Heavenly Father,
I cringe when I think how long I let unforgiveness have a foothold in my life. Almost twenty years is too long! It’s true that according to the world’s standards I was innocent and had every right to be angry, and those who had hurt me had no right to expect my forgiveness. Yet one day I realized a horrible poison was causing a deadly cancer to grow in me. It was unforgiveness. The symptoms caused bitter sickness whenever the offender’s name was mentioned or the sight of them. It was eating away at my peace and joy. It was interfering with my freedom to live fully in Your forgiveness, Lord.

One day I read Jesus’ warning. “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins against you, Your Father will not forgive your sins.” Ouch!! Lord, You were speaking to my very soul. It was Your deep desire to heal me from this deadly disease of unforgiveness. You knew I was innocent of the wrong in the first place, but I had let my pain and bitterness get a dangerous foothold deep in my soul. I was in critical spiritual health.

Lord, it took repeated times of forgiving. I didn’t mean it as much when I first began. Yet the more I prayed for those who had hurt me, the more I meant it. Each time I forgave them, it became a little more sincere. What a relief! What a burden lifted! How I praise You for helping me to forgive like You did me. The more I practice forgiveness, the easier it becomes. Father, forgive them as You have forgiven me. Let us all live in the freedom of forgiveness that is only possible because of Jesus Christ.

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

“…Forgive and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I forgive….


Heavenly Father, I have vivid memories of my professional growing dad sitting in the house when I was young pouring through seed/plant catalogs with beautiful photos of flowers, vegetables and even more permanent flowering/fruit and landscape trees and shrubs. This happened most often during the cold winter months, as he prepared for his spring crops. It was a rare sight to see him sitting during the rest of the year as there was always work to be done in the fields or greenhouses. He always had some reoccurring orders of standard varieties which proved to be successful at growing in our Oklahoma drought-prone summers. He knew to steer clear of selections which looked appealing but wouldn’t grow well in our state. But every year, he took a little risk to try some new varieties, as well.  Over his 50 years of professional growing, he was responsible for bringing all kinds of new plant material to a state that had little to no choices before. He was a true pioneer of horticulture- a modern day Johnny Appleseed.

                When those seeds or tiny starter plants were shipped to us in boxes, they had absolutely no resemblance to those gorgeous photos in the catalogs. Time was of the essence to get the starter plants potted, watered and placed in the proper growing environment so they could flourish. The seed packets were full of the most ordinary-looking seeds. If you didn’t know better, there is no way you would ever believe those miniscule shapes would ever produce what those lovely photographs promised. Yet my dad (along with his crew of employees and captive children followed in faith that he knew what he was doing) sowed, planted and watered those promises which came in tiny packages. They really grew!

                The Oklahoma landscape is still full of trees and shrubs that began with his faith in investing in those tiny seeds. There is no way I could ever count the number of mouths fed, souls nourished and shade provided by the seed of a vision You, Lord, planted in my dad. There is no way I can measure the lives which have been impacted by my parents’ hard work, faith and seed-sowing in people’s lives and yards, in thousands of children whose interest in plants was perked, by employees whose lives were invested in…Oh yes, and by investing in their children- including that little girl who watched her dad order seeds in the middle of winter. Help me be a seed-sower for You, Lord!

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“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.  Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”   Matthew 13:3-8 (Jesus taught in a parable)

“He (Jesus) told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32

“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”

 2 Corinthians 9:10-11

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Your Prayer Prompt-

Lord, what kinds of seed am I sowing?


Eternal Father,  today’s youngest generation is facing more darkness and evil than ever as they grow up. I always try to do as You say and keep my eyes on things that are lovely and pure and holy…but I cannot be blind to the very real threat of darkness and evil. What really makes me want to fight is when evil comes after vulnerable children. That just brings out the warrior in me! For my grandkids, great grandkids, children I have cared for, children in my church, children who have no idea what a church is or for that matter who Jesus is, children who are born into drugs, alcohol, violence, abuse…kids who face the pure evilness of “Momo” and other predators! I want to fight for them! I want to call today’s parents to stand up and fight, protect and teach their children to turn to You in this dark world.

                TV was still relatively new when I was a preschooler. You always knew who the good guy and bad guys were…and the good guy always won. Thing are so mixed up now that evil is held in high standards far too often. Now, there is a slew of dark and evil entertainment readily available to the tiniest people. I am always amazed how these tots can learn to swipe apps before they can speak. As the “Momo” character has been brought out into the open—as this evil character tellls little people to kill themselves and gives them specific directions on how to do it, my heart cries out to today’s parents to stand up and let their children become their mission to bring Your word, Your light, Your kingdom into this dark world. Lord, shake up today’s generation who are now parents and have them pray for, teach, protect and stand guard for the souls of their children (and generations to come).

                Father, You are the best parent there is. You know we have to pass through this hard world, but You give us Jesus Christ to overcome the evil in this world. You know we can’t be left alone to fight this fight through our own weak power. I will forever be Your daughter, who needs You. Father, I pray for those who are now parents to stand guard and protect the precious children You have entrusted to their care. I pray that You teach them to turn to You everyday by praying with them and for them. I pray You equip the parents for the hard job of parenting that takes tremendous sacrifice. You know all about that!  Raise up parents who will raise up their children full of Jesus Christ— with Your discernment between right and wrong, Your word in their hearts ready to fight any battle, Your strength and godly perseverance to overcome this world. Let them model Godly parenting so these little people will know how to parent their children. I lift this generation of parents and children to You and pray that they bow before You realizing their need for You.

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“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  Deuteronomy 6:5-7

“We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which He commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God…”    Psalm 78:

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”  (Jesus’ words in Luke 11:13

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Prayer Prompt-

Father God, Help me as a parent or grandparent to teach the next generation to turn to You…



Glorious Father,   there are times I get calls, texts or questions asking for my counsel. Maybe it’s because they mistake my wrinkles for wisdom. Perhaps it’s because I am a writer. I hope it might be because they get a little glimpse of Jesus in me. I know it’s not because I’m so wise. It always throws me off when I am asked for advice because I have lived long enough to know my weaknesses, inadequacies, and the vast wisdom I lack—especially when compared to You, Lord. When asked for advice, I try to let them know that I am not nearly insightful enough to tell them what to do—but I know who is…

                That’s why I try to pray with them as soon as I can after listening to their dilemma without much comment. I dare not trust my own judgement, ideas, thoughts unless Your word specifically makes a clear statement about their particular situation. Lord, You alone, know their heart and motivation and everyone else involved. You alone, know the history and Your plans for the lives of each person concerned. You alone, know how the challenge they currently face will mold and form them for the work You have ahead of them. You alone, know the eternal results of the issue they are seeking advice for. What if, in my own well-meaning counsel, I mess with Your eternal work?

                Father God, it seems the very best thing I can do is to stop and lift them and their entire situation before You. It seems the wisest thing I can do is to trust You to work through them and what they are facing. What if my soft-heartedness wants to relieve them of suffering when that is exactly what they need to endure for a season? What if I build them up to make them feel good when You are trying to help them realize their sinfulness? What if I was to shame them for mistakes without the hope of Your lavish grace?

                Lord God Almighty, let my wisdom begin and end with You. You know all things. You have power over all things. Yet in Your unmatched wisdom, You wait for us to come to You in each and every situation. Father, I come to You, the very source of all wisdom. Thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ to give me the wisdom to know to bring all things to You—and to encourage others to, as well.

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“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise.”    Psalm 111:10

“If any of You lacks wisdom, he should ask GOD, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”    James 1:5

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgements, and His paths beyond tracing out!  Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.”    Romans 11:33-36

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Prayer Prompt-

Father God, do I come to You for wisdom and counsel?


Most Glorious Father,  when I hear my grandson practice on his guitar, I can’t help but remember hearing his young grandpa (my first husband who went to heaven before experiencing being a grandfather on this earth) play his acoustic guitar pretty much every single day of his adult life. I first began listening to my young husband’s missed chords and runs–yet through much practice, it developed into the rich music that continues to bless my soul. I watch two of my grandchildren practice their MMA moves and stand amazed at how those repeated stances/exercises have incorporated confidence, grace and assurance in their young lives. I recently experienced a Broadway musical with another granddaughter, and wondered how much practice it took to make that singing, acting and dancing look so effortless. No one but You, Lord, and those who practice know what it truly takes.

                Lord, I may think of how great I could be as a musician, cook, gardener, artist…but until I am willing to put what I know into practice, I will never obtain anything near perfection. Last night it seems You led me present a lesson on what Your word says about practicing. As always, the teacher learns more than the class. Thank You for all the amazing yet challenging opportunities You have presented me with to practice love, obedience, faith, forgiveness, grace, hospitality, hope…

                Amazing growth takes place when I do not just hear Your word but actually put it into practice.  It is not always easy. My guitar-playing grandson has had to give up other things he might want to pursue to grow musically. His fingers have to play despite the pain. He does more than just study chords and music theory, he is practicing to improve. I can look at the situations I have gone through where it was challenging to love and forgive…yet the more I do it, the better I get at it. I’m still practicing, though!

                Father, I realize that all the practicing in the world will not give me eternal life. I can never get “good enough” through my own efforts no matter how much I work at it.  First, I need to accept Jesus’ holy sacrifice to give me the holy eternal life You have called me to. With Jesus Christ in me- making me a new creation- I can practice what You call me to. As I practice and obey, I can grow in perfect holiness and maturity in Jesus Christ.  I will keep on practicing, Lord!

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“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”  James 1:22-25

“My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.”  Ezekiel 33:31-32

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”  Philippians 4:8-9

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, what do I need to practice?

 

Heavenly Father,

I cannot tell you how many times as I have cared for children that they ask me a question and I answer. Within a few minutes, they ask me the same question—I answer again. A few minutes later, they ask me the same exact question. I finally point out that I have answered their same question every single time they have asked me. They ask; then go about their busy play—not even waiting or listening for an answer.

Lord, how many times in my life have I done the same thing to You? I make a big deal of asking You for something or for guidance in a situation; then it’s like I forget that I asked—or I don’t even bother to wait or listen for Your answer. I know that You hear every single thing I bring before You. My prayers are precious to You (even if what I ask for is not always so precious).

I’m learning to listen for Your answer after I ask You something. I’m learning to be patient and wait to see how You are working on whatever I have brought before You. There are many times, as I go on about my busy day that You quietly point out that “This is the answer to that prayer.” You work so much differently than I do. Your thoughts and ways and plans are so much higher than anything I could ever scheme up. Your ways are always so much better—even if I don’t see it at the time.

How I thank You for all the big and little ways You have answered every single one of my prayers. I can think of prayers that were answered immediately (sometimes before I could even voice them) and others which You answered, “Wait” and it took 34 years to see the answer. It was so worth the wait! Lord, help me continue to bring every little and big thing before You, and then listen and watch for Your answer. Thank You for listening to me, Lord!

 

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“They have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations; so I will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring upon them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke no one listened. They did evil in My sight and chose what displeases Me. Hear the word of God, you who tremble at His word.” Isaiah 66:3b-5a

“He (Jesus) came and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. And when He had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are all the prayers of the saints.”  Revelation 5:7-8

 

“He answered their prayers because they trusted Him.”  1 Chronicles 5:20b

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me listen to You, watch for You, and obey You today…

 

Heavenly Father,

For a long time, I have asked You to lead the weekly Bible Study growth group I facilitate. It’s always an adventure to watch how You lead. It never goes like I expect. I’m always surprised by the ways You teach all of us. The latest lesson You are leading us in has been through these “hawk attacks” as I go on my morning walks. There have been a series of attacks starting with a silent hawk zooming from behind with great power right on the top of my head! There has been a fair amount of fear try to keep me from walking as there have been more threats on sequential walks—but, Lord, I know You don’t want me to give in to fear.

So besides yelling at them and shaking my keys, this morning I pulled my long ponytail up and wore a straw hat. The huge birds were still out in full force all around me but I felt protected. As I walked past one scene of attack, there were four of them sitting high on the dead branches protruding high above the live part of the tree. Right as I walked past, a car drove by in the otherwise deserted street. I felt Your timing. They would not attack while something so large and powerful was there. As I passed by the first painful point of attack, there just happened to be four young people I had never seen walking together on the other side of the street. They passed by exactly at the very point of attack. They were talking about Jesus and said His name several times!

Father, thank You for the reminder that You are always with me protecting me. You won’t let anything through unless it is somehow for Your glory. All I need to do is be on alert for the attacks that are certain to come; be dressed in Your armor; overcome fear with the knowledge that You are with me; keep around other believers; and trust in Your protection, timing and angels; and use Jesus’ name to ward off the enemy. Help me to keep on walking with You (and to finish the lesson on “weapons and armor” that I didn’t know I was teaching—but You are leading for tonight! Just following Your lesson plan, Lord!)

 

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“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”  Ephesians 6:10-18

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.”   1 Peter 5:8-9

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me where I’m being attacked right now and help me stand in Jesus Christ…

Heavenly Father,

Today I’m packing away the Christmas decorations for yet another year.  Some of my ornaments have been being put on the tree and taken off the tree since before my children were babies. I have about three even older glass ornaments left which were brought over on the ship my great grandparents traveled on to start a new life in America. Some ornaments are very familiar and others are brand new. Each holds special meaning as I ponder sweet relationships different ornaments represent to my heart.

I also pack the growing collection of nativity ornaments which represent another relationship. I always start a new prayer journal at the beginning of every year. The paper may be brand new, but after so many years, there are times my relationship with You, Lord, seems very comfortable and familiar. You created me. You know me better than anyone (including myself) ever could. You have never left me during one moment of my life. You know me so well, that You often point out things which are harboring in my soul which I didn’t even know were there. You lead me into new territories. You restore my newness of life. You lovingly correct and train me. You delight in showing me new truths and sights. You take joy in showing Your love in new ways. I am totally comfortable being still and quiet in Your presence… or pouring out my heart in pages of anxious words. I have no doubt You hear my every thought and request. I love to watch how You work as I bring things to You.

Father God, I may feel loved and comfortable with You yet I am also in awe of who You are! Why would the God Almighty, who has all power and authority, want a relationship with me?! Why would the God, who created and sustains all there is and ever will be, who owns everything, who rules over all that is, who brings life from nothing, humble Himself by sending His Son to be born as a human baby? Who else would show such love to sacrifice His own holy Son to pay for our sin? To cleanse us? To save us? To bring us back to You? Father, all other relationships grow sweeter as I continue to grow in my relationship with You. You never change! You just reveal more of Yourself each year, each day, each time I seek more of You. Another Christmas and New Year have come and gone…but You, Lord, are with me forever and ever. I don’t want to just be comfortable. I want to deepen my relationship with You as I discover even more of You. I guess I will fall more and more in love with You for all eternity for there is no end to who You are!

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“Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”   John 17:3

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  Mark 12:30

“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, I want more of You…


Heavenly Father,
There is one thing I can absolutely count on—that You are with me, Lord.
You have been with me always—even before I was conceived You knew me and the plans You had for me. You have been with me when I felt all alone. You have been with me when it seemed the whole world was against me. You have been with me when I was so wrong and undeserving. You have been with me when I demanded my own way. You have been with me when I thought I knew it all and when I found out how little I knew. You have been with me through gut-wrenching cries and gushing tears of joy. You have been with me through painful heartbreak and happy reconciliation. You have been with me when I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from as well as times I thought I would burst if You added more blessings.
You have been with me through the births and deaths of those I love. You have been with me through both epic failures and celebrations of success. You have been with me through fearful situations where there was no apparent way out—where You opened up an unseen door to miraculous outcomes. You have been with me in dark evil places and brought me into glorious light. You have been with me when the enemy tries to destroy me, and have protected me more than I will ever know. You have been with me when I have complained, whined, balked, rebelled and sinned against You. You have been with me when I have been humbled by Your truth and have gladly surrendered to Your will.
Lord, You have never left me and I know You never will. You are always calling me forward to new places with You. When I am slow or reluctant to follow, You wait for me or urge me on. You have a final destination to take me, but You are with me on this journey right now. There is no where I can go where You are not with me. There is nothing I will face without You. What a beautiful assurance of Your love. You are with me always to the end of this age and beyond. I love You.
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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
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Prayer Prompt-
Father, thank You for being with me when…

 

Heavenly Father,

I just spent last week at an awesome church camp (four nights and 5 days at a 4th-5th grade camp and then a day camp for K-1st grade). The most miraculous things happen at church camp which makes up for the hard waterproof mattresses on old squeaky bunk beds, the dirt that totally covers your body from the dust stirred up by so many feet, late nights with giggly girls, stinky boys who pride themselves on no showers, wet clothes thrown all over cabin floors, wet swimsuits which fall off the line and get dirt mixed together with snow cone and ice cream drippings, a few cases of homesickness or real sickness, several real or imagined boo-boos, and being asked a million times “What’s next?”

The eternal benefits far outweigh the downside. I want to thank You, Lord for a few of the miracles I had the privilege of witnessing this year: the boy whose family just moved to a small town in OK and attended church for the first time. His mom heard them talking about leaving for church camp and wished out loud her son could go to meet new friends. In less than an hour, he was packed and back at church to go to camp with people he didn’t know. He ended up getting baptized and camper of the week!…the very smart but extremely shy girl who fought through tears and fear to say memory verses in front of the whole crowd and discovered You are with her and will help her…4th and 5th grade kids who happily gave up their “canteen money” to donate to the mission of building chapels in OK prisons. They broke the record by giving $1000 towards helping inmates know about Jesus inside prison walls… the unbridled worship of children who sing to You with all their heart, minds and soul…

Lord, I was overcome by the history of this small church camp that gets city kids out in the country, that makes children forget all about TV, video games and cell phones. Many of the adult sponsors grew up going to camp there. That’s where they came to know You. I wonder how many of the 9 baptisms in the swimming pool last week will end up as pastors, teachers and living long lives for You. I have no way of knowing how many lives have been changed eternally through this one humble church camp serving a group of OK churches. Not only are the kids’ lives impacted for Your kingdom, adults are drawn closer to You as well. I know I found time to be still and quiet before You this week. I grew in Your word, Your presence and in sweet fellowship with big and little brothers and sisters-in-Christ. May we all take our renewed fire for You back to our daily lives and shine brilliantly with the Light of Jesus Christ! Thank You, Lord, for letting me be a part of church camp.

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“He (Jesus) took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in His arms, He said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes  one of these little children in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me but the one who sent Me.’”  Mark 9:36-37

“Let the little children come to ME, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:14b-15

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me how I can worship, obey and live with You like a child…