Category Archives: Prayer
But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:1-3
Dear heavenly Father, I’m praying today for friends who, like Jonah, “theologically,” know you to be a “gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love,” but who, emotionally, feel very disconnected from this good news right now. I know what that feels like, for I’ve been there as well.
For some, their marriage is their “Nineveh”—a place of threat and pain, emptiness and hopelessness—one that makes the expensive cost of a ticket to Tarshish seem worth it. For others it’s the combination of loses and reversals, dashed hopes and unfilled dreams. For others, “Nineveh” is the “too-much” thought of having to stay in the same body, story and city—all which conspire to echo the haunting question, “Where is your God?”
Lord, their resources are low and their resolve is nearly “shot”, so my cry for my friends is simple, have mercy on these I love. You’ve promised never to leave us or forsake us, even when we buy our tickets …
Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. Luke 12:35-37
Dear Lord Jesus, through the years I’ve suffered through some horrible teaching about your 2nd coming, most of which generated fear, not faith; Biblical text-twisting and political sensationalism. That’s hardly what you had in mind, when you charged us to watch and wait for your return. But this morning, as I meditate on this passage, (thankfully) much of that bad theology has been rewritten.
Jesus, I’ve never been less anxious and more ready for your return, but only because of a growing understanding of the gospel. I’m already wearing the right clothes—the wedding garment of your perfect righteousness. I’m no longer afraid of your return. I very much want you to come back—Oh, loving Bridegroom. The oil in my lamp will never run dry, for you’ve sealed me as your own and have sent the Spirit to dwell in my heart forever.
Because the gospel is true, I’m ready for service in two ways. First of all, I’m ready for you to serve me. According to …
Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty. Isa. 33:17
Dear Lord Jesus, Isaiah’s promise summarizes the deepest longing in our hearts. Though we sabotage, repackage, and squander this longing in a myriad of ways, it is you that we want more than anything or anyone else. By the power of the Spirit, the daily mercies of heaven, and the unsearchable riches of your grace—free us to come more fully alive to this irrepressible truth. We want you!
We want to see you, Jesus—you who made us in your glorious image, have redeemed us for your eternal glory, and are returning for your consummate pleasure—the fulfillment of your great delight in us. Oh, hasten that Day of seeing you, that we may be made like you (1 John 3:1-3); of being with you, that our deepest craving for intimacy may be fulfilled; of no longer knowing you in part, but in the fullness of reserved for the Day of your return.
We want to see you, Jesus, in your unfiltered, undiminished, unabated beauty. Everything we call beautiful is a mere hint, a quiet whisper, and a vague shadow of the quintessential beauty, which is only found in you. We love beauty, because we were made by your and for you. Oh, hasten that marvelous Day—that Day in which we begin our eternal marveling, for surely it will take all of eternity just to begin fathoming the spectacle of your beauty and tasting the …
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Rom. 16:20
Dear heavenly Father, this great promise holds much hope and timely encouragement for all of us. Things are not as they appear. Jesus’ crushing defeat of Satan on the cross (Gen. 3:15) is currently being applied to all darkness and evil, threatening our peace and joy. Evil hates Beauty, but Beauty will prevail. We will live to see the Day of Jesus’ triumph over evil played out under our very feet.
Though at times it feels like we are being walked on by a gloating devil, it is he who is actually getting ready to know our dancing feet on his head. Our labors in the Lord are not, and will never be, in vain (1 Cor. 15:58). And according to your Word, this will happen “soon.” Lord, our weary, yet joyful, cry is, “Make soon, very soon.”
Lord Jesus, the reason you came into this world was to destroy him who holds the power of death (that is, the devil) and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death (Heb. 2:14-15). Indeed, you have come to destroy the devil and all his works (I John 3:8). Our foe is defeated and waiting to be utterly eradicated. His present flurry of fury is actually a sign he knows his time is short (Rev. 12:12). …
Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:43-44
Dear Lord Jesus, as surely as you called out to a dead Lazarus, and he walked out of his tomb fully alive, so when you called out to me in the gospel, I too was raised from the dead, and made fully alive in you. By your grace, I’ve already passed from death to life, and from being condemned to being declared righteous. For the sovereign grace and the resurrection power of the gospel, I praise you today. Indeed, salvation is of the Lord!
Yet as surely as Lazarus needed to be freed from his grave clothes, so do I, Lord Jesus. The smell and signs of death still cling to me. There are many areas of my life for which I long for greater freedom.
Jesus, I want greater freedom from being impacted by people’s opinions of me. I want to respond to trying situations and difficult people with grace and wisdom, rather than reacting with complaining and irritation. I want to see and value in others, what you treasure. I want to be quicker to pray and slower to fret.
I want my indifference to be replaced with good listening. I want passivity to be replaced with …
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?” Ps. 42:1-3
Gracious Father, your Word gives voice to every season, circumstance, and emotion we experience in the journey to gospel wholeness. In our joy and in our despair, and in everything in between, you are with us and you are for us.
You don’t love us more when we have a dancing heart. You don’t love us less when we have a doubting heart. Indeed, with kindness you drew us, and with an everlasting, unwavering love, you hold us.
Today we bring our discouraged, weary friends to you—those more aware of their burdens than your grace. Hard providences and difficult people, aching bodies and blows to the heart take their toll. Friends who bury a spouse way too early and children who seem allergic to the gospel; health concerns and relationship stress; mounting bills and decreasing resources all conspire to turn up the volume on the world’s question, “Where is your God in all this?”
Lord Jesus, you know what this is like, you better than anyone else. For in your life, and on the cross, you took the ultimate combination of assaults and insults, disparagements and discouragements, …
Those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. “I, even I, am he who comforts you.” Isa. 51:11-12
Dear heavenly Father, I bless and adore you for the hope these promises bring today. As this day begins, I choose to remember I’ve already been ransomed and rescued, by Jesus for you. I was bought out of sin, condemnation, and death; and brought into your secure welcome eternal embrace. Thankfully, I’m no longer my own. I’m yours, and you love me because you love me, period.
All captivities—the ones I’ve generated and those brought upon me by others—all of them, are broken in Jesus. No imprisonment, no bondage, no stronghold will keep me from arriving safely home in the New Jerusalem.
Indeed, Lord Jesus, you are our promised Jubilee—our eternal year of the Lord’s favor. Though we’ll only fully enjoy this freedom when you return, it’s no less ours right now. The saints in heaven are happier than us, but they’re not more loved or more secure; they’re more aware of your beauty and sovereignty, but they’re not greater beneficiaries than we are.
My imagination goes into overload mode, when I try to picture what it’s going to be like when we, your Bride, are “crowned with everlasting joy.” I know what it feels like to be overtaken by guilt …
Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isa. 40:27-29
Dear heavenly Father, whenever I started to whine as a child, my parents had a way of letting me know our home was a low-tolerance zone for whiners. I “got it” once I became a parent, and then a pastor. Nobody likes to be on the other end of a whine.
Today I find great delight in knowing that, as your children, when you have to discipline us, it’s always in love. You never roll your eyes at us in disgust. You never get exasperated or irritated with us. Though you convict us, you never shame us. The only look you give us declares your welcoming heart. Though you find no pleasure in our whining, you greatly delight in us; for you have hidden our lives in Jesus—in whom you find ultimate joy and pleasure.
Though it presently feels as though heaven isn’t paying attention to some very important things in my heart and story, I hear you say to us in your Word and gospel, “My name is …
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Cor. 10:13
Dear Lord Jesus, this verse has been underlined in my Bible, pasted on my refrigerator, and calligraphied by a dear friend. But today I need to believe this promise and see your faithfulness at work. I’m desperate for the strength you alone can give, Jesus. There are powerful temptations nibbling away at my heart. You’ve promised that I will never be in any circumstance that will not also find you providing a way forward. Show me the way, Lord.
To start with, I’m weary of certain people having more functional power over my heart than you, Lord Jesus. That’s my issue, not theirs. Their affirmation can “make me,” and their disapproval, critical words, and coolness can wreck a perfectly good day or week. Help me break that relational pattern. I cannot love anyone to whom I’ve given such idolatrous influence.
Next, I have friends who are choosing to live destructively. Marriages, health, and your glory are on the line. I need grace for getting involved where, quite frankly, I’d rather not. It would be much easier just to “pray from afar” than to run after prodigals. You pursued me, and you pursue me still. Be …