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 of Thanksgiving, Encouragement, and Hope

     In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. Eph. 1:13-14

     Dear heavenly Father, sometimes reading Paul’s letters is like standing in front of a gushing fire hydrant, or under a cascading waterfall. It’s hard to stand up to the rush of so much glory and grace. It’s simply overwhelming.

     For instance, as I read through Ephesians I’m “blasted” with being known and loved before the foundation of the world; chosen in Christ and called in life in him; being justified by faith and declared righteous by faith; and being adopted by Abba, Father, betrothed to Jesus, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. I have a completely forgiven past and a present standing in grace.

     But what really encourages me today is knowing that all of this is guaranteed. You’ve “sealed the deal” by the Holy Spirit. You’ve guaranteed our inheritance in Christ. You’ve given us the down payment, the firstfruits, the promise of a future beyond our wildest dreams and asking. I praise you for being so outrageously generous with us, Father.

     There’s no possibility of “bait and switch” or “revoking the warranty.” There’s no factory recalls, no fine print or doublespeak, no possibility of bankruptcy or legal maneuverings. Nothing will sabotage your bringing to …

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A Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Good Gifts God Gives

     Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.  James 1:17-18

     Dear heavenly Father, I awoke today a grateful man, and I want to live that way all day long. Now, I’m sure that attitude will be challenged by life in this broken world and by the heart that beats in this broken man. But as someone who has every reason to overflow with thanksgiving, here’s a few of your gifts for which I give you praise this morning.

     First and foremost, I praise you for being, as James writes, the “changeless Father of heavenly lights,” as opposed to being the impetuous god of shifting shadows. We cannot predict, control, or presume on the outworking of your will; but we can completely trust you to be impassible (without mood swings), and passionately good and faithful.

     And I adore you for the gospel of your grace—the gift of Jesus, who lived and died in our place to make us yours. Speaking of which, I bless you for giving life to me twice—the first time I breathed in oxygen, the second time you breathed the life of Jesus into my spirit. Both were sheer acts of your outrageous generosity.

     And I’m also thankful for the multiplicity of …

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A Prayer for Giving Thanks on a Saturday in May

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24). Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thess. 5:18). Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136:1). Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful (Col. 3:15).

     Dear heavenly Father, I woke up today thankful, and I simply want to acknowledge it, for what do I have that I haven’t received from you heart and hand? You’re the God from whom all blessings flow (not trickle). By your grace, continue to open my eyes to see every good thing you’ve given us in and through Christ. “Supersize” my gratitude. May a grateful heart beat loudly in my breast.

     Father, I praise you that though believers in heaven are more joyful than we are, they aren’t more secure or beloved. I say these words way to easily: Because the gospel is true, all our sins are forgiven and you’ve already declared us to be righteous in your sight. All over again, make this doctrine my irrepressible delight—this bit of profound theology my knee-buckling doxology.

     Father, I praise you for your commitment to complete the work you began in us, and in your creation. Quite often, I get tired and weary of me—of how little of the beauty of …

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A Prayer for a Non-Grumbling, Grace-Fueled, Grateful Heart

Do all things without grumbling or bickering.  Phil 2:14

Do not grumble against one another.  James 5:9

Show hospitality without grumbling1 Pet. 4:9

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you1 Thess. 5:18

     Dear heavenly Father, ouch. I’d forgotten how many times in the Scriptures you confront our default-mode attitude of grumbling. You tell us to do all things without grumbling, because we can always find something in everything about which to grumble.

We grumble about the weather. It’s too hot or too cold; too wet or too dry; too windy or too still. We grumble about politics—often more agitated by who’s sitting in the White House than consoled by Who’s sitting on heaven’s throne. We grumble about money. We’ve got too little and taxes take too much. We grumble about people who grumble.

We grumble about worship. It’s too loud, or too quiet; too “hymn-y”, or not “hymn-y” enough. We grumble about our ungrateful children, disconnected spouses and nosy parents; our loud neighbors, irritating co-workers and complete strangers.

We grumble about bad traffic, long lines, and slow waiters. We grumble about our not-with-it churches, long-winded pastors, and we even grumble about You—wondering why in the world you haven’t answered our prayer, by now, to send Jesus back!

Father, have mercy on us; have mercy on me. It is your will for us to give thanks in all circumstances; it is your grace towards us that makes this calling “doable”; and it is your delight in us that …

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A Prayer for Overflowing with Thankfulness

     So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulnessCol. 2:6-7

Dear Lord Jesus, I want to be a man who gives you the quality and quantity of thanks of which you are so absolutely worthy. Not like a slow drip, a babbling brook, or a meandering stream, but like a geyser—a gratitude geyser. I want to spew, spill over, leak thankfulness everywhere you place me—to the praise of your glory and grace!

I run to you today, like the healed Samaritan leper—who, with a heart of joy and irrepressible gratitude, returned to give you thanks (Luke 17:11-17). I return today, Jesus, and I want to return every day, to express my love and gratitude, for everything you have done for me.

From the first nanosecond I was given faith to receive you as Savior and Lord, I was fully and firmly rooted in your righteousness and love. Now, completely forgiven, I have no other righteousness than yours. Just as I cannot add one iota to your righteousness, I can never, ever be separated from your love—the only love that is better than life.

You have already set me free from the penalty of sin; you are continually setting me free from the power of sin; and one day you will set me free from the very presence of sin.

Jesus, as this Scripture implores…

I want to live …

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A Prayer for Monday of “Thanksgiving Week”

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Ps 106:1

     Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Phil. 4:6

     And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Eph. 5:20

     Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:18

     Dear heavenly Father, it’s Monday of “Thanksgiving Week”—typically a week for gathering with friends and family; consuming copious amounts of favorite foods; the annual ramping up of “Christmas music”; decorating our homes with seasonal markers; and hitting the malls, or internet, to engage in the Olympics of bargains and retail deals. God have mercy on us all!

But before the intensified busyness and predictable chaos take over, we want to set our hearts for a week of gratitude. Indeed, as all these Scriptures affirm, thanksgiving is to be a way of life for us, as followers of Jesus.

Father, first and foremost, we praise you for the lavish, steadfast, and enduring love you have given us in Jesus. The riches of the gospel, and our standing in grace, are more than enough for us to live this week “palms up,”—overflowing with gratitude, compelled to worship you.

But also, Father, we want to give you praise “in all circumstances” and “for everything.” For some of us, this will be a week of anxiety-producing storylines. It’s …

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A Prayer of Thanks for “Gospelicious” Friends

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:3-6

Dear heavenly Father, this Scripture fuels my gratitude this morning—especially for the women and men you’ve used over the years to bring me into a greater understanding and experience of the gospel. For more gospel means more freedom and joy, sanity and peace.

Thank you for friends who help me understand the lyric of the gospel—its rich theology. As a young convert my simplistic mantra was, “Don’t give me theology; just give me Jesus”—sincere sentiment, shoddy sensibility. Thank you for patient teachers who have opened the Scriptures and have shown me the real Jesus—the Messiah who lived and died in my place; the second Adam, not my second chance—my perfect righteousness, not merely my moral model.

Thank you for friends who help me experience the music of the gospel—its life-giving liberty, its healing melody, and its soul-engaging joy. Now I know you to be the God who greatly delights in your people, who quiets us with his love, and who rejoices over us with singing; the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. Theology has become doxology in my soul.

Thank you for friends who teach me the dance of the gospel—its …

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A Prayer of Thankfulness for God’s Faithfulness

     Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5

Dear heavenly Father, this is one of those days in which there’s nothing really grumble-worthy going on in my life. Though I’m sure I could muster up plenty of things to complain about, those things would quickly lose their size and impact, when held up along side of the riches of the gospel. My heart is filled with thanksgiving and praise-offering today, and I want to take time to tell you why, as I pray though King David’s grace-list.

Father, thank you for forgiving all of my sins, through the work of Jesus. May I never take that miracle of grace and generosity for granted. And may this rich standing in grace compel me to greater forbearance, patience and forgiveness towards others.

Father, thank you for healing all my diseases, brokenness, weaknesses. Though the fullness of my healing will require the 2nd coming of Jesus, nonetheless, you are presently healing me spiritually and emotionally, mentally and physically. One Day I, along with all your children, will be completely whole and free. I’ve never longed for that Day more!

Father, thank you for not only pulling me up out of all kinds of “pits”—those of my own choosing and other’s doing, but also for crowning me with your love and compassion. I’m no …

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A Prayer of Peace and Gratitude

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Col. 3:15

     Dear Lord Jesus, it’s not a formula, but I can surely see how the depth of my gratitude is largely determined by the extent to which your peace is ruling in my heart. So as this day begins, and continues, I surrender to the dominion of your peace—the governance of your grace, the might of your mercy, the sanity-making freedom of your all-encompassing sovereignty.

The increase of your government and peace will know no end, in the entire cosmos, and in my little heart as well. Hallelujah, many, many times over. I am my least grateful when I lose sight of who you are, and who I am, in your heart and kingdom. It’s patently true: When I forget the gospel is when I get my grumpiest, most distractible and anxious.

Indeed, Jesus, I am my freest, most joyful and most peaceful, when I remember that you are the Lord, and I am not—though I foolishly grasp for autonomy and authorship of my story, at times. You never sleep nor slumber, and your timing is always perfect—even though I whine and vex, before coming to realize that good news, yet again.

You never get anxious or second-guess anything; you never react to anything, because you’re never surprised by anything. You do all things well, even (maybe, especially) when you don’t do things the way I want you to. Birds eat, flowers get dressed, and stars …

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