WEEK 12 | TRUST AND ACKNOWLEDGE

A favorite scripture for many is Proverbs 3:5,6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” There are three parts to this verse we should pray over ourselves, our family, and others:

  1. The first is to trust. Do we truly trust the Lord? Is “in God we trust” something only on our money or is it in our hearts? We can — and must — trust Him. He is worthy and powerful.
  2. Second, we need to lean on Him and His infinite knowledge — and not our own understanding. He knows what is best for us, even when we don’t.
  3. Third, we must acknowledge Him in every area of our lives. Serving Christ is not just a “Sunday” thing, or an “at church” thing, or a “once in a while thing.” It is a 24/7 thing. We acknowledge Him as the Lord and leader of our lives and the love of our hearts.

Proverbs 3:5,6 is something we need to pray is true in our own lives; let’s also pray it over our families, our friends and others.

WEEK 11 | PRAY FOR WISDOM

Life can be confusing at times. There are moments in life where we aren’t quite sure which fork in the road to take. James 1:5 tells us that “if we lack wisdom, we should ask God…and it will be given to us.”

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself in circumstances that are complicated and cloudy. Trying to find clarity is not as easy as it should be it sometimes seems. But we can have assurance and confidence that God will help us. We can pray to Him for direction and He will show us the way. What are you struggling with today? Where do you need guidance? Maybe something regarding your marriage or kids? Or something financial or job related? Or maybe even faith related? Ask God. Trust Him. He will guide you.

WEEK 10 | LOVE MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Jesus gave us a Great Commandment in Matthew 22:37-40. He told us to love God and love people. In the Gospels, Jesus often tells us that people will know we are Christ-followers by our love. Love makes a difference. Love sets us apart. Love proves our faith in Christ is real. Love matters.

Let’s pray that we show Christlike love to the people around us. Let’s start with our spouse and family. How can we love them better and more deeply? Then move on to our extended family, co-workers, fellow students, neighbors, and business associates. Let’s also pray that our church will show love in greater ways to our communities. There are amazing people all around us that need to know Christ and great His love for them.

WEEK 9 | GOD’S HEART

On God’s heart are people. He wants everyone in relationship with Him. In fact, the Bible says that He wants all to come to repentance and none to perish. And He has given us the Great Commission to “go into all the world and make disciples, teaching and baptizing them.” (Matt 28:19,20)

One of the greatest prayers we can pray is for people who are far from God to find Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Who close to you are you praying for to come to faith? Maybe it’s a family member, co-worker, or classmate? How are you praying for people around the world who do not yet know Jesus?

People matter to God – and they should matter to us. One of the ways we prove they matter is to pray that everyone hears about Jesus and comes to a saving knowledge of faith in Jesus Christ. Let’s pray today…and each day…that everyone comes to know Jesus.

WEEK 8 | BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING

Genesis 12:1-2 provides us with incredible life purpose. Like Abraham, we have been blessed to be a blessing. Take a moment and list as many blessings as you can think of. If you are a Christian, the biggest blessing in life is to know Christ. How about food? Health? Air to breath? A Job? Family? School and learning? Car to get around? Church family? We can all make a list of 10 blessings in our lives quite easily. We can probably even name as many as 25 – or even more – if we really stop and think about it.

The point is this, we tend to focus on our problems and challenges. That’s human nature. But for this moment, can I encourage you to focus on your blessings and the things you’re grateful for? And then remember that every good and perfect gift comes from God above. He has blessed you. But not just you…all of us. And we have been blessed on purpose for a purpose – and that is to bless others. We are to be a conduit through which His blessing and grace flows to others. We are to be a channel of his grace.

You have been blessed but it doesn’t end there. Not even close. He wants to bless others through us. Take a moment and dedicate your day to the Lord. Pray, “Lord use me today to bless someone else. May your love and grace flow through me to someone else in a real and powerful way.” Maybe it will happen through the words you speak, or through the encouragement you give, or through the time you take to be with someone or the energy you expend to help someone else.

You are blessed. You are blessed to be a blessing.

WEEK 7 | TRY SOME KINDNESS

A great prayer that most people don’t think about praying is asking God to help us be more compassionate and kind. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” When we are kind we are more like Christ. In addition, kindness encourages and strengthens those around us. Kindness shows you care and helps others feel valued.

 

Ask God to help you relate to others with more kindness than you have in the past. In fact, ask Him to help you see opportunities to show kindness to those around you and especially those who need it most. It is one additional way God can use us to impact the lives of others for good.

WEEK 6 | CREATE IN ME A PURE HEART

David’s prayer of confession in Psalm 51 is a powerful reminder that while we are sinners, our God is a forgiver. David prayed in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God.” A simple prayer, but a great prayer. The Bible tells us that all of us have sinned. I’ve sinned, you’ve sinned, the perfect person you think you know has sinned — all of us have sinned. Only one human being has never sinned — and that is Jesus. The rest of us are in need of forgiveness. Sin and guilt and shame can take their toll on our heart and soul. It can work painfully on our mind. Repentance, however, leads to cleansing. Asking Jesus to forgive gives us a fresh start. I John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins HE WILL forgive us and cleanse us. Not maybe or someday, but for sure and now.

For most of my life I’ve prayed ACTS prayers, prayers of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. The Confession part is very important to me. This part of my prayer reminds me and prioritizes for me the importance of confessing my sins and disobedience to Christ. It helps me focus on the humility of my heart and the confession of my soul. Prayers of confession like David’s in Psalm 51 give priority to my need to ask for forgiveness, both for sins I’ve committed or steps of obedience I’ve omitted.

I think we all know that we have sinned and missed the mark. What we need to know even more is that He will forgive us and help us get a fresh start. He is merciful and full of grace. His love for you and me is literally out of this world. Take a minute today and read through Psalm 51. Then pray a prayer of confession and allow Christ to give you peace and if necessary, a fresh start.

WEEK 5 | THE PRAYER OF SELFLESS SERVICE

Last week we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. One of my very favorite quotes of his is “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” It’s a question of purpose, priority and life aim.

Before MLK, Jr., the apostle Paul said something similar in one of my favorite scriptures: Acts 20:24 — “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” For Paul, his goal in life was to serve God and others. Clear. Simple. Intentional.

May I encourage you to join me in praying something similar today? Let’s commit ourselves to a higher calling than self-service. Rather, let’s pray a prayer of self-surrender. May we, like Paul, live to serve God and others with heartfelt passion. God is eager to use you and me to bless others if we will only get our eyes off self and place our eyes on Him and how we can bless others. Opportunities to be a blessing are all around us. Let’s take full advantage of them as we honor God and show His love to others.

WEEK 4 | PRAYING FROM THE HEART FOR THE HEART

Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Notice what it doesn’t say. It doesn’t say people will know we are Christians by our politics. It doesn’t say people will know we are followers of Jesus by our ideology. It doesn’t say others will know we are disciples of Christ by our agenda. It says others will know that we are followers of Jesus because of our love.

Our society is deeply divided. The national dialog on social media and other platforms is a race to the bottom. Jesus calls you and me to be different. We need to pray daily that God’s love will fill our hearts and flow from our hearts to others. May we be known as compassionate followers of Jesus Christ.

Ask Jesus to help you be more compassionate today. And then pray the same thing tomorrow. I truly believe that even the most complicated matters in our nation and communities and families can be clarified by compassion. How can you be more compassionate to your spouse, family, people you work with, extended family, and more?

The mark of a deeply devoted disciple of Jesus is love. Would you pray with me today “Lord, help us get to the heart of the matter which is the matter of our heart. Help us truly love others. May compassion be our goal in all relationships. May Your love flow through us toward others. Help us live the life of love that You showed us and taught us. May we represent You well and point others to You by living a life of love. Amen.”

WEEK 3 | MY DAILY PRAYER

John the Baptist’s words provide the framework for one of the greatest prayers that we can – and need to – pray everyday:

He must become greater; I must become less. (John 3:30)

There is an ongoing battle that rages within each of us. Who will be first and greatest? Christ or Me? Our carnal and selfish nature wreaks havoc in our lives in so many ways. We focus on ourselves more than others, on ourselves more than God, on our plans more than His plans. It’s nothing new. The first humans struggled with this internal fight and we continue with it to this day. That’s why John’s prayer is so crucial.

May we pray every day:

“Lord, for today, will you be Lord over all? May You be greater and may I be less. May the evidence of this reality be seen in how I do relationships, run my finances, care for my family, communicate with others, handle stress, and deal with impatience. May Your will be done in and through my life. May the net result be seen and felt by those nearest and dearest to me…my family and close circle of friends. My greatest desire is to glorify You, Lord; not to elevate me. May You increase; may I decrease. ‘He must become greater; I must become less.’ Amen.” 

Let’s pray it. Let’s live it.