A Prayer for Celebrating, “God Is God, and I Am Not”

     Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Isa. 46:8-10

     Dear heavenly Father, this Scripture is so relevant to me. I not only rebel against your commandments, I also rebel against your gospel. That’s why I need a Savior as big as Jesus. My great hope is in knowing that you will complete the good work of salvation you began in me, and in your entire cosmos. You do all that you please, and it pleases you to justify and transform rebels like me. Hallelujah many times over!

     I also find great hope today in knowing that your purposes for everything else will stand. You are God and you do as you please. No one can ultimately resist your will, and we’re foolish to try. Thankfully, you’re not manageable, predictable, nor programmable. I’ve lived long enough to bless you for answering some of my prayers with a big “No”. You’re not just sovereign; you’re our sovereign Father.

     As I stare some important decisions in the face, I’m so thankful that I can trust you fully. I don’t have to panic. I don’t have to worry. …

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A Prayer for God to Be at Work in Things I CAN Imagine

     Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  Eph. 3:20-21

     Dear heavenly Father, I love Paul’s beautiful and bold affirmation of your omnipotence. Indeed, you can do exceedingly beyond and immeasurable more than all we can ask or imagine. But today, I have no need to test either the limits of my imagination, nor the measure of your ability. There are plenty of things I CAN imagine that I’m bringing to the throne of grace. Bring glory to yourself as you work in these stories and hearts.

     Father, continue to reveal more and more of Jesus to each member of my family, and extended family. I can imagine that, and greatly long for it. May none of us be satisfied with our current experience of the gospel; and for who have yet to experience the only Love that is better than life, grant the gift of new life in Christ. Open the eyes of our hearts to see just how worthy Jesus is of our affection, adoration and allegiance.

     Father, I can imagine a mighty movement of your Spirit among many broken relationships in my larger community. Having lived in the Nashville area for 35 years now, I’ve seen too many church split, marriages disintegrate, and good friends get disconnected—even becoming …

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A Prayer for Singing When Life Is Messy

     With harps of God in their hands . . . they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” Rev. 15:2-4

     Dear heavenly Father, I find that the songs of heaven have an amazing power to center my heart when life seems a bit out of control, and events in the world unnerve me. What did followers of Jesus need in the crazy-making chaos of first-century Rome? The same thing we followers of Jesus need in the off-putting madness of our 21st century world. We need to sing your story. We need to sing our theology. We need to sing the gospel!

     Hand me a harp today, Father. I’ll gladly join the heavenly chorus singing the song of Moses—a song of Exodus grace—deliverance from the bondage of Egypt into a land of freedom. But I’ll sing the song of the Lamb even louder. For Jesus has delivered us from sin and death, into the glorious freedom of the children of God; and Jesus will yet deliver us into the ultimate land of freedom—the new heaven and new earth. Oh, the peace and joy…

     Father, I choose …

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A Prayer When Facing Uncertain Outcomes

     Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Hab. 3:17-18

     Dear heavenly Father, I approach the throne of grace today on behalf of those of us who are living in difficult stories, like Habakkuk, with unsettling circumstances and uncertain outcomes. I’m so thankful you always welcome us in our brokenness, never despise us in our anxiousness, and thoroughly understand our weariness. You, alone, are grace-full—bidding us cast our cares on you, even as you are prepared to catch everyone of them.

I pray for those of us facing difficult health issues—in our own bodies and minds, or in the lives of those we deeply love. Father, the promise and hope of our resurrection bodies never looked so good (2 Cor. 5:1-5).

We know that Jesus’ finished work has secured our ultimate healing (Isa. 53:5); but as our “outer man” further deteriorates, we trust you for wisdom, grace and the supernatural work of your Holy Spirit. It’s not a matter of “claiming healing,” but loving and trusting the Healer. Bring great glory to yourself, and peace to our hearts, no matter what you write in the next chapter of our stories.

I pray for those of us living in difficult relationships—marriage and family, church and vocation, neighborhood …

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A Prayer Upon Receiving Troubling News

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me (John 14:1). In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Dear Lord Jesus, last evening’s troubling stories shape today’s morning prayer. I went to bed last night, wearied with woes of friends. I arise today hungry with hope in you, our great and gracious Savior.

Thank you for being honest with us about life this side of the new heaven and new earth. You’re not an on-demand panacea, promising the elimination hardships and heartaches. You’re not a miracle-computer, passively waiting to be programmed, as we exercise the right formula.

You’re so much more; so much better. You’re a very present help, pledging your presence in every circumstance and trial—committed to working in all things, for our good and your glory. Troubling news doesn’t have to cripple our hearts. Indeed, may it carry our hearts to you today, for you are ever so trustworthy, Lord Jesus.

For our friends stunned with breath-taking health news, we declare our trust in you, Jesus. How we long for the day when words like cancer, dementia and heart disease will no longer appear in our vocabulary. Until that Day, we unabashedly and earnestly pray for healing, and we trust you for all-surpassing peace and more-than-sufficient grace.

For friends saddened with heart-ripping issues with their children, we declare our trust in you, Jesus. Few reports carry more power to dishearten us than those related to our children.

Whether …

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A Prayer for More Resting and Less Fretting

     Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the landPs. 37:7-9

Dear heavenly Father, you send your Word with Swiss timing and uncanny precision. Whenever I’m vexed or fretful, you bring your daily mercies to bear. Whenever I’m confused or anxious, you meet me right there—with grace, not shame. Whenever I feel vulnerable or angry, you center my heart, by the Scriptures and your Spirit. Thank you for such faithful and Fatherly care.

Like a little school of piranha, there are a few things nibbling away at my peace that I want to bring before you. The success of those who’ve hurt people I love isn’t easy to swallow. The ongoing globalization of terror is heart-wrenching and crazy-making. The state of health care and the political gamesmanship of power in our country… How long, O Lord, before you send Jesus back to put all things right?

Your voice in this Scripture is just what I need today. You won’t give me a date, but as always, you do give me yourself. I hear you loud and clear, Father. You’re speaking stillness and fretless waiting to my heart. No good comes from my obsessing about evil and evil making. Nothing profitable results from …

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A Prayer for Trusting God with the Impossible

     ”How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:34-38

Dear heavenly Father, Mary had a calling no one else will ever share—to be the mother of God the Son—to nurse the One who created and sustains all things.

And yet all of us have much in common with her. When we consider the cosmos-renewing, history-defining, heart-transforming promises you’ve made in Christ, we too say and pray with incredulity, “How will this be?” And we hear you answer back in the gospel, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

Father, you’ve made promises you alone can keep, and you will. This includes making all things new through Jesus, and redeeming his pan-national Bride. But it also includes your plans for our lives. Just as surely as you placed the life of Jesus in Mary, you have done the same for us. Though in an entirely different way than Mary, we too are pregnant with glory (Rom. 8:18-27).

One Day we …

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A Prayer for Knowing and Being in God’s Will

In his hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Prov. 16:9

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

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Prov. 19:21

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ Isa. 46:10

Sovereign Father, these promises about our knowing and being in your will, bring immeasurable peace and comfort, humility and joy. I praise you for affirming your engagement in determining and directing every one of our steps—for numbering our hairs and determining our days. We don’t have to be afraid of making the wrong choices, or be paralyzed by second guessing our plans. The pressure is off! You love us and are in control, and that is enough.

Indeed, you are faithfully working all things together after the counsel of your will—no exceptions. You are working in all things for your glory, and for our good. You open doors no man can shut and you shut doors no man can open, on behalf of your beloved children. Whatever you purpose, it will stand. Again, I declare the comfort, peace and joy this brings me.

Many years I labored under the arrogance and anxiety of assuming that if I prayed …

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A Prayer for Trusting God with Impossibilities

     “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:34-38

Dear heavenly Father, you gave Mary a calling no one else will ever share—to be the mother of God the Son. And yet we do have a lot in common with her. When I consider the enormity of the promises you’ve made accompanying the birth of Jesus, I too say and pray, “How will this be?” And I hear you answer back in the gospel, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

Everything you’ve promised will come to pass, for you are the consummate promise keeper. This includes the transformation of this broken world into the new heaven and new earth, and the redeeming of a bride for Jesus from every single nation, tribe, people, and language. But it also includes your plans for our lives. Just as surely as you placed the life of Jesus in Mary, you have done the same for us. Though in …

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A Prayer for Those Facing Fear-fueling Circumstances

     When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Ps. 56:3-4 

     Heavenly Father, as the reach of the internet keeps getting bigger, our world keeps getting smaller and a whole lot closer. More so than ever, we realize we have brothers and sisters all around the world who are clinging to you and to this Scripture in ways that deepen our compassion and fuel our prayers.
     Jesus took the full burden of our sin and fulfilled the all the demands of the law for us; now we fulfill the law of Christ by bearing one another’s burdens—big ones and little ones (Gal. 6:2). And prayer is one of the primary ways we shoulder up and love well. When King David prayed this prayer, he’d been seized by Philistines in Gath. As we pray, Father, here are some other difficult, fear-producing storylines.
     We pray for the ongoing going war against human slavery in the world. That there are 27 million people stolen, sold and used as laborers in sweat houses and sexual commodities in brothels is unconscionable. We praise you for the brave men and women who are fighting the good fight against this pernicious evil. Multiply their numbers and exponentially increase their success in rescuing slaves, prosecuting evil doers and rehabbing the victims. We especially pray for the children who are preyed upon. What …

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