Anyone who is having troubles should pray. ... When a believing person prays, great things happen. -James 5:13,16 NCV

the greater work

"Evening, and morning, and at  noon, will I pray,
and cry aloud; and He shall hear my voice"
(Psalm 55:17)
Prayer is an essential ingredient in our spiritual lives. The bible tells us to pray without ceasing and to pray about everything. That doesn't mean we have to stay on our knees 24 hours a day, but that we should always be in an attitude of prayer. That is what keeps the line of communication open between us and God. That is what keeps our spirits connected with God's heart.

There are times when I cry out to Him and don't really know what to say.  Times that I find myself flat on my face before Him and just softly singing praise to Him or saying His name over and over. It is in those times that I know the Holy Spirit intercedes for me. An effective prayer life isn't about what we say, it's about the One we are saying it to. Our sweet Lord is always there to listen. When we cry out, He hears and He responds.

Prayer doesn't equip us for greater works.
Prayer IS the greater work.
- Oswald Chambers
 

Amen

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Thanking God for You

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers [Ephesians 1:16]

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. [Philippians 1:3]

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you [Colossians 1:3]

We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers [Thessalonians 1:2]


Throughout his letters the Apostle Paul gives us many examples of how he prayed. One aspect of his prayers is the way that he gave thanks for the people he ministered to. Taking a lead from him I suggest that we pray a prayer like this one.

Father we so often forget to give thanks for the people that are closest to us - for that we ask for forgiveness. We ask you to fill us with thanksgiving and gratitude for these and the many others who are within our circle of family and friends.

We give thanks to you Lord for these as we remember all of the ways that they have blessed our lives. Without these our lives would be harder. Without your work in them we might be discouraged. We thank you Lord for them and we mention them in our prayers.

Amen

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PRAYING THE PSALMS


"Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

O Lord open my lips
and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it.
You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

Amen




Amen

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No One Knows Your Needs Better...

Matthew 6:32 - “...for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.”

St. Augustine once said that we were created with a “God-shaped” void. I agree. Only God can meet the deepest longings of our hearts. There is nothing that can satisfy apart from your relationship with Him, but it's not because He is a heavy-handed dictator forcing you to accept life the way He dishes it out! Who knows what will satisfy your deepest needs better than the One who made you? As your Creator, He can see what your needs are going to be tomorrow and ten years from tomorrow. Don’t you think He knows what you need today? ~Adrian Rogers

What do you need today? Notice I’m not asking, "What do you want?” but "What do you need?" Does your Father know what that is? Then trust that He will provide.


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out of work, but not crushed

today's prayer is for everyone who is out of work, especially my friends david and chris

from 2 corinthians

we are hard pressed on every side
but not crushed
perplexed
but not abandoned
struck down
but not destroyed

we always carry around on our body the death of jesus
so that the life of jesus may be revealed in our body

and on this day, dear lord, we pray for our friends, our neighbors, our families and all those who are seeking employment... that they may find their destiny

so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen
for what is seen is temporary, but what us unseen is eternal

may the lord be with you in your times of joy
and your moments of trial


Amen
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prayer begins with worship

Prayer begins with worship. When we pray, we are acknowledging who God is and that we need Him desperately. We are recognizing His power and His Sovereignty. We are bowing before Him in honor and reverence.

When we look at the example of prayer that Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:9-13, known as 'The Lord's Prayer', we see the importance of beginning with worship in the very first verse of that passage of scripture.
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name". When we pray this, we are agreeing that God is who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do. Hallow is translated from hagiazo and means 'holy, to set apart, to make a person or thing the opposite of common'. 

When we pray to our heavenly Father, we acknowledge His holiness and the fact that He is set apart from man and is the One true God.  Our worship of the Father has begun. We bow before Him and give Him full authority over our lives. He is holy. He is all power.

When the storms in our lives are raging and the circumstances seem to threaten, begin to worship in prayer. Once we attribute to God all that He is due, our hearts will be ready to submit to His will and our prayer lives will flourish. He is so worthy.

Prayer is a discipline that when exercised, will give
you a greater intimacy with Your Father, but when
neglected, will make you feel distanced from Him." 
 - Kay Arthur

Our sweet Father, may we never take for granted the awesomeness of who you are. Help us to always begin our prayers with worship of your power and your majesty. Your holiness and your sovereignty.  Let us bow before you and submit fully to your authority and your will. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of being able to worship you in spirit and in truth. You are worthy!


Amen

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A prayer for times of mourning

Tomorrow it will be one month since my father died. I did OK through his final illness, death, and the period immediately afterwards. But it has caught up with me now. The tears are flowing freely. And so I pray for God's strength to guide me through the tears in His time.

I found this lovely prayer on A Concord Pastor Comments. It touched my soul in tender places, and I share it with you now in hopes that others who grieve may also find comfort.


Dear God,

There is an empty chair at our table,
an ache in our hearts
and tears on our faces.

We may try to shield one another
from the grief we bear
but we cannot hide it from you.

We pray for (names)
whose presence we miss
in these homecoming days.

Open our eyes and our hearts
to the healing and warmth
of the light of your presence.

Assure us, Lord, that those we miss
have a place at your table
and a home in your heart
as well as in ours.

Open our hearts to joyful memories
of the love we shared
with those who have gone before us.

Help us tell the stories
that make the past present
and bring us close to those we miss.

Teach us to lean on each other
and on you, Lord,
for the strength we need
to walk through difficult times.

Give us quiet moments
with you, with our thoughts,
with our memories and prayers.

Be with us, Lord,
and hold us in your arms
even as you hold those whom we miss.

This is the day you have made, Lord:
help us to rejoice in it
and in the promise of your peace.

Amen. 



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The Seven Words of The Serenity Prayer

This image reminds me of a time in the late 90s when I was a part of ToughLove, a parents support group. Each night before we closed our meeting we would pray the Serenity Prayer and this is what we would pray:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I once led our ToughLove group in a discussion about this prayer that we prayed each week. I examined seven words from the prayer. He is a recap of what I said:
  • God: The Westminster Catechism defines as a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. If you are going to ask for help you need to ask somone who is both willing and able to help.
  • Serenity: Synonyms are calmness, tranquillity, peacefulness, quietness, uncloudedness. Worry is the opposite of serenity; a frustrated attempt to “do something”. When we act out of worry and other emotions we create more problems. When we act out of serenity we can have confidence in our actions.
  • Accept: To receive willingly or favorably, agree to, concur with, release. Wanting a “normal” life causes us to deny the way things really are. Only when we “accept” can we focus on the things we can change.
  • Change: To make different. Often we want things to be different as long as we don’t have to change. If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we’ve always got.
  • Courage: The ability to meet danger or opposition with fearlessness, calmness and firmness. The most courageous word in our language is often “no” (i.e. to old habits). Sometimes we need encouragement from others to support our actions.
  • Wisdom: Synonyms are discernment, judgment, uncommon-sense. Like serenity, wisdom often comes through patience and experience. Wisdom often comes from other people who have “been there” before.
  • Know: To be sure of, understand, recognize, distinguish between. To act or not to act - often our knowing is less than perfect. Often we can rationalize ourselves out of doing something we know to do.
If you find yourself worried, troubled, anxious, or just dealing with some angst in your life try praying the Serenity Prayer ... it may help you to cast your cares on the Lord.


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He Gathers the Lambs in His Arms


Isaiah 40:10-12

"See the Sovereign Lord comes with power and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

Who measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breath of his hand marked off heavens?"


Dear Lord, sometimes I follow close behind You. Sometimes You carry me. I want to stay so close to You that I can feel the fabric of your robe and smell the scent of Your presence. When You gather me in your arms and carry me close to your heart, I know that the hand that holds all things together is the hand that will never let me go. I love you Jesus. Amen!
(Shepherd picture from googleimages.com)


Amen


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A Soldier Knelt and Prayed

A young man enlisted, and was sent to his regiment. The first night he was in the barracks with about fifteen other young men, who passed the time playing cards and gambling. Before retiring, he fell on his knees and prayed, and they began to curse him and jeer at him and throw boots at him.

So it went on the next night and the next, and finally the young man went and told the chaplain what had taken place, and asked what he should do.

“Well,” said the chaplain, “you are not at home now, and the other men have just as much right to the barracks as you have. It makes them mad to hear you pray, and the Lord will hear you just as well if you say your prayers in bed and don’t provoke them.”

For weeks after the chaplain did not see the young man again, but one day he met him, and asked —

“By the way, did you take my advice?”

“I did, for two or three nights.”

“How did it work?”

“Well,” said the young man, “I felt like a whipped hound and the third night I got out of bed, knelt down and prayed.”

“Well,” asked the chaplain, “How did that work?”

The young soldier answered: “We have a prayer meeting there now every night, and three have been converted, and we are praying for the rest.”

Oh, friends, I am so tired of weak Christianity. Let us be out and out for Christ; let us give no uncertain sound. If the world wants to call us fools, let them to it. It is only a little while; the crowning day is coming. Thank God for the privilege we have of confessing Christ. ~Amen

Moody’s Anecdotes, pp. 73-74


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A Late Friday Prayer

Dear Lord,
I am late again. Please forgive me.
I come to You this evening to ask that You would surround the nation of Japan with Your love and grace. I pray Your people would reach out to those who are broken and hurting, that there would be help and healing, that there would be salvation in the name of Jesus.
I pray, dear Lord, that You would be with Your people who are already there reaching out to people in desperate need. I pray that Your hand of protection would be there upon the team from Samaritan's Purse and other relief organizations. I thank you that they were able to get through and that You opened those doors. I ask that we, Your people, would once again reach deep into our pockets and give to help our fellow man.
Thank you, Lord, that Your love reaches around the world.

Amen
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call upon the Lord

"I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to
be praised; so shall I be saved from
mine enemies."
(Psalm 18:3)
Oh, precious heavenly Father, I am so thankful that you are a God who loves us and cares for us and who is our ever present help. You are our deliverer, our fortress, our refuge. You are our help, our comfort, our peace.

When nothing else does, You can. When no one else will, You supply.

You are our rock. Our mighty God. Our Savior. Our friend.

You redeem, restore and rebuild.

You cover completely. You surround us with your healing arms. You provide just what we need at the right time. You are an on-time God.

There are so many people sick, hurting and in need, sweet Father, and I ask that your perfect will be done in each life. I ask that you minister and heal just as your will dictates. I lift each precious one up to you and ask that you touch hearts, minister to souls and reveal truth. I ask that you give guidance and direction. Give hope and comfort. Light the paths of those in darkness and deepen the yearning of struggling souls for more of you.

We give you ALL the praise and glory and honor that is due you. We rejoice in the healings and the breakthroughs. We thank  you for all that you are doing in their lives and all that you will continue to do. You are the mighty Healer. You are the One and Only. You are God.

In the mighty, saving, delivering and redeeming name of Jesus Christ,
Amen

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Prayer to the Holy Spirit


Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful
and enkindle in us the fire of your love.

Send forth your spirit
and we will be re-created
and you will renew the face of the earth.

Amen.




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Lettings go of the Results

Sometimes it is so hard to let go of the way we want things to be. The faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, those young Israelites who survived the fiery furnace when they refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar's giant golden idol, give us an example of people who stood their ground and God worked a miraculous result.

Yet sometimes we do not get a miraculous intervention when we stand our ground. This was the case of Stephen, one of the deacons in the early church, who died from stones thrown by religious people.

I love how these men simply said that our response to trials are not dependent on the results.. we trust God.. we let go of the results.. we follow His leading.. and we leave the future in the hands of God. In a sense we never really trust the Lord until we let go of the results. Please pray with me.

Father, our days are in your hands.. our future is in your hands.. our lives are in your hands. Our confession is that you are good. Like the young Israelis we say that you are able to deliver us from any situation. And with them we say that if you do not deliver us we will trust you all the more. The results are in your hands. We let go of the results.

Amen

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I LAY MY "WHYS" ~~~~


I love reading Ruth Bell Graham's books. She was such a strong and godly woman, and as we think of the destruction in Japan, and the unrest around the World, we often want to ask "WHY?"
I love Ruth's answer to this question:
"I lay my "whys" before your cross in worship kneeling,
My mind too numb for thought, my heart beyond feeling;
And worshiping, realize that I in knowing you, Don't need a "why."
This Song also gives a message ~
I've tasted all the things
That come against you, my child;
They fell to the ground beneath
Golgotha's tree.

My name is Faithful
And oh, the love that I have for you,
My child.
Can you hear me?
Will you answer?
Can you hear me?
Will you Follow, Follow Me?
(A Message from a King - Harlan Rogers 1986)
Dear Lord ~ You have heard our whys? Help our faith to just KNOW YOU, and leave it in your hands. Father we lift our prayers together for all the hurting and missing people in Japan, and around the world. We hear you, we answer you, we will Follow. We love you. Amen.





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Why Pray?


One of the great paradoxes of the Christian faith is that God wants us to talk to Him about everything that is going on in our lives, even though He already knows everything. So why pray'

If you’ve ever wrestled with that question, perhaps the thoughts of the 19th-century preacher R. A. Torrey can help. Among the reasons he gave for prayer are these:

  
* Because there is a devil, and prayer is a God-appointed way to resist Him (Eph. 6:12-13, 18).
    * Because prayer is God’s way for us to obtain what we need from Him (Lk. 11:3-13; Jas. 4:2).
    * Because prayer is the means God has appointed for us to find “grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
    * Because prayer with thanksgiving is God’s way for us to obtain freedom from anxiety and to receive “the peace of God” (Phil. 4:6-7).

Besides these reasons, it’s enough to read the command in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing,” and realize that God wants us to talk with Him. Yes, He is all-knowing, but He also desires our fellowship. When we seek God’s face in prayer, we strengthen our relationship with Him. That’s the most important reason to pray. —JDB

Our Daily Bread, November 25, 1998


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Grace and Blessings

Dear Lord,
I have not been very good at finding grace in the everyday events of life, but I am learning; learning to be thankful, learning to keep my eyes open, learning to let go and be grateful for what You have given me. Thank you, Lord, for what is in my own backyard, for what is down the road and around the corner, and for the places You have taken me that are out of the ordinary for me. I am blessed. May I be a blessing to others every day, to remember to be grateful, and to thank You for every gift You give.
Amen

Prayers added for all those affected by the devastating earthquake in Japan, the ensuing tsunamis, and fires. My daughter was in Tokyo just over a week ago. Thank you, Lord, for bringing her home safe.

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just turn

You are the one Jesus loves.

You.

Perhaps you are not feeling that way today. Guilt, shame, neglect… trials of perseverance… all can blur the truth. You are the one Jesus loves.

No matter where you are today, no matter what condition your life is in, it takes only a simple act.

Just turn.

Will you pray with me today? Lord God, there are times when I feel unworthy to be in your presence… times when I want to hide or run away. But your hand is always out there. Always reaching. For no matter what I have done or thought, one truth remains. I am the one Jesus loves.

We are encouraged by your stream of invitations:

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.” (Isaiah)

Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” (Hosea)

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians)

Today, my prayer is that we can turn together. Let the veil slip away. You and I. For we are the ones Jesus loves.

Amen
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Ash Wednesday Prayer

From the Meditations and Prayers site..

O Jesus, you place on my forehead the sign of your saving Cross:

“Turn from sin and be faithful to the gospel.”

How can I turn from sin unless I turn to you?

You speak, you raise your hand, you touch my mind and call my name,

“Turn to the Lord your God again.”

These days of your favor leave a blessing as you pass on me and all your people.

Turn to us, Lord God, and we shall turn to you.

Amen

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Prayer for Julie

I'm sharing a prayer request for our daughter Julie.
This is one of my favorite pictures of Julie and her Dad taken last year.

She has had several bouts over the past year with kidney stones. This is the second time she's been hospitalized because the stones are just too large to pass. She had a procedure yesterday to place a stint and push the stone back up in to the kidney. They can't do the second procedure to eliminate the stone with the laser as she has developed a fever and infection. That has to be resolved before they will continue. So she's on pain medication and antibiotics. They said she will have to stay in the hospital for a few more days.

Thank you for your prayers for her in the past, and please continue to pray the fever and infection end soon.

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Gratitude





Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. 
~Henry Ward Beecher

Lord, teach us to have an attitude of gratitude in all that we say and do...
in Jesus' name amen.


What are you thankful for today?



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someone is tired today

Some people wear their emotions on their sleeves. And participating in their lives is like riding a roller coaster, as you get to feel every twist, turn, rise and drop.

My friend Tom is not like that. He is more even-keeled. Ever-steady. The solid ground you can always return to for balance when your own personal roller coaster seems to be heading out of control. (Been there, done that.)

So when you notice something different in a person like Tom, you know that it isn’t a passing whim… it runs deeper. And lately, my friend Tom has looked tired. The kind of tired you can only see by looking into his eyes. The tired that runs through physical, mental, emotional. An all-the-way-to-your-soul tired.

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.

For weeks I have wondered… when will Tom find his quiet waters? In the mornings I sit before God asking to refresh his soul. And over this time, my friend only seems to grow more tired.

Today, I am hoping you will join me in prayer. For joy and energy and glee and peace and exuberance. For the sudden sensation for hands-in-the-air dancing within one who rarely wears his emotions on his sleeve. I pray for comfort. I pray for deliverance. I pray for my friend Tom.

In 2 Corinthians, the apostle Paul writes: “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. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again.”

Yes, I pray for deliverance. And then, like Paul and the Corinthians, we will give thanks for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

God bless you.

Amen
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Please pray for my friend John

My friend John is around 50 years old and on a respirator in the ICU of a local hospital. They are trying to remove the excess fluid he is retaining. Monday they thought things were going a bit better, but yesterday he took a turn for the worse. He continues to retain fluid in his body and lungs, he's on dialysis because his kidneys aren't functioning properly, and he is in a drug-induced "coma-like" state so his body doesn't have to work any harder than it needs to as he tries to recover. All of this extra stress isn't helping his heart, which is very weak already. Please pray.

Amen
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Watchman Nee Prayer

Let me love
but not be thanked.

Let me serve
but not be recompensed.

Let me spend my strength
but not be noted.

Let me suffer much
but not be seen.

Let me pour my wine
without drinking.

Let me break my bread
without reaping.

Amen

Watchman Nee was a Chinese Christian author and church leader during the early 20th century. He spent the last 20 years of his life in prison and was severely persecuted by the Communists in China.

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