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When We’re Feeling Sensitive and Defensive: Praying through 1 Peter 2:21-25 (NLT)

21 God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.

Dear Lord Jesus, I need every truth so beautifully crammed into this one small portion of the Word. First of all, don’t let me ever forget that you are my substitute before you are my example. You suffered in our place on the cross, once-and-for-all; and now, we follow you into the fellowship of suffering in our world.

Because you never sinned, we have the resources of the gospel when we do sin. And “testy,” provoking, conflictive relationships are the fertile soil in which I can super-grow weeds of defensiveness, self-righteousness, and a bad attitude. Jesus, grant me a thicker skin and a bigger heart.

23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.

     Jesus, if anyone ever had a right to get hair-trigger defensive and vengeful, it was you. Your sufferings were entirely unjust, and yet, they fulfilled the demands of perfect justice for us, forever. Hallelujah, many times over!

     Because you “left your case in the hands of God,” you have won salvation for your whole Bride, including me. And now, through your finished work, I know God to be Abba, Father—the one I too, can trust in difficult moments, stories, and relationships.

24 He personally carried our sins in …

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A Prayer for Bringing Our Annoyed, Irritated Attitude to Jesus

Fools show their annoyance at once. Prov. 12:16 (NIV)

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the bosom of fools. Eccl. 7:9 (ESV)

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23 (NLT)

     Dear Lord Jesus, before this day takes flight, I want to own the annoyed, irritated attitude I feel roaming about my heart. In the last few days, it hasn’t taken much to “bug” me and put me in a bad frame—like lifting an empty milk carton from the “frig” when I really wanted a bowl of cereal; someone taking two parking places for their new car when I’m running late for a lunch appointment; the colorful spinning disk on my computer screen saying “I’m not ready to open your file just yet.”

     Or dropped calls and unexpected visitors, eggshells in my omelet and road construction on my route, junk mail in my mailbox and robotic phone calls to my “do not call” registered phone number, delayed flights and deflated bike tires; people that nurse grudges, talk with food in their mouths, and laugh too loud; forgotten passwords, appointments and names… Help me Jesus!

     I don’t want to be that fool who shows his annoyance at once, or that fool in whose bosom anger lodges, like a welcomed guest. Settle me and center me, by the grace, truth, and power of the gospel. I make …

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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 Repenting of Political Cynicism and Unbelief

     Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 1 Pet. 2:13-17

     I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior. 1 Tim. 2:1-3

Dear heavenly Father, these Scriptures convict me—they expose my unbelief, my lack of prayer and my bad attitude. I stand convicted of how little I’ve prayed for our past presidents and how very little I pray with faith for our sitting president. Forgive me, and by the power of the gospel, give me a better attitude.

I confess, I’ve been more of a cynic than your servant with respect to supporting our government. I haven’t been living with the confidence that you set up and sit down kings, presidents, premiers, and governors at your bidding. At times, I’ve been more irritated by the Oval Office than comforted by the occupied throne of heaven.

In many …

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A Prayer about Politics and My Bad Attitude

     Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Rev. 1:4-5 

     Glorious Triune God, the more I think about the American political process, the more I find a cesspool of irritation and cynicism brewing in my heart—a sure indication that I need your grace and fresh repentance. No matter what’s going on outside of me (in the White House or anywhere else), it doesn’t justify a cancerous attitude. So I begin this day reminding myself of exactly who you are and what you’re up to in your world… as revealed in this one Scripture, alone. Nothing has greater power to convict me of my sin and help me regain perspective.
     Sovereign Father, I’m greatly encouraged (and humbled) to remember that you are timeless in your engagement with your creation and your people. You always have been, you presently are, and you always will be the God who is working all things together after the counsel of your will. You never need a holiday, you never suffer from ADD, and you always bring your “A game.” You are constantly doling out grace and peace, grace and peace, grace and peace, to your children. Hallelujah!
     God the Holy Spirit, in your sevenfold perfection, you are constantly executing the …

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A Prayer About American Politics and My Bad Attitude

     Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Revelation 1:4-5

     Glorious Triune God, lately my attitude about the American political process has been brewing and spewing a cesspool of irritation and cynicism… a sure indication that I need the gospel to settle and center me. So I begin this day reminding myself of exactly who you are, and as I do, I’m going to deeply inhale the rarefied air of heaven, which constantly exudes the grace and peace I desperately need. I do my best repenting by remembering who you are. So as I pray this Scripture, restore me to gospel-sanity.

     Sovereign Father, I’m greatly encouraged to remember that you are timeless in your engagement with your creation and your people. You always have been… you presently are… and you always will be the God who is working all things together after the counsel of your will. This very Labor Day morning, you are working in all things for the good of your people. You never need a holiday, you never suffer from ADD, and you always bring your “A game.”

     God the Holy Spirit, in your seven-fold perfection, you irrepressibly execute the will of the Father concerning all things… from feeding sparrows and clothing flowers… to revealing and …

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