May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (2 Thess. 2:16-17)

     Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Pet. 5:7)

Dear heavenly Father, what a joy it is to begin this day knowing you to be a God who loves to encourage and strengthen your children. This small portion of your Word comes like a big kiss from heaven today, and I will take all the encouragement you want to give me. Thank you for being a God who attends to our hearts and anticipates our needs—a God who doesn’t despise our weakness or our weariness.

Father, because of your great love for us, and the “eternal encouragement and good hope” you lavish on us in the gospel, I can risk being vulnerable with you today, without muting my feelings or editing my thoughts. As this day begins, I’m not well rested, centered or focused. I feel tired, a little on edge, and a bit uptight.

I don’t know if I’ve tried to get too much done in too little time, or if it’s just the accuser whispering lies and condemnation in my ear. Perhaps it’s just that I’m getting older and I don’t have the same energy I used to have. It could just be the tension of life in the “already and not yet,” or maybe I’m trying to do life with too little sleep. Then again, maybe it’s the groaning of birth pangs in my heart—a deep longing to be more like Jesus than I already am, and a readiness for the glories of life in the new heaven and new earth. Probably, it’s some of all of the above.

In any case, and every case, I look to you to encourage my heart and strengthen me for “every good deed and word,” throughout this day. Right now, I choose to get my eyes off of me, and fix them on Jesus—the author and perfecter of my faith; the Alpha and the Omega of your story; the giver of living water and gospel bread from heaven; my righteousness before you and hope in front of me. Father, I cast my care on you because I know you care for me. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ near and strong name.