A Prayer for Showing Jesus When Feeling Stressed

     But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 2 Cor. 4:7-10

Dear Jesus, to compare my season of stress with the apostle Paul’s would be like comparing my guitar playing with Phil Keaggy’s, or my photography with Ansel Adams’s, or my cooking with Bobby Flay’s, or exercise regimen with the Rock’s. There’s simply no comparison. When I consider everything Paul experienced as your servant, honestly, I have nothing to bemoan, groan, carp or harp about.

Nonetheless, Paul’s honesty is a great gift to me this morning. His freedom to acknowledge both his anguish and his joy in the same paragraph gives me tremendous encouragement and focus. Posing and pretending were crucified at Calvary. Despair and hopelessness were sabotaged by your resurrection. Merely sucking-it-up and perpetually pulling up bootstraps are expelled by the gospel.

Jesus, help me to be far more preoccupied with the treasure within than with the pressures without. If your all-surpassing power will be shown most dramatically through my weakness, I submit to your will. If your incomparable beauty will be most clearly revealed through my hardships, I surrender to your ways. If your redeeming purposes will …

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A Prayer for Revealing Jesus through Our Brokenness

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 2 Cor. 4:7–10

Dear Jesus, to compare my season of stress with the apostle Paul’s would be like comparing my guitar playing with Eric Clapton’s, my dancing with the cast of River Dance, or my cooking skill with Mario Batali. There’s simply no comparison. When I consider everything your servant Paul experienced, I have nothing to bemoan or groan about—the whine meter doesn’t register very much.

Nonetheless, Paul’s honesty and vulnerability are great gifts to me this morning. His freedom to acknowledge both his anguish and his joy in the same paragraph gives me tremendous encouragement and focus. Posing and pretending were crucified at Calvary. Despair and hopelessness were sabotaged by your resurrection. Fear and uncertainty are domesticated by your ascension and present reign.

Jesus, in the midst of everything I’d love to fix, change or eliminate, help me to be far more preoccupied with the treasure within than with the pressures without. If your all-surpassing power will be shown most dramatically through my weakness, I surrender to your will. If your incomparable beauty will be most clearly revealed through my hardships, I surrender …

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A Prayer About Revealing Jesus When It’s Hard

     We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Cor. 4:7-10

     Dear Jesus, to compare my season of duress with the Apostle Paul’s would be like comparing my guitar playing with Phil Keaggy’s… or my photography with Ansel Adams’… or my cooking with Bobby Flay’s. There is simply NO comparison. When I consider everything he experienced as your servant, honestly, I have nothing all that whine-worthy to bemoan or groan about.

     Nonetheless, Paul’s honesty is a great gift to me this morning—his freedom to acknowledge both his anguish and his joy in the same paragraph gives me tremendous encouragement and focus. Posing and pretending were crucified at Calvary. Despair and hopelessness were sabotaged by your resurrection.

     Jesus, help me to be far more preoccupied with the treasure within than with the pressures without. If your all-surpassing power will be shown most dramatically through my weakness, I surrender to your will. If your incomparable beauty will be most clearly revealed through my hardships, I surrender to your ways. If your redeeming purposes will be most fully realized through my brokenness, I surrender to YOU.

     Jesus, with palms up, I …

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A Prayer About the Conversion of Friends & Family

     On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. Acts 16:13-14

     Dear heavenly Father, I’m particularly stirred today to pray for the conversion of family members, friends and neighbors. O how I long to see many come to a saving knowledge of Jesus… to be robed in his righteousness, at rest in his love, and redeemed for your glory.

     My confidence is in knowing that salvation belongs to you—it’s fully yours to provide and it’s freely yours to give. My joy is in knowing you to be an outrageously generous God—one who has covenanted to redeem an enormous family… so big no one can count your children… from every nation, tribe, people and language. My hope is strong, for you are the great Heart-Opener. As you opened Lydia’s heart to believe the gospel, so you can open ANY heart to believe the gospel.

     As you’ve appointed the end of all things, so you’ve appointed the means to your ends. It’s a humbling mystery, indeed, Father, but you delight to use our prayers to accomplish your purposes… to reveal your glory… to unveil your story of redemption and restoration …

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