption, as well as the restoration of the …

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A Prayer for Days When You’re Feeling Discontented

     Godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Tim. 6:6-8 (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)

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

     Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. Ps. 37:4-5 (NLT)

     Dear heavenly Father, I assume that until the Day you either take me home, or send Jesus back to finish making all things new, I’m going to be both a whiner and a worshiper. Some days, nothing feels like it’s enough—people, places, or things. Other days, your love, grace, and presence are more real and satisfying than anything else, and all things combined.

     I want more of those days, Father—more of the days when your love is better than life, your grace is more than sufficient, and your presence is sweeter than honey. But until the Day of nor more whining, discontent, and grumbling, free me, Father, to more fully delight myself in you. Not to get the desires of my heart, but that you may be the primary delight of my heart. I cannot imagine a freer posture in life.

     …

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A Prayer When You’re Feeling Conflicted about Decisions

     We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Prov. 16:9 (NLT)

To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. Rev. 3:7 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6 (ESV)

Dear heavenly Father, some decisions are “no brainers,” and some require nothing more than sanctified common sense. But there are other decisions in front of us that tie us in knots, rob us of sleep, and keep us second-guessing. Today I’m praying for myself, and friends, who find themselves in that third category. We need your peace to rule in our hearts, as we seek to choose wisely (Col. 3:15).

It’s incomparably comforting to know that you are the God who determines our steps, even as we nervously punch an address on the GPS of our hearts. This doesn’t mean we are to be passive in our decision-making, but to realize that you are very present—opening doors we cannot shut, and shutting doors we cannot open. We praise and bless you, for your sovereign, comprehensive, and constant engagement in our lives.

We certainly have every reason to trust you with all of our hearts, Father, because you loved us with all of your heart when you sent Jesus …

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A Prayer for Those of Us with Loved Ones Impacted by Memory Loss

     Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Isa. 49:15-16 (ESV)

Dear heavenly Father, though Isaiah used the image somewhat metaphorically, mothers and fathers do forget the children they have brought into the world. I know this quite well, having lived through the journey of watching my dad forgetting my name, then my face, then everything about me. The process was very painful, yet you met us time and again, with your mercy and grace.

I am so thankful that the gospel is a living hope, not sentimental hype. I am so thankful that long after dad forgot you, you never forgot him. I am so thankful that dad’s memory has been healed, and that he now knows and remembers perfectly. Above all, I am envious that he now knows you perfectly, while I am bound to the world of knowing-in-part.

As someone who found you to be the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, in a story of dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s an honor to pray for others in that same painful journey. Father, grant spouses and children, family members and friends, a profound sense of your presence, and courage to love well.

Grant them freedom to grieve their mounting sense of loss; the grace to accept the changes in their loved …

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A Prayer for Delighting in the Love and Faithfulness of God

     I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations. Psalm 89:1-4 (NIV)

     Dear heavenly Father, I have no clue who Ethan the Ezrahite was, to whom authorship of this Psalm is attributed, but I love his heart, words, and worship. I too, want to sing and make music in my heart to you today, Lord, for the steadfastness of your love and the rock-steadiness of your faithfulness.

     Because of what you have done for us in Jesus, we can live with the absolute assurance that your love will not be attached to any contingencies today—or anything in us. You won’t be using a scorecard, thermometer, or scale to measure our performance. There’s no chance we’ll inform, surprise, or shock you by anything we think, say or do today.

     You only deal with us according to Jesus’ righteousness—with which you have blessed and robed us. And when you discipline us, it’s never out of irritation or exasperation, but only by the favor and affection you have lavished on us in Christ. Such kindness moves us to repentance like nothing else, Father. Such love compels us to …

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A Prayer for Using Our Words to Bring Healing, not Harm

     If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. James 1:26 (NLT)

     There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Prov. 12:18 (ESV)

     Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Col. 4:6 (NIV)

      The mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45 (NIV)

Dear heavenly Father, nothing is more daily and revealing than our words—the conversations we carry on in our minds, and the communications we share with one another. That is both sobering and encouraging to me, as I begin this day. Sobering, for obvious reasons. I don’t want to contradict my love for you by an irresponsible use of my words. I don’t want to speak like a man thrusting a sword; I want my words to bring healing and grace.

That’s where the encouragement comes in. That which fills my heart will shape my words. So before I have my first interaction with anyone today, Father, I want to set my mind, heart and affection on you. Before I speak, I want to listen to what you are constantly saying to us, your beloved children. I want my heart to be so full of your grace it will be difficult not to speak with grace-seasoned words today.

Father, thank you that it was with everlasting love and tenderness you drew …

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