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

God's Continuing Care



Father as we come to the close of another year, it is with deep gratitude that we express our appreciation for your faithful guidance and care. As you have graciously lead us and watched over us in this past year so we ask for your continued direction and advice in 2017.

Because you are our Shepherd we can walk into the future with confidence, assured of your presence with us. Having the personal reality of Psalm 23 we know you are with us and that eventually we will live in your glorious presence forever.

Thank you Father, for your comforting presence and the good path on which you walk with us each day. Surely we can say with Jacob: “…..God has been my shepherd all my life, to this very day….” Genesis 48:15 (NLT)

Looking forward Father, to another year in which we will continue to experience Psalm 32:8
 
In Jesus, our Good Shepherd’s name,
Amen

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Prayer for the New Year


Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.

We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us—but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year.

In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love.

In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need.

In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost.

And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end” (Psalm 119:33).

We pray for our nation and its leaders during these difficult times, and for all those who are seeking to bring peace and justice to our dangerous and troubled world. We pray especially for Your protection on all those who serve in our armed forces, and we thank You for their commitment to defend our freedoms, even at the cost of their own lives. Be with their families also, and assure them of Your love and concern for them.

Bring our divided nation together, and give us a greater vision of what You would have us to be. Your Word reminds us that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

As we look back over this past year we thank You for Your goodness to us—far beyond what we have deserved. May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation and center of our lives this year.

And so, our Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come.

Amen
...prayer from Billy Graham, written for "The Saturday Evening Post" in 2008

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New Year Starting

Father,

Thank you for a new year. Help us to use it wisely. Lead us in the ways we need to go to make it a year of service for You. Help us, amid the many voices we will hear, to hear Your voice urging to do what is right. Help us to hear Your call to do good for our neighbor in any way we can. Help us not to we be so enchanted with the voice of this world that we do not hear Your voice. Help us to present this year an offering to You.
 
In Jesus' Name,
Amen

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2016

Father, as we have gone through this past year, there have been times of joy and celebration and there have been times of grief and mourning. Many have had great success while others have seen leanness. Thank you that through all we have experienced, you have been with us and for us. Thank you that we are always in your loving hands. Amen
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MERRY CHRISTMAS


 Related image
 Matthew 1:22-23 ~ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord said through his prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" ...which means, "God with us."

Dear Jesus, You amaze us ~~ You were present when the earth was spun into orbit and the stars were ordered in the night sky.  You designed the awesome workings of our planet and all that live on it.

You shared with your Father in the joy and wonder of creating everything that now exists.

And yet, when we were lost and fallen, You were willing to take on the frailty of our human nature and become one of us so that we might be saved.

We praise and worship You, IMMANUEL.  You are indeed "God with us".  I love you.   Amen.

Image from googleimages.com
Prayer from Maranatha Worship Bible







Amen

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The Greatest Gift



Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

2 Corinthians 9:15 (NJV)

Thank you Father that we too can celebrate with the Angels, the Shepherds and the Wise men the joyous and miraculous gift of your son. As the Apostle Peter says of us: “You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” 1 Peter 1:8 (NLT)

Father I pray that this Christmas, all around the world, people will accept this gift of your love through trust in your Son and the Savior for all who will believe. May they embrace the truth of Ephesians 2:8 “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”

Through Jesus, who himself is the gift,
Amen

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Come Lord Jesus

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.
~ Charles Wesley

Amen





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Christmas Prayer

For those who are ill or sad, we pray for the presence of heaven.

For those who are healthy and happy, we pray for courage and strength of character.

For our world, we ask for the promise of Christmas, peace on earth and goodwill to all.

For all people, in all things and in all places, the joy of a newborn baby.

Amen
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HOPE and JOY




There are so many people struggling this season. Many are sick. Many are hurting. Many are dealing with unspeakable pain and sadness. There are some who are mourning the loss of loved ones. Some are dealing with heartbreaking news. There are people who are just plain lonely and lost.

But....

There is HOPE! And in that HOPE we find great JOY! Jesus Christ came to bring us sweet HOPE in this uncertain and unforgiving world. He is Messiah. Emanuel. Savior of the world! He came to bring PEACE and REDEMPTION.

Share Him with others this season. Give the gift of LIFE to all around us. He is worthy!

Father, thank you for the precious gift of your Son! May we always be filled with HOPE and JOY because of Him and the light He brings to a dark world. Help us keep our hearts and eyes turned toward You. 




Amen

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The Good Invasion

Father,

Thank you that when we were lost and enslaved to sin, You sent Your Son to save us. You did not send us just good advice. We are horrible at following good advice. When we were helpless and could not help ourselves, You sent Him to become one of us and rescue us. He invaded this world that is dominated by sin and death to set the prisoners free. Help us live as part of that new kingdom that He came to create. And help us live in celebration of the fact that He came to redeem us.

In Jesus' Name,
Amen

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LET ALL MORTAL FLESH KEEP SILENCE




 Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand:
Ponder nothing worldly minded,
For with blessing in His hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born to Mary,
As if old on earth He stood.
Lord of Lords in human vesture,
In body and the blood.
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food,

Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.
(~Liturgy of St. James the 4th)

Oh Dear Father, how can we take into our finite minds the magnitude of these words?  From heaven to a manger, to live a sinless life, to pay the price for MY sins on the cross, rise again, prepare a place for me in heaven....I want to shout...but I can only fall on my face, and keep silence.  I love You.  Amen



Amen

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Joy to the World



Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)
   8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Father, how strange it seems that such great joy of infinite and eternal value should be found in the lowly and unpleasant setting of an animal’s shelter. Far from the splendor of heaven’s glory is the Savior’s birth place, to be visited first by shepherds of humble state and vocation. How could the contrast be any greater than that God became man, the Sovereign took the form of a servant, and the King became a pauper. Though this baby became a man of sorrows he brought great joy to the world.

Father, through the gift of your Son, Jesus, all who believe in Him, have the joy of sins forgiven, the joy a relationship with you, and the joy which will have everlasting completion in your eternal presence. Truly, it is joy even beyond the world for it encompasses not just time but eternity.
 
Thank you Father that joy became incarnate in the birth of Your Son, which we celebrate every Christmas.  Indeed it is joy to the world!

Amen

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Help me, O Lord

Have mercy on me, O God,
have mercy!
I look to you for protection.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings
until the danger passes by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.

He will send help from heaven to rescue me,
disgracing those who hound me.
My God will send forth his unfailing love and faithfulness.
I am surrounded by fierce lions who greedily devour human prey-
whose teeth pierce like spears and arrows,
and whose tongues cut like swords.

Be exalted, O God, above the highest heavens!
May your glory shine over all the earth.
My enemies have set a trap for me.
I am weary from distress.
They have dug a deep pit in my path,
but they themselves have fallen into it.

My heart is confident in you, O God;
my heart is confident.
No wonder I can sing your praises!

Wake up, my heart!
Wake up, O lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn with my song.
I will thank you, Lord,
among all the people.
I will sing your praises among the nations.
For your unfailing love is as high as the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God,
above the highest heavens.
May your glory shine over all the earth.

Amen
Psalm 57:1-11 NLT



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Light of the World

Father,

May the Light of the World shine in our darkness. We live in a world of deep darkness, like that long ago. We live in the midst of gloom and confusion. Intervene in that darkness. Enlighten our eyes, enlighten our hearts, and enlighten our minds. Help us see You in the midst of this world's chaos. Not just at Christmas time, but the whole year round.

In Jesus' Name,
Amen

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Anticipation


 Lord Jesus, as your people anticipated the Messiah by actively waiting and obeying your Law, may we actively anticipate your coming again by working for your kingdom while we wait. Let your kingdom come on earth in us as it is in heaven. Amen


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Safely Home


“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God….”  1 Peter 3:18 (NLT)

In Steve Green’s song “Safely Home,” you can hear Jesus saying:

“Children, precious children I Know you’re shaken,
A loved one taken.

Oh but hear me. Come, draw near me. His pain is passed now.

He rests at last now, safely home.

He is strong and free. He is safe with me.

This life is nearly shadow. Today there’s sorrow, but joy tomorrow.

Safely home.

One day you will join Him, all together, this time forever,

Safely home.”


Father we find great comfort in Jesus words: ”There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”  John 14:2-3 (NLT)

Father we are grateful for our lives here on earth and we are grateful for the life we will share with you in heaven. And this is all possible because Jesus left his home in heaven to be born in a stable, die on a cross and be victoriously raised from the dead. In singing the songs of Christmas we celebrate the glorious reality of these events and the blessed assurance of our hope in heaven.

Thank you Father that as we enjoy the festivities of this season we do so with a sparkle in our eye, a joy in our heart and a hope in our future, as we remember the words of the Apostle: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 (NLT)   

Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. 2 Cor. 5:8 (NLT)

Amen

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Hear me, Lord

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.

You are my God; have mercy on me,
Lord, for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you.

You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.

When I am in distress, I call to you,
because you answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.

All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.

Teach me your way, Lord,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.

I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths,
from the realm of the dead.

Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;
ruthless people are trying to kill me--
they have no regard for you.
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Turn to me and have mercy on me;
show your strength in behalf of your servant;
save me, because I serve you just as my mother did.
Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Amen

Psalm 86:1-17 NIV


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Prayer to the God of Hope

God of hope, who brought love into this world,
be the love that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought peace into this world,
be the peace that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought joy into this world,
be the joy that dwells between us.
God of hope, the rock we stand upon,
be the centre, the focus of our lives
always, and particularly this Advent time.
Amen

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Thine Is the Glory

(Part of a continuing series on the Lord's Prayer. I am aware there is a serious textual question on this last part, but I have decided to pray through it, anyway.)

Father,

I thank You that the kingdom and the power and the glory all belong to You. Help us to live in the light of that. Help us to remember that You are ultimately victorious and that Your rule will last forever, when all that we today think is great has come and gone. Help us to look beyond the facade of this present world and to see Your majesty and to live for eternity rather than this current age.

In Jesus' Name, 
Amen

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Longing and Hope

Jesus, as Israel longed for their Messiah, so we long for you to return and consummate your kingdom. We long for the day when creation will be restored, when their will be more pain or death, when all tears will be wiped away. Thank you for the hope that we have in you, the expectation that you will come as you promised. Amen


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GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST




 Luke 2:13~14  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying ~ "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Dear Lord, I cannot comprehend that You, the Creator of the universe took on flesh and were born of a peasant girl.  You, the One who spoke galaxies into existence, became a speechless newborn baby.  You, the One who gave the stars their light, veiled Your own glory and slipped unnoticed into the human race.  You, the One who clothes all of nature in its boundless beauty and order, came to us wrapped in rags and lying in a feeding trough.  The miracle of Your incarnation is all too unexpected, too mysterious, too holy for me to understand.  I can only follow the shepherds to the manger and bow in astonishment and thanksgiving, glorify and praising You for all that I have heard and seen.  I love You.  Amen.

*Little angels from church Christmas Play
*Maranatha Worship Bible



Amen

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Thankful for Daily Guidance




Psalm 143:10 (NLT)
     Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.


Father if there is anything we need in life it is guidance. And Father I am so impressed with the Psalmist prayer who desires to learn Your will, who understands the importance of Your will, who realizes that guidance in Your will is an act of Your gracious Spirit and who longs for the security of a certain future.

Father, I want that as we are within weeks of completing a year and soon to begin a new one. So much activity in the coming weeks and decisions we may need to make that we haven’t even thought of yet. But your guidance through the balance of this year and through all the days of the coming new year will be a real source of peace and hope.

Thank You Father that the Apostle Paul gives us insight into how this is accomplished: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Father the best thing we can do is to learn Your will and follow Your guidance daily. Not only do we pray for daily bread but also daily guidance. And thank You that in Your will we have both.

Through Jesus our Lord,

Amen

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Lord, teach me to forgive

Our Father in heaven, you have commanded us to forgive one another, even up to seventy times seven times, even though we feel it is unfair to us. I pray O God you will teach us to be kind to another, tender-hearted forgiving one another, even as God through Christ has forgiven us. At times when it is difficult to forgive, I pray that you will remind us of your grace and mercy for us, because we too are unworthy for your forgiveness but still you have forgiven us and justified us worthy through Christ. Similar for our brothers and sisters who may have wronged against us, and when we do not have any idea how to move forward, we come to you Father asking for your grace and mercy to flow through us like a river to them, that they too will be filled with your goodness and grace.

Amen



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Finding God afresh in Advent

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.


I love that the Messiah was born in a small village. When I think about him being raised in Nazareth I think of the importance of family and community. God could have come as man but came as a baby who could grow experiencing interactions with both children and adults. Not all was good for Jesus though - because folks in his community knew him so well they were blinded to the idea that his origins were greater than their town. Because of this many could not see him as a messianic ruler. This familiarity is also a challenge to those who grow up in religious communities.



In this Advent season, Lord help us to get past our religious familiarities.
Have mercy on us that we might find you afresh in the midst of shopping for gifts.
Open our eyes to ways that we can serve others who are sad because of the season.
That we might be born anew in us in this busy and hectic season of celebrations.

Teach us to hear and sing beloved Christmas carols with new ears and voices.
Open our minds to new understandings of Christmas and how we might worship you.
Grant us grace that we might find new ways to love the baby Jesus in our families.
Come Holy Spirit and fill our hearts and our families with love faith and peace.

Amen
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