His Gift of Joy

My prayer today is that the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with joy by the power of the Holy Spirit. Father, there is no real or lasting joy apart from the truth that is found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You have blessed us with Your love, grace and truth in Him to bring us everlasting life. Every promise You have made will endure and come to pass. You are GOOD and I will praise Your Great Name forever. Amen 



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Christmas Prayer for the Troops and their Families

Christmas is a time to be with family and friends. This year some are serving our country overseas and are not with the ones that they love. We ask you Lord to surround those in the military with the presence of loving comrades and times when they can decompress from the stress of combat. We ask you to reveal yourself to those who are lonely and depressed. Help them to embrace the hope of the Babe in the Manger.

For those who worry about their soldier overseas, give them a peace that passes understanding. Help them to find constructive ways to deal with the stress of this situation. And for our governmental leaders, both friendly and not, help them to see past their fears and anger and embrace the One who is called Love. We ask you Lord to bring a lasting peace to the World Lord that your kingdom might come and you will be done. In the name of the Christmas Baby.

Amen


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Abundant peace

I would imagine there isn’t anyone reading this that couldn’t use a little more peace in their life. Abundant peace. Strengthening peace. The peace that only comes from our Father in heaven.

Nothing gives us a better promise of this than the Holy Word of God.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

The promises in that amazing verse are mighty and powerful and comforting.

We don’t have to be afraid.

He is with us.

We don’t have to be discouraged.

He is our God.

He will strengthen.

He will hold us up.

He is our Victory.

What a treasure these inspired words of God are. We can take those promises to the spiritual bank. They are truth. They are life. They bring us abundant peace and eternal comfort.

Thank you LORD for your promise of a life filled with peace in abundance from your powerful and mighty and Holy hand.



Amen

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From the Cradle to the Cross


Dear Lord Jesus,

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 clothed 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, glorifying and praising You for all that I have heard and seen. How my heart loves you my Lord and Savior. Amen!

Taken from the Worship Bible ~ Luke 2:6-20

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Life’s Greatest Accomplishment



   "Well done, my good servant!' his master replied.”
Luke 19:17 (NIV)

Father, I cannot imagine a greater greeting or affirmation than to hear from you: ”Well done.” It is truly life’s greatest accomplishment. The Apostle Paul reminds us: “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way....” Colossians 1:10 (NIV)

And Father you remind and encourage us to pray for all people, including our leaders. 1 Timothy 2:1-3 (NLT)
      "I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority ….. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior," 

So, Father, I’d like to give a prayer of thanks for George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States. In his passing and memorial service we have been reminded of the nobility of service to God and Country. The value of humility and seeking the welfare of others above our own. The love of family and friends with its endearing and enduring influence. Father, we were refreshed and somewhat renewed by the civility, community and compassion that came from various sections of our society.

George H.W. Bush’s tears encourage us to be touched with the afflictions of those who suffer. His laughter tells us not to always take life too seriously, and his ambition stirs us to realize there are more good deeds to be done. His funeral was a great moment for America, be a good citizen. A great message from God, love and forgive people. A great motto, have faith in God. Surely Father the one thing that unites us is faith in you. After all we are “One Nation Under God.” Father you remind us:  “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,” Psalm 33:12 (ESV)

So we thank you Father for this man, this servant, this president. And as the Senate Chaplain Barry Black closed his prayer at the Capital Ceremony: “We pray in the name of George Herbert Walker Bush’s Savior and Friend Jesus Christ, Amen.
 




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Our Living Hope ... Our Savior

"Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead," (1 Peter 1:3)

I praise You today and give thanks because You heard the groaning of Your people under our burden of sin. You came to set us free and I thank You that You have drawn us to Your Son, Jesus, whom You sent to bring salvation. Amen

"And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world."
1 John 4:14 NIV  "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10 (NIV)



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Come Holy Spirit


Come Holy Spirit.

Bring needed change in me.
Help me to be humble and teachable.
Cause me to be more like you.

In all ways let me be your reflection.
Let love and compassion ooze from my heart.
Teach me to lean into my heart and trust you.

May all who see me see you.
Empower me to walk in your presence.
In every way, I pray that I project Christ.



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To find 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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Balance in Life



1 Peter 1:6 (ESV)
       In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 

The balance of faith in you, Our God and Father, is that in our human weakness we experience the sorrow of grief and in our spirit we experience the joy of hope, believing that Romans 8:28 is true and reliable. Jesus, you experienced such a complementary contraction. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Thank you Father that we do not need to deny the reality of our grief nor the joy of our faith in you. It is a strange mystery we may not understand but we do know as 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV) says: We do ”…. not grieve as others do who have no hope.”

Thank you Father that you give us the ability to balance our grief and joy in all of life’s experiences.

In Jesus strong Name, Amen.


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Light of the World

Dear Heavenly Father, 

Thank You that in spite of our fallen state, You did not forget us. Thank You for coming into this world, becoming one of us, to show Your light and Your truth, and give us Life! Amen


“He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John‬ ‭1:2-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬


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wonder


Lord help us to become as children waiting for Christmas. Fill us with a sense of wonder and exciting at your coming this day.

In a world that teaches rationality teach us to embrace the mystery of things that have no answers and offer no solutions.

Cause us to pause this day and take note of all the wondrous things that surround us and bring a sense of awe into our lives.

Amen



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preparing



Father,

We have a lot to do. 

We have too much to do.

Help us to chose wisely as the Advent season nears and takes us into Christmas. Guide our heart to what we should say yes to and what we should say no to. Keep our hearts focused on You this season, remembering why we prepare. Why we celebrate. Why we love.

Because you made a way for us to be with you once again. Because you first came to us. 

Because you first loved us.

Help us prepare well.


Amen

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Following Jesus

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Success is neither fame, wealth, nor power; rather it is seeking, knowing, loving, and obeying God.  If you seek, you will know, if you know you will love, if you love, you will obey.  ~Charles Habib Malik


John 15:9-11 "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Now remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in His love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

 Oh Jesus, I have no other friend like You.  In times of trials you are there.  You hear the unspoken longings of my heart.  Everything I need to know you have revealed.  Seeking You, knowing You, loving You and obeying You are the desires of my heart.  Give me your strength to pick up my cross daily and follow You.  I love You.  Amen.





Amen

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Remembering the Source




Psalm 103:1-2
     Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:

James 1:17
     Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Our God and Father, as we have remembered your benefits at our Thanksgiving Celebrations, may we always be mindful, with continuing gratitude, that such blessings come from your gracious and faithful hands.

Your benefits and gifts are a reminder of your care and compassion for us. We are so appreciative of your kindness and generosity especially in providing the generous and gracious gift of salvation. As the Apostle Paul reminds us:

Titus 3:4-6 (NLT)
     4  But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5  he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6  He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.

Indeed, thank you Father from whom ALL blessings flow. Amen!

Amen

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Giving Thanks

Accept, O Lord,
our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us.
We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation,
for the beauty of this world,
for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.
We thank you for the blessing of family and friends,
and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.
We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts,
and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.
We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ;
for the truth of his Word and the example of his life;
for his steadfast obedience,
by which he overcame temptation;
for his dying,
through which he overcame death;
and for his rising to life again,
in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.
Grant us the gift of your Spirit,
that we may know him and make him known;
and through him,
at all times and in all places,
may give thanks to you in all things. Amen

The Book of Common Prayer

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a prayer of thankfulness

Last Saturday I was in an Emergency Room for six hours. Sunday and Monday I was in the hospital. Monday morning I had a medical procedure. Such things bring clarity to life. And they can make one thankful. So please join me in thanking God.

Lord, I am so thankful for the ways that you work in the world. Bless those who are serving others today instead of being home with loved ones. Make your presence known to those who defend us in distant lands. Guide the hands and hearts of doctors, nurses and all who choose to heal. And strengthen those who fight crime and fight fires.

Thank you Father for the love that you pour into the world. For missionaries, domestic and abroad, who spread your light and love. For workers in food pantries, homeless shelters and free clinics we are so grateful. Bless each of these with the understanding that they are your hands and feet of mercy and grace in the world.

Lastly Lord, we give you thanks for all of the people who have been positive influences in our lives. Bless those who teach, inspire and help us to grow into the people you want us to be. Cause us to be people who say thank you to our parents, our spouses and our children. Help them to know, through us, how much they are loved.

Amen

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a thanksgiving Santa

My oldest daughter is ready to give birth to her 6th blessing any day now. Yesterday, after her doctor visit, we stopped at the mall for a little Christmas shopping and we had the most precious encounter with Santa Claus.

Here just a few days before Thanksgiving- the one day a year that we have carved out to be thankful- Santa was standing outside the mall ringing bells for the Salvation Army. As he noticed my daughters very pregnant belly, he asked what she was having and then he told her what a precious blessing that baby was going to be and that it was certainly one of the greatest gifts of God.

And then...

He asked us if we knew what the greatest gift of all is, and proceeded to share Jesus with us.

It was a nice moment shared between my daughter and I and Santa, as we were able to tell him that we indeed did know Jesus Christ.

As we walked into the mall, it made me smile to think about this Thanksgiving Santa and his boldness to share Jesus with strangers.

The point of this post?

Just a reminder to each of us to pray for courage and boldness to always be ready to spread the gospel. As we enter this season of thanksgiving, let’s remember who we give ALL thanks to. Let’s pray for continued blessings upon our families. Continued mercies upon our loved ones. But let’s pray for an increased desire to reach out and share the greatest gift of all. Jesus Christ.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15) HCSB

Amen

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Thanksgiving

Father, you have lavished us with innumerable blessings. We have a tendency to focus on the things we don't have and our problems. Help us to be a grateful people, and to live out of gratitude for what you have done. Thank you you for your love and grace. Amen

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FAITH


Image result for Faith"Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see." ~William Newton Clark (1841-19120


II Corinthians 5:7 "We live by faith, not by sight."

Heavenly Father, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  We know that we do not see things as they really are.  True spiritual sight is reserved for the day when we will see as we are seen.  Faith is for this world, sight is for the next.  You bless those who believe without seeing.  O Lord, give us the strength to walk by faith until that great Day when we will truly walk by sight."

And the Lord haste the day
When my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back like a scroll,
The trump shall resound
And the Lord shall descend'
Even so, it is well with my soul.
~Horacio G. Spafford 1873



Amen

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“Others……….” Hebrews 11:35




Father Hebrews 11 gives a stunning comparison between those where were delivered from trials by faith to those who suffered and died by faith.

Hebrews 11:39-40 (NLT)
     39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.

Father as I think and pray for the community of Paradise, Ca and other communities in California, suffering from such a devastating conflagration and tragic loss of life, it is with a broken heart that I ask for your peace, mercy and grace to be with them. I know that life does not consist with the things a person possesses but of far greater and infinite value is that of the soul. Jesus said: “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Matthew 16:26 (NLT)

Father I know that you are profoundly moved by the suffering of other people. “In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years. Isaiah 63:9 (NLT)

Father, may all of those suffering and grieving sense the presence of your love and the strength of your grace sustaining them today and in the months and years to come. May they by faith in you find you more than sufficient for their every need. In Jesus consoling name, Amen.





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Surrender

In the midst of the chaotic world we find ourselves in, I can rest secure, knowing I am enveloped by Your love and mercy, surrounded by Your grace and goodness, Your gifts, Your protection, Your provision. I am thankful and praise You for all that You have done in my life. In the circumstances of life, whatever they may be, this is where You have placed me; this is the responsibility You have entrusted to me. You are working in me every moment to become conformed to the image of Your Son. Thank You, Father. Help me to surrender completely as You work out Your good will in me. Give me strength and courage to let go of the what if's, the fears ...whatever holds me back. To You be the glory forever! Amen

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a prayer for letting go

Dear God,

In this moment, I let go of all thoughts and concerns.

When I let go, I am able to receive.

When my hands are formed into tight fists, I cannot open my hands to receive anything.

When I hang onto tight control,

When I close off my heart and my spirit,

I cannot receive your blessings for me.

I let go to receive your blessings.

Letting go in this moment, I receive your loving presence around me and within me.

Help me to let go when I am feeling overwhelmed, so that I may receive your peace.

Help me to let go when I feel fear so that in fear’s place I may receive love and courage.

I let go of problems and challenges in order to receive your guidance and clarity.

I let go and trust you.

I will not fall.

You will catch me.

I let go and trust in the still, small voice inside of me.

Help me not to struggle but to surrender my struggle to you.

I gladly receive this gift of letting go and letting you lead me and guide me.

Amen

... a prayer shared by Jackie Trottmann at The Guided Life

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a prayer to slow down



Heavenly Father,

As we enter into a busy season of holiday celebrations, we give you thanks. We praise your name on high, grateful that you are a God who saves. The true God who is present, near us at every moment. The one true God worthy of our worship and love.

Help us to breathe, O God, in this rush. In and out, with deep inhaling and slow exhaling. Let us sit in silence for a few moments each day, to listen, to slow down. To be quiet.

For you guide us, O God, and we must learn to be silent and listen for your voice. To listen for your direction. Most of all, to enjoy you. Teach us to slow down, to be present as we create memories and experiences. To slow down and see all that you are and all that you are doing around us.

Teach us to enjoy you.

Amen

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OBSESSED WITH FORGIVENESS

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Ephesians 4:30-32  "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you."

Colossians 3:13  "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Last Sunday we shared Communion in our Worship Service.  It was a powerful message on forgiveness.  II Corinthians tells us to examine our hearts before taking communion and Pastor share how we can tell if we have a sensitive heart.  Are we sensitive to our own sin?  To the Spirit's leading?  Are we sympathetic to sinners and saints?

If we are so aware of God's forgiveness ~~then we will be obsessed with forgiving others!  Ouch!  That's one that can be hard to obey, but we do it for Christ's sake.

Dear Lord ~ Open the eyes of my heart and examine it.  Lord I want you to find it sensitive and sympathetic to saints and sinners.  Lord I want to be obsessed with forgiveness because I know what the cost was for you to forgive my sins and set me free.  I pray today for a forgiving spirit with a heart full of gratitude for the forgiveness I have received.  I love You.  Amen.


googleimages.com









Amen

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Grace Greater Than All Our Sin.



Romans 5:20

“…...But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more…..”

Just the first stanza and refrain from the wonderful song: “Grace Greater Than All Our Sin.”

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Refrain
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Father the infinite magnitude of Your grace is beyond measure, and obviously greater than the mind can imagine. But, personally, the power of Your grace in the forgiveness, cleansing and reconciliation of sinners is glorious to behold. And Father this is wonderfully spoken of in Ephesians 1:5-7 (NLT)5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.”

In deed Father, we exclaim with King David:  Psalm 32:1-2 (NLT) “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!  2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt….”

Thank you Father for Your gracious forgiveness through Jesus our Savior.

Amen

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A Prayer for our Nation

Almighty GOD; we make our earnest prayer that You will keep the United States in Your holy protection, that You will incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States of America at large. And finally that You will most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of The Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech You, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen 

This is the prayer of George Washington, which has been adapted to use You rather than Thou. 
from http://fourwinds10.com
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a prayer for unity

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son:

Look with compassion on the whole human family;
take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts;
break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love;
and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth;
that all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen
-excerpted from the Book of Common Prayer

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Importunate prayer

I came across a powerful passage while reading a book on prayer by E.M. Bounds.

There was a word that I was unfamiliar with. Importunate. I had absolutely no clue as to the meaning. In fact, I had to look it up on google because I honestly had no idea what it meant.

Here is the definition: persistent, especially to the point of annoyance or intrusion, troublesome.

When put into the context of the passage by Bounds, this is eye-opening.

Importunate prayer is a mighty movement of the soul toward God. It is a stirring of the deepest forces of the soul, toward the throne of heavenly grace. It is the ability to hold on, press on, and wait. Restless desire, restful patience, and strength of grasp are all embraced in it. It is not an incident, or a performance, but a passion of the soul. It is not a want, half-needed, but a sheer necessity.

Wow.

I don't know about you, but that stirs me up. It opens my eyes to the kind of prayers that we need to be uttering to our God.

The wrestling quality of this kind of prayer is not fleshly at all, it is an energy aroused by the Holy Spirit.

Are our prayers filling this quality? Are we persistent to the point of annoyance in our pleadings to our LORD?

We, as Christians, must be cultivating effective, continual prayer in our lives. We must be urgent in our request. Pouring out to Him a 'poignant appeal of need and faith'.

Our hearts must be in our prayers.

"The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." (James 5:16)






Amen

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a prayer for guidance as we vote

Father,

You know every challenge we face, every opposition in front of us. You know every desire of our heart, and you know the sins with which we struggle. We have decisions before us, today, O God, and we need help.

Forgive us for all the times we've gone our own ways, and for the ways we've chosen to figure this out on our own, rather than looking to you.

As we go to the polls, we ask for your guidance. Help us to listen to your voice, to ask ourselves hard questions, to be informed as we cast our votes. Our country is divided and wounded, O God. We hurt each other, and we hurt ourselves. We need your deep, abiding presence. We need your powerful healing.

We need your direction, because we are wayward. We need your strength, because we are weak. We often vote with our emotions or our mind, rather than seek your will and turn to your word for help.

Holy Spirit, come, settle here and teach us in the moment. Guide us as we vote, so that we may honor you and you alone.

Amen

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PREMEDITATED KINDNESS

Image result for acts of kindness

 One good deed is worth more than a thousand brilliant theories.  Don't wait for greater opportunities or for a different kind of work.  Just do the things you find to do day by day ..... Do it promptly.  Do not waste your life thinking about what you intend to do tomorrow.  No one ever served God by doing things tomorrow.  If we honor Christ and are blessed.  It is with the things we do today.
                                                                                 ~~Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)


Dear Lord, we know evil is premeditated.  Carefully planed and thought out.  Lord I pray you will let me premeditate Kindness.  To store of kindness in my heart, so when something happens that would cause me to say, or act unbecoming, I will have a storehouse of premeditated kindness to respond with on a daily basis.  Thank you that your loving kindness is everlasting, and always available.  I love You.  Amen.



Amen

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Happy Hearts




Psalm 43:4 (NLT)
     “….I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy…….”
Father you are the source, the center, the circumference, the core, the substance and the essence of our joy. Your joy is infinite in that it is eternal and finite in that it is personal. Your joy gives us strength in our trials and hope in our despair. Your joy heals broken hearts and restores shattered dreams. Your joy brings meaning to life and expectation to the future.
How beautiful and with what amazing insight did Habakkuk write:   “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18  yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NLT)
Father such is the nature of your joy given to us through trusting you. It is your very presence with us and in us that Jesus speaks of in John 15:11 (NLT) “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”
Thank you Father for the joy that is ours in Christ as the Apostle Peter spoke of: “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)
With Happy Hearts, Amen!



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I commit my actions to You, Lord and my plans will succeed… I will overcome evil with good… I can do everything through him who gives me strength… I am content with what I have because You have said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”… I say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”… I humble myself before You Lord, and You will lift me up… My God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. To Him be the glory forever… 

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your Word that encourages my spirit. Your Word has the power to bring me peace when I am feeling stressed out and confused. Thank You for guiding and protecting me. Thank You for never allowing me to fall too far away from You. Thank You for being my strength and my shield. By my own power I get lost, but when I meditate upon the knowledge that Your Holy Spirit is within me, I realize that nothing is impossible for You and I can rest upon Your strength to pull me through. Amen

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A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.

Amen.


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a prayer of mourning



Father,

You are the God of all comfort, the God who brings peace to hearts, the God who has compassion on us. You are a great and powerful God, who knows every hair on our head and every thought in our minds. You know us intimately, O God. For you love us that much.

Today we lift up those who've lost their loved ones in the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Hold them close, Father.  Help them grieve, wipe their tears, and give them strength.

Death was never part of Your plan, and persecution of others because of their race is not Your will, either. We acknowledge that all people are made in your image, O Lord, and worthy of our respect and love. We pray for all those who harbor hatred in their heart. May they soften towards all that they hate; transforms their lives and hearts to be more like You. 

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:1-6)

In Jesus' Name,

Amen

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All Souls

Father, we thank you for the saints down through the ages that have faithfully served you and have set us an example by their walk. Thank you for those who sacrificed homes, possessions, and their very lives for your Kingdom. Your word tells us that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Let  the memory of their service cause us to follow Jesus more closely. Amen.

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Hurrican Faith


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 As I was reading my Bible this morning, I notice a note I had put on the margin from 9/4/2005 from a message my dearest had preached when he got back from helping after Hurricane Katrina.  The title of the message was called "Herricane  Faith".

Hurricans are so devastating, people in the midst of them need something to hang on too.  This message gives 5 things you can bank on from God's Word.

1.  Focus on God's eternal presence.  ~ Duet. 31:8, I John 14;16
2.  Focus on God's eternal promises.  ~ II Sam. 22:31
3.  Focus on God's eternal power.      ~  Isa.26:4, Psm. 89:8
4   Focus on God's eternal purpose    ~  Jer.29:11, Rom 8:28
5   Focus on God's eternal hope        ~   Psm. 62:5

Dear Father, as we think of all the folks that have loss so much in the recent Hurricans, we pray that their hearts can focus on God's Eternal, Presence, Promises, Power, Purposes and HOPE.  Bring peace and a sense of comfort and healing to all those who have suffered so much and lost their earthly possessions.  How thankful you have promised to be with us and never leave us.  I love You.  Amen.

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Amen

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The Witness




Psalm 19:1-4 (NLT)
    The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.  2 Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. 3 They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. 4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.

Father, what a great witness the silent night sky’s reveal. In the heavens we behold your glory, craftsmanship, knowledge, power and wisdom.  And though the stars of innumerable galaxies are so distant from us You are not. Your presence is with us and through faith in Your Son You live in us.

Father, we behold Your witness, not only in the heavens but also in the Scripture where You tell us: Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)

Father, thank you, not only for the wonder of your creation, but especially the wonder of Your presence with and in us. You are truly our Immanuel.

We pray this in the Name of Your beloved Son and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


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For Transformation

Our Father, how great is Your love and mercy to us. You have taken us under Your wing and there we find refuge. Thank You that You cover us with the righteousness of Jesus Christ when we respond to His invitation to come to Him for salvation and lay our burdens down. We worship You and love Your Word which has the power to transform us as we renew our minds with Your Word. Strengthen our hearts as we grow in Your grace and knowledge. May we always respond with faith and trust during the difficult times and circumstances we face as we journey through this world. Amen

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a prayer for our country

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage:

We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will.

Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way.

Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues.

Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth.

In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail.

All which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-taken from the Book of Common Prayer

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refuge



Dear Lord,

We take refuge in You, O God, this day. Cover and protect us from all harm. You are the rock of refuge, in whom we can trust. You are faithful and loving, and watch over us everywhere we go.

Be our hope, Sovereign Lord. We praise You for Your power, and it's in this power that helps us stand firm in hope. A hope that points us to Your son, Jesus, and reminds us of all You have done for us.

And You continue to work in us, too, which gives us more hope. Hope for change in us and in the world. So as we ask for you to be our refuge, help us to remember to go out and point others to Jesus, knowing we in Your safe hands.

Amen

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TRUTH

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 Isaiah 59:15-16  "Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes prey.  The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.  He saw that there was not one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him."

O Jesus, our Savior, teach us to be like You.  Give us courage to speak up and step out on behalf of justice.  Help us to speak the truth in love, to right wrongs, heal wounds, and champion the cause of the dispossessed.  May we stand in Your righteousness to intervene and intercede for our own stumbling nation and a world in turmoil.  I love You.  Amen.


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Maranatha Worship Bible











Amen

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The God of All Comfort




Hebrews 2:18 (HCSB)
     For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested.

Hebrews 4:15 (HCSB)
15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.

Matthew 8:16-17 (HCSB)
     16 When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. He drove out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick, 17 so that what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: He Himself took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.

Father, the comfort and encouragement we have through Jesus identifying with our weaknesses, suffering, sorrows and sickness is truly not only healing but also enabling. You give us the strength and hope to carry on, living in faith, trusting your presence with us every day.

2 Corinthians 1:3 (HCSB)
     Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.

We can truly affirm the confidence of the Psalmist.  “God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my life.” Psalm 54:4 (HCSB)

We praise You Father in the name of Jesus our beloved Savior and friend. Amen.




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A Prayer of Commitment

Lord, I give myself to fully follow You, whatever it may mean. Take every aspect of my life and use me for Your purposes to glorify Your name. I’m not here on earth to do my own thing, to seek my own fulfillment or my own glory. I’m not here to indulge my flesh, to increase my possessions, to impress people, to be popular, to prove I’m somebody important, or to promote myself. I’m not here even to be relevant or successful by human standards. I’m here to please You.

To live like this, I yield myself to you, to know you, to love you, to honor you, to obey you, and to grow in your holy fear. I desire to become a person who lives and grows in reverent awe of you.

I’ll do anything You want me to do as long as You lead me; go anywhere You want me to go since You will go with me; and say anything that You want me to say as long as You will fill me. Teach me, guide me, empower me as I climb the ministry mountain.

Father, there isn’t any gift You have for me I don’t want. If You want me to wait to accomplish Your work, I will. If You want to use me in a way that I’m not used to, I yield myself to that. I trust You, Lord, to do that which I cannot do for myself. Today I affirm my love for You, my God, and I choose to live and minister in Your way for the rest of my life.

To the glory of the Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of the Lord Jesus, for the very best of many everywhere, I ask these things. Amen.

(Sources: Ruth Myers-Cindy Jacobs-Dale Schlafer-Ramesh Richard)

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let your love be made full in me ...

I love the words to this Godspell chorus ...
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day
They remind me of this prayer by Anselm of Canterbury ...
I pray. O God, to know thee, to love thee, that I may rejoice in thee.

And if I cannot attain to full joy in this life may I at least advance from day to day, until that joy may came to the full. Let the knowledge of thee advance in me here, and there be made full.

Let the love of thee increase, and there let it be full, that here my joy may be great in hope, and there full in truth.

Open the eyes of my heart Lord that I might see you more clearly.

Amen

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to be known

139 


God, investigate my life;    get all the facts firsthand.I’m an open book to you;    even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.You know when I leave and when I get back;    I’m never out of your sight.You know everything I’m going to say    before I start the first sentence.I look behind me and you’re there,    then up ahead and you’re there, too—    your reassuring presence, coming and going.

... Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?

    to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
    If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
    to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
    you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
    At night I’m immersed in the light!”



... You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,

 (From Psalm 139, The Message)


God, you promise to know us inside and out. You know every hair on our heads, every thought in our minds, every feeling in our hearts. You love us so. Help us be known and loved by you, so that we may be known and loved by others.

Amen



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