Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. Ps. 85:6-7
Dear Lord Jesus, it’s amazing what one really good rain can do to transform my dry, browning yard into a garden of fresh, green life. I begin this day grateful for the showers of the last couple of days. I can run my sprinkler endlessly, but there’s just something about the water that falls from the sky that brings refreshment and renewal like nothing else.
Jesus, our hearts are no different. When we get dry on the inside—when our rejoicing in you is displaced with complaining about you (and others and anything); when our delighting in you fades into detachment from you (and from others, and eventually from our own heart); when our love for you wilts into fading memories of you (and then into all kinds of distorted thoughts about you)—we are powerless to change, and are shut up to your provision. There’s no hose, fire hydrant, or reservoir of our own making that can even begin to make a dry heart “green”.
So we cry out with the Sons of Korah, “show us your unfailing love, O Lord, grant us your salvation.” Jesus, just as it was your unfailing love that first brought life to our deadness; likewise, your unfailing love will bring refreshment to our dryness. You have promised to “satisfy our needs in …
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. Acts 3:19-21
Dear heavenly Father, whether in our own lives, or in the lives of those we love, few things are as beautiful as Spirit wrought conviction, generating grace-laced-humility, leading to times of gospel-saturated refreshing. That’s always a win-win for everyone—for our families, the church, the community, our culture, and us.
Surely, this is what Luther had in mine when he stated that “repentance is a way of life”, for those who understand the gospel. Yet how easily we forget, you are a God who gives grace to the humble; yet, you know the proud “from afar”. We’re never freer than when we see our own sin more clearly than anyone else’s; and when we see the finished work of Jesus as our most present need, and glorious provision.
Father, as this beautiful Saturday begins, I’m thankful you’ve already sent Jesus for me, and that you’re going to send him again, to finish the “job”. I’m grateful all of my sins have already been “wiped out,” and that you’ve clothed me with the perfect righteousness of Jesus. Now, gentle and sweeten my heart, I ask. I sincerely want to be …
The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley. . . I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’” Ezek. 37:1-6
Heavenly Father, I would do well to meditate on this portion of Scripture very often; for it “calls out” my unbelief, confronts my complacency, and deconstructs every excuse I offer for giving up on difficult situations and people.
Thankfully, it’s not Ezekiel who asks about the possibility of renewal, redemption, and restoration; it’s you, Father. It’s you! “Can these bones live?” you ask. The question is rhetorical, for you are the God of resurrection and life.
Father, for your glory alone, I ask you to breathe on hearts, marriages, and churches desperate for fresh grace and new life. Bring a …
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 2 Cor. 1:8-9
Dear heavenly Father, I’m so glad my fellowship with you this morning is filled with a renewed heart, fresh encouragement, and grounded hope; for I’ve just seen what you can do with weary hearts, stuck marriages, and disconnected friends. I’m profoundly grateful (and certain) that your name is Redeemer.
As Paul wrote, you are “the God who raised the dead.” Not only have you raised the Lord Jesus on our behalf, but you also bring his resurrection power to bear, in the dead places of our hearts and relationships. And one Day, you will complete the grand story of resurrection by raising our bodies from the dead, and ushering in the new heaven and new earth. We praise you for a sure and living hope, than meets us in our hopeless and death-plagued places.
So Father, I boldly pray today for other friends, acquaintances, and strangers. I pray for those who are feeling under “great pressure, far beyond their ability to endure”; including those who may even be “despairing of life,” in their relationships—in marriage and parenting, extended family and friendships.
Grant, one and all, the freedom to cease …
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.“ Jonah 4:1-3
Dear Lord Jesus, Jonah’s story stirs our hearts to pray for tired and depleted friends serving in various forms gospel ministry. To the occupied throne of grace, we bring missionaries and pastors, elders and deacons, teachers and counselors—a wide range of friends you’ve called to minister the gospel of your grace.
Some of them simply need good rest, a break and better boundaries. Many of them are on the verge of living Jonah’s story: In their heads they still know you to be a God who is “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” But in their hearts they are displeased and angry, disconnected and disillusioned; and a few, like Jonah, aren’t sure they want many more days in this world. Have mercy, on them, Lord; have great mercy today.
Jesus, you know all the issues. You know what’s under the anger; what’s compounding the contempt; and what’s fueling the flight. Meet these dear servants of yours right where they …
I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me. Song of Sol. 7:10
Dear Lord Jesus, it’s Valentine’s Day—the day in our culture in which red hearts, overpriced cards, dark chocolates, and cut flowers abound. For some, it’s a day of incredible kindness, sweetness, and gratitude. For others, it’s a day in which brokenness, loneliness, and emptiness are magnified. For all of us, it should be a day in which our deepest longings for intimacy and connection find their way home to you—the quintessential lover.
We each have our own stories of love gained and lost, of love being alive, and love being tested, strained and fractured. I’ve experienced seasons of incredible joy, connection and intimacy in my marriage—moments when I wondered how heaven itself could be any richer, grander or fuller.
But (thankfully, as has my spouse) I’ve also discovered time and again, that no one human being (or any number of them), no human romance story, no torrid love affair can possibly fill the vacuum in my soul that’s uniquely Jesus shaped. Even the best marriage is made of two broken people, two redeemed sinners who will ultimately not be enough for the other.
Lord Jesus, “grace” me with a deeper, richer current experience of belonging to you. You are the ultimate Spouse—the One we’ve always longed for. I believe this theologically, and I want to “know” it more experientially.
My heart is fickle and fragile—still capable of being sucker-punched by sin within, and susceptible to whisperings without. Most of the time I …
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. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isa. 40:28-31
Dear heavenly Father, this was one of the first Scriptures I memorized as a young believer, yet reading it today is like finding a new treasure in an old field; an artesian spring in an arid desert; the beam of a welcoming lighthouse after a compass-less stormy night at sea.
That’s one of the things I most love about your Word. It’s never antiquated or redundant, but always new and ever trustworthy. You’re the God who speaks without stuttering. You’re the Father who knows our need before we ask, and provides more grace before we seek.
This passage from Isaiah is underlined multiple times in my favorite Bible, and for good reason. It reminds me that you’re, very much, not like me, in so many ways. You never get tired or weary; I do and I am. Accepting limitations, finiteness, and weakness has never been one of my strengths. But I must. Since youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, why do …
Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
life forevermore. Ps. 133
Dear Lord Jesus, it was wonderful to fall asleep last night having witnessed a small but real outpouring of “the oil and dew of unity” among weary friends. “Good and pleasant” seems to be an egregious understatement—a woefully inadequate description of what happens when you show up and begin to thaw the tensions, deconstruct the divisions, and enable your people to move forward together in unity.
It’s obvious that where there’s unity, you bestow your presence and blessing. It’s equally obvious that where there’s disunity, Satan bestows his darkness and evil.
Boldly and shamelessly, I ask you for an even greater outpouring of your Spirit, leading to “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3). Drench us with the humbling and unifying dew of the gospel. We want to be sopping wet, not merely damp. Saturate and satiate us with the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
We don’t look to Aaron and his beard but to you, Lord Jesus, and your enthronement at the right hand of the Father. You are our great High Priest—the only one who has received the Spirit without measure, so you can deploy him without reservation.
As I continue to pray for …
The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley. . . . I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the SovereignLord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’“ Ezek. 37:1-6
Dear heavenly Father, I would do well to meditate on this portion of your Word once a month—no, make that at least once a week. For it “calls out” my unbelief, it confronts my complacency, it deconstructs every excuse I offer for giving up on difficult situations and people.
So many of our churches, marriages, and hearts have become piles of dry, breathless bones. Vibrant green has become ashen grey. The music hasn’t faded; it’s gone. Selflessness has been supplanted with spite; desire got overgrown with weeds of disconnect, distrust, despair, and now, despising.
But it’s not Ezekiel who asks about the possibility of renewal, redemption, and restoration; it’s you, Father. It’s you! “Can these bones live?” you ask. The …
”So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks fora fish, will give him a snake instead?Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13) Be filled with the Spirit. (Eph. 5:18)
Dear heavenly Father, I know that I’ve been born of the Spirit, sealed by the Spirit and am indwelt by the Holy Spirit. That why asking you for a fresh work of the Spirit in my life is an easy thing to do. You are quintessential generosity—the most bighearted and openhanded Father imaginable. You won’t give us snakes and scorpions, when we ask; but grace and more grace, and still more grace! Hallelujah, many times over!
So Father, not doubting your promise one bit; and, without shame or hesitation, acknowledging my need, I ask for a fresh stirring and filling of your Holy Spirit. Several things motivate me to ask for a new work of the Spirit in my life.
I know that, apart from your Spirit, …