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Heavenly Father,

My brother-in-law is in ICU and has received 18 units of blood over the last few days. That blood saved his life. It kept him alive until they could locate and remove the diseased part that was causing him to lose deadly amounts of “that life-saving sap.” We just happened to be having a blood drive at our church Sunday. I’m not certain how many gave at our church, but it took 18 people he has never met donating some of their life to keep life flowing through the body of my brother-in-heart. It was a stark reminder of how critical blood is! My nurse daughter said due to the quantity given, most of the blood in his body had most likely been replaced by other blood. When he realized how many had given to sustain him, he said, “It’s a gift!”

Father, he is so right! You give us life in the first place as we are formed in our mother’s womb. Our physical life is a gift from You. We truly are wonderfully made. That fluid pumps through our bodies bringing life to every single cell and organ. As wonderful as our physical life is, it is diseased by sin…by our self-willed human nature that separates us from You- the very One from whom all life flows. We are critically and terminally ill; slowly losing all life. We will die without a blood transfusion. That’s why You sent Your own Son!

Jesus didn’t come to lie on a table for 30 minutes to squeeze blood into a bag. He came to be born and live as one of us into this sinful world. He came to die on a criminal’s cross although there has never been One more innocent. He came to give His precious holy blood to be transfused into us through the Holy Spirit! One of the nurses explained the danger of getting so much blood from others. More foreign elements are being introduced into the body. That’s because as wonderful as their gift of hemoglobin was, it was not pure. Jesus was the only One whose blood was clean and holy enough to give us eternal life with You. Father, thank You for the holy and powerful blood of Jesus that has been transfused into my life. I can’t fully explain it, but His life flows through me and through all who accept His transfusion. It is too much to comprehend how and why…but Your eternal life flows in and through us by the blood of Jesus Christ!

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“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.”   1John 1:7

“This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28

“And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.’” Revelation 5:9

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, what does this precious blood mean to me?

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Heavenly Father,

Two of my grandkids were pretty impressed by the number of people “following me” on a social media. On a whim, I made an account on Instagram, but have never used it. My granddaughter checked my account and said, “How did you do that?! You only have one post. It was up for 2 weeks and you are way ahead of me!” (She hacked my phone and posted the one picture on my account!) What she doesn’t realize is the older I get, the more people I have made contact with in my life. Her social circle at this point is primarily family, school and church friends. Lord, You have put me in contact with an ever- broadening amount of people in my ever-growing longer lifetime. It’s not that I’m famous; it’s simply a reminder of how many people have crossed my path in my lifetime. It is amazing how many chances we get to touch someone else’s life… and they ours- some just for a moment, others for a lifetime.

“Following” someone in todays’ world is as easy as clicking on an icon. Yet we need to be extremely cautious who we follow in real life. Someone may sound good, have great photos and ideas but who are they really? Who are they following? Who am I following? Will my main life purpose be to gather followers, share recipes, crafts and photos? Will my focus in life be to sway others to my way of thinking? If so, what difference will that make in my life or in others’ lives? Who I follow is critical in my life.

Father, I chose a while back to follow Jesus. I continue to choose to follow Him every day. I don’t want anyone to follow me just for the sake of following my thoughts and ideas (or even my life) if it is not going somewhere good. If anyone is following me, I pray it is because they know I am following Jesus…and He leads us to eternal life with You. Let me be purposeful in living my life, for I never know who might be watching and following me even if just for a moment. I pray they only follow me long enough to follow Jesus for themselves!

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“’Come, follow Me,’ Jesus said. ‘And I will make you fishers of men.’” Matthew 4:19

“Then He said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?’” Luke 9:23-25

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, who am I following? Who is following me?

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Heavenly Father,

My preschoolers love to play a game where they follow the leader slowly, then quickly with a STOP thrown in every once in a while. They have lots of fun and don’t even realize they’re learning to listen, follow and obey. I love being an under-the-radar teacher…provide the lesson with love and passion; then let them learn from doing! Of course, little people are far better at the quick part than the slow…and the STOP is usually just barely more than a pause. But then, we adults are pretty much the same, aren’t we, Lord?

About a year ago, I was teaching a women’s group from the very practical book of James in the Bible. One particular verse struck a deep chord with all of us. In fact, it gets brought up frequently as almost a rallying statement in our group: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” from James 1:19. You are the Teacher calling out as we follow and learn to obey. As adults, we seem to wander around obstacles and challenging situations with ample opportunities to practice these spiritual skills. We haven’t mastered them yet, but Your still calm voice keeps repeating the instructions, watching to see if we are learning to obey.

Father, help me grow in obedience. There is one “Quick” and two “Slows” in this verse. The “Quick” actually requires us to stop our mouth and listen to You and others. The “slow to speak” is almost impossible without Your help. So is the “slow to anger!” My young students’ favorite part of the game is the STOP. They never know when it will happen. They have to freeze and listen. The longer I live with You, Lord, I believe the STOP is my favorite part, too. As I stop and am still before You, I am learning how to listen to You and others. Then I find the Holy Spirit slows me down and filters when I need to be angry and when I need to speak. Lord, that’s why I’m stopping right now to listen to You.

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“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”   James 1:19-20

“Be still and know that I am God…”   Psalm 46:10

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”   James 1:22

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me stop and be still and listen to You right now…

 

 

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Heavenly Father,

Yesterday at work, I pulled my cell phone from my pocket to check the time and noticed a missed phone call from my 11 year old grandson. Emergency bells went off in my head because he doesn’t call on a school day. Noticing a voice message was left, I immediately listened to it. A weak crackly voice said, “Grandma, I called because my throat hurts so bad and I had to stay home from school. I just want you to pray with me so God will make me feel better.” Needless to say, this grandma took a break to call her grandson to pray with him.

I can fully identify with needing someone to pray with me. Sometimes, we just know we are weak and need help praying. There are times we can’t utter the words. Sometimes, we need to know we are not the only ones lifting a situation before You. When my first husband was deathly sick, hundreds of people used to tell us they were praying for us. That was very reassuring. Yet, very few times did someone actually stop and pray right then and there for us in the depth of our weakness. When it happened, it meant more than anyone could possibly know. Immediate strength and renewal came in the midst of those prayers with us. They prayed what we could not at that time.

Father, I’m so glad You hear our prayers- even the ones that do not have words.  I’m also so thankful to have other people to pray with me- to hold my hands up to You when mine have become too weak to hold up.  I love the way You created us to bear one another’s burdens in prayer (not to carry ourselves but to lift them to You). Yes, I love praying with others and having others pray with me.  Today, I feel very blessed to have a grandson who knows to ask someone to pray with him, and believes it will make a difference! Help him feel better, Lord.

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“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”   Romans 8:26-27

 

“Then the little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ When He had placed His hands on them, He went on from there.”   Matthew 19:13-15

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me be humble enough to ask others to pray with me…and to stop and pray with those in need like…

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Heavenly Father,

There are intense battles going on around me right now. I can’t just idly stand by and watch people I love on the front lines being attacked without doing something to help. The situations can seem far beyond my control, too overwhelming for my meager strength and resources. They are! That’s why I have to bring those situations to You, Lord!  It may seem impossible or even none of my business to intervene…yet I know You can and want to work in each situation…and nothing is impossible for You…yet You wait for us to invite You to work, and to trust Your battle plans. That’s why I pray and bring the war to You. A dear friend gave me the movie “War Room” which I recently watched again…at just the right time! It re-inspired me to not take lightly my responsibility and honor of praying in every situation and circumstance, for all those around me, all the time. There are battles (both intense and minor) going on all the time. I cannot afford not to pray!

Someone I care about is fighting a major addiction that threatens their very life. I’m not going to simply stand by and hope they can overcome it on their own (because they can’t). A marriage is under a severe onslaught but I know it can come out stronger than ever. There is rebellion, disrespect and dishonor between parent and child, spouses, co-workers. Two couples I love long to be parents yet still have no child to lavish their pent-up love on. A single mom carries the load of bringing up children by herself. Other moms are fighting to get their children back after losing them due to poor choices. Ministers, missionaries, and believers are under attack for standing for Jesus. Our country and world are under siege. There are so many who do not realize they need You.

There is much to pray about. The battles are far beyond our capabilities. Part of our enemy’s scheme is to make us think we can do nothing; that our prayers do not make a difference (just because we don’t see the whole battle plan). Our foe wants us to feel defeated and render us ineffective so we will not fight. Father, I can fight and pray with absolute confidence because I know You have all authority and are fully aware of the enemy’s schemes. No matter what attack he plans, You can overcome it and make something beautiful from it. Father, help me to keep on fighting the good fight (both on the front lines and behind the scenes). I may be one wimpy looking soldier, but I know who holds the victory and who to bring the battle to! My strength is not in my prayers but in who I pray to!

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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 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 up 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 request. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”    Ephesians 6:10-18

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me to keep praying for…

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Heavenly Father,

Walking into my son’s home that is filled with their multitude of “Fur Babies,” I expected a strong smell of animals after being overwhelmed by the pack that met me at the door. Instead, I was greeted by a pleasing aroma of a cranberry spice candle burning. There was something very soothing about that fragrance that made me feel so loved and welcomed. I’ve been in shopping malls where expensive perfumes and fragrances are so strong, it nearly knocks you over. This fragrance was different. Perhaps it was the love in their home- the deep bond between my son and his wife, the love they have for me and my husband, the love we have for them…even the love they have for those cute hairy canines of different shapes and sizes and that wild cat. What a lovely smell love has!

My husband recently read me the account in the Bible where Noah sacrificed animals to You after the great flood. It was a pleasing aroma to You, Lord. How crazy is it that we can soothe You? That we can smell pleasing to You? I’m certain there are times we downright stink! But when we truly love You and others, it is a pleasing aroma to You. Father God, I want to please You and not be offensive to You. My sinful nature reeks! It can be my attitude, my mouth, my thoughts or my actions. Any one of those can cause You to hold Your breath and gag.

Yet when I let Jesus be Lord in me, then I am a fragrant aroma to You. You can smell the love! So can others. I can be a simple little candle that burns with the love and passion of Jesus Christ. No matter how bad the world stinks, I have the ability to add to its stench or fill my little circle of the world with the sweet aroma of Christ.  To those who desire to find You, the beautiful fragrance will draw them to You. To those who are in rebellion against You, the sweet aroma of Jesus Christ smells like death. Father, may the aroma of Jesus in me rise up to please You and spread out to draw others to You.

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“But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task? Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.”     2 Corinthians 2:14-17

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, let me get rid of my stinky selfish nature and make Jesus Lord of my life so I can be a pleasing aroma by…

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Heavenly Father,

We have a wipe-off board posted on the back of the door at work in the ladies’ restroom that is used for fun communication. Someone starts a sentence. Throughout the day, everyone who visits the bathroom who wants to can add their thought to the ongoing list. Yesterday, on the last day of the year, someone wrote “What is your New Year’s resolution?” One of my co-workers started off the list with “Eat more junk food!” I have a pretty good idea who wrote that! Being a bit more on the serious side most of the time, I wrote “Love more deeply.” Over 35 years ago, I asked You to help me learn to love…and You have taught me more each year. I know it will happen in this new year as well. I want to love You more deeply… and love everyone else more deeply, too.

A Christian radio station has been inviting listeners to go to their website to list their resolutions. The DJ reported that the overwhelming theme is people want to spend more time with You, Lord. Obviously, the best way to share love is to share time and life together. In the last couple of weeks surrounding Christmas, I asked quite a few people, “If you could give anything to Jesus for His birthday, what would you give Him?” The main gifts mentioned were time and attention. Isn’t that what we all want from those we love?

Father, I can resolve to love You more deeply but as hard as I could possibly try, I can’t love without Your help. All love flows from You. You love each of us so much more deeply than we could ever comprehend. We will be discovering the depth of Your love for all eternity. I can spend more time with You and give You more attention: listen to You, follow You, enjoy You, obey You, worship You and willingly submit to You. As I spend more time with You, I will naturally fall more in love with You and will have an ever-growing love for others! So I joyfully resolve to surrender more of my life to You this year and watch expectantly as You help me love more deeply!

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“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed His love among us; He sent His One and Only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us…We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:7-12, 19-21

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me with my new year’s resolution to…