Love is patient 1 Cor. 13:4 (ESV)
Dear heavenly Father, I’m not sure who first warned about asking you for patience, out of fear you will create difficult circumstances that require patience. That’s nonsense; but worse of all, it’s an utter misrepresentation of your Fatherly heart and grace-full ways. I ask for patience because I already have plenty of contexts, situations, and relationships that showcase my patent need of this fruit of your Spirit.
First of all Father, forgive me for my impatience and for loving poorly. Love is patient, and a lack of patience is a lack of love. Secondly, thank you for your consummate patience with me. You’re never hurried, annoyed, or irritated with me. Thank you!
Where is my impatience most likely to rear its ugly head? When people don’t talk fast enough, I walk to help them finish their sentences. When traffic doesn’t move along quick enough, I make my poorest choices as a driver. When my emails, calls, and texts aren’t returned as soon as I’d like, I get annoyed (as though no one has anything else to do in their day but respond to my communications).
I get impatient when worship leaders talk too much between songs, and preachers talk too little from the text of your Word (as though you made me the judge and jury of anybody’s service of worship). I get impatient with indecisiveness that inconveniences me (as though I deserve a hitch-less, delay-less, non-waiting existence). I get impatient when checking out of any store, …
Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure; they will have no fear. Psalm 112:6-8 (NIV)
Dear heavenly Father, I am SO drawn to the heart reflected in this Scripture—a steadfast heart beating in a circumstance-tested body; a fearless calm when surrounded by difficult people and threatening events; a Good News heart in a bad news world.
By the truth and power of the gospel, make that my heart, Father. Free me to trust more and fret less. You’ve made me righteous in Christ; now make me less shakable when shaky things are going on. I’m not wanting to become more oblivious or impervious; but less knee-jerk reactionary, and more accepting that you’ve “got this one,” and all things, well in hand.
Help me to accept bad news (or shocking or disappointing news, or anger-fueling or joy-depleting news), not with a shrug of my shoulders, but with a bend in my knees—not with passive resignation, but with active surrender to the God who does all things well. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ wonderful and merciful name.
Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord; it is fitting for the pure to praise him.
Dear heavenly Father, though I don’t have an awesome singing voice, I do trust an awesome gospel. I am godly only because you have hidden my life in Christ, and I am pure only because you have robed me in the righteousness of Jesus. Hallelujah, many times over! At least my heart can sing with gratitude and robust joy.
2 Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre; make music for him on the ten-stringed harp. 3 Sing a new song of praise to him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy.
Father, you are the quintessential artist, and you have given us the gift of music and gifted musicians to express our love to you, and deepen our enjoyment of you. For the arts and the artists in our communities, we praise, bless, and adore you.
4 For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does.
But what really fuels my worship this today, is this reminder of the truth of your Word and the trustworthiness of your heart. Though we don’t understand everything you do, we can trust you with all things. Though we often wish you’d adjust your timeline to fit our druthers, we can trust you are doing all things well. Though we’ll only understand some things in heaven, we can totally trust you now. Though we’ve experienced the pain of broken trust, you …
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves. Psalm 68:19-20 (NIV)
Dear heavenly Father, what a promise you’ve made, what a hope we have, and what a God you are. Thank you being the kind of Father who bears our burdens—as opposed to ignoring, minimizing, or resenting them. And to know that you bear our burdens on a daily basis frees us to be honest with you about the things that tend to wear us down and wear us out. Indeed, you are the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-5).
You are the God who saves us—not just from eternal separation from yourself, but also in the present realities of life. Father, some of us are overwhelmed with marriage, parenting, and family burdens. Helplessness isn’t bad, if it will drive us to you. Help us to want you and your glory, more than we want relief and a different story. Protect us from all counsel that might medicate our pain, but not identify the real issues.
Father, some of us are fearful, fretful—even rage-full over the political landscape of our country, the legislative shifts in our culture, and the nuclear madness of our world. Lift these burdens from our hearts, as you remind us that the throne of heaven is presently occupied (Rev. 4); that Jesus is currently the ruler of the kings of the earth …
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 …
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Rev. 22:13 (NIV)
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. Ps. 94:19 (ESV)
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isa. 26:3 (NLT)
Dear heavenly Father, it’s time for me to shift my focus from the immediacy of a big disappointment to the permanency of who you are. It’s one thing to be lovingly concerned about a matter, and another to angrily obsess about it; one thing to pray without ceasing and another to vex without sleeping; one thing to engage sacrificially and another to be enmeshed unhealthily.
So with palms up, I release my burden to you, Lord. I’m not going to shift into a snarly, “I could care less” attitude; but I will care less, and trust you more. You are God, and I am very much not so. You’ve begun a good work in each of your children, and in every sphere of your creation, and you’re neither AWOL, disinterested, bored, or negligent. You’re going to complete your story to your glory, in your time, on your dime, and in your way. Hallelujah!
You are the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, and everything in between. Hallelujah, many times over! You are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—perfect Trinity, and not looking …
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, …
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?’” Matt. 6:25-27 (NIV)
Dear Lord Jesus, whenever we’re tempted to wonder about our value to the Father, all we have to do is consider the astonishing sacrifice you made for us. By your life, death, and resurrection, we are clothed with the very righteousness of God, and have been given a steady free diet of bread from heaven and living water. We praise, bless, and adore you. The birds of the air have nothing on us!
Nevertheless, our weakness persists, our anxieties flare up, and our worries often get the best of us. So we run to you, confident of your welcome, compassion, and grace. Please help us with the things we’d love to control, but can’t. It’s not so much that we’re anxious to add a single hour to our lives; it’s more that we don’t want our loved ones to suffer unnecessarily.
Jesus, please reveal more of your beauty and love to our children. If we …
Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Ex. 14:12-14 (NIV)
Dear heavenly Father, fear and worry can really do a number on us. I totally get how your children could prefer returning to a life of slavery in Egypt over trusting you in the wilderness of the unknown. I’ve often felt a similar temptation to choose a known brokenness over the promise of unseen beauty. Help my unbelief as I face different battles and skirmishes in life. Help me to be still and trust that you will fight for me.
Father, I’m not facing the threat of Egyptian soldiers (thankfully). Often my biggest battles are within my own heart. You tell me of your great love for me in Jesus—which I really believe is true, yet too often I look to people to validate me, as though your delight in me is not enough. Continue to free me from my love of the approval of man.
Many times I battle with trusting you with the hearts of others—people I love. I resort to ineffective ways of manipulating, spiritualizing, or trying to “fix” people. …
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 …