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Heavenly Father,

I don’t think I can take any more! You just keep pouring blessings upon me. Just when I think there’s no room for any more, another one is lavished upon me. There is no way to thank You for them all, but I have to try or I’ll burst!

I am so incredibly proud and thankful for our ever-growing family! Our youngest son and his beautiful wife have begun their awesome adventure of fostering to adopt. These two are following God’s lead in providing love and stability to children whose world has been unstable. From having no children at all, they went to having three little siblings all at one time. (Talk about parenthood shock!) Ever since they started the process of getting approved for this challenge (way before there were any children) I began praying that our huge family would accept whichever children You sent into our family and it has happened far better than I could have imagined! There has been a huge outpouring of emotional, material and mental support for these first time parents who are discovering that children consume your life. The children have already joined in on family outings, cousin time, a zoo trip and our huge Thanksgiving get-together and it is very good! I have been brought to tears more than once by family members who pour out love so easily!

We have another beautiful new granddaughter (not-quite a month old who seemed to be born almost half-grown) who has the lovely gift of staring deep into your eyes and soul for what seems like hours…My 85 year-old mom who leads our family in prayer…our lovely daughter and fiancé who will be married in May…I have a loving husband who cooks and cleans alongside me as we host a meal for about fifty…grown children (and even a few grandchildren) who step in to help cook and clean…grandchildren who are feeling their way into adulthood and those who still crawl up in our lap…grandkids who love spending time with us…grown children who help with my book-writing…a church that allows our huge family to have our get-together in our dining area and gym…a church family whom we love more than we could ever express… a brother and sis who were able to come home from mission in Trinidad/Tabago during Thanksgiving…family that had to miss due to illness, a broken arm, traveling, tire issues, or just plain being a hermit (they know who they are!)…another brother and sis who have spent their lives offering encouragement, jobs and support to everyone in our family…relatives-through-marriage who fit as easily into our family gatherings as their own…family and friends who were not at our gathering but are just as much a blessing to our lives (those who live next door and those who live up North or even down South!)

Father, I could keep on going and going about those I’m thankful for! You have lavished me with the gift of family far past what a once lonely little girl could dream of. And this is by far an incomplete list! We are all joined together as family through the love of Jesus Christ! And to think – my earthly family is but a taste of the Thanksgiving feast to come!

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“Sing to God, sing praise to His name, extol Him who rides on the clouds- His name is the Lord- and rejoice before Him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families…”  Psalm 68:4-6

“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”   1 Timothy 5:8

“I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.”  Ezekiel 34:26

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, thank You for…

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Heavenly Father,

As I contemplate what I am thankful to You for, Lord, the top of my list is You! Every rich and lovely blessing I have flows straight from You. As I count my sweetest treasures, it becomes more and more evident that every single person or thing that blesses my life was lavished on me out of Your great love for me. I can count forever and still not list all the amazing blessings You shower me with. There is no way to repay You or even thank You adequately. You are the great Giver of love and blessings! How can I possibly thank You enough for my wonderful husband, children, grandchildren, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and church family? How can my simple words of gratefulness thank You for the love, joy, peace and happiness that comes from living with You?  There are so many eternal and physical ways You bless me that I can never thank You enough! And yet, it is so important to thank You!

The more I concentrate on what I do have instead of what I don’t have- the more and more blessings I realize I have to be thankful for. It’s as though the more I look at what I am thankful for, the more I see. Many of these things and even precious people could somehow be taken away…but You, Lord God, are mine forever and ever! I don’t want to just be thankful for all I receive from You. That would be such a self-centered, one-sided relationship. I want to be thankful for You in all Your fullness including Your Son and the Holy Spirit. You knew me and even created me before anyone else did. You have always been with me and always will be. Not even death can separate us.

You long to share all of Yourself with me. You held nothing back as You sent all of Your essence in Jesus Christ to pay the ultimate price for my sins which block that full rich relationship with You. You send me Your Holy Spirit in all Your essence to live in me so I might have all Your love, joy, peace and holiness along with Your ever-present presence to comfort, guide, teach, encourage, and strengthen me in all my frailness. Oh yes, Lord- You are my greatest treasure! Above all, I am thankful for who You are and the knowledge that You truly love me and continually lavish me with unending blessings. You are my eternal treasure! And You are not just mine alone…but belong to all who accept You!

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“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:19-21

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46

“…the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, for ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”  Romans 10:12b-13

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, my greatest blessing is…

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Heavenly Father,

It shows great trust when someone asks your help. Even greater trust is given when they say “thanks” as they are asking…before it’s even been done. It’s like they have no doubt they will have your help. That doesn’t happen very often in my life…and I wonder how often it happens in our prayer life with You, Lord. It must not happen very often according to Jesus’ reaction in Matthew 8:5-10: “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, asking for help. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.’ Jesus said to him, ‘I will go and heal him.’ The centurion replied, ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have You come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this, He was astonished and said to those following Him, ‘I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.’”

Lord, I would love to astonish You! I want to start thanking You in advance for Your answers to my prayers before they are even answered – even as I present my thoughts and concerns to You. I don’t want to use my advanced thanks like some magic step that will guarantee that You work things out my way. I figured out a long time ago that Your ways are much better than mine. So I will keep on lifting all my burdens and cares to You and then thank You in advance. For I know You will work things out much better for all concerned than I could ever scheme up.

No matter what the news looks like, or how the world appears, or what’s going on in my children and grandchildren’s lives, what my bills look like or my health looks like…I want to thank You in advance for Your amazing answered prayers in all these and more situations. I tell You about them and I know You will bring about Your most perfect will. I will try harder to end all my prayers to You with a thank-You in advance with a real assurance that You will answer in ways that will astonish me.

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“You are my God, and I will give You thanks; You are my God, and I will exalt You. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”  Psalm 118:28-29

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

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”   1 Thessalonians 5:16

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, I want to thank You in advance for….

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Heavenly Father,

I often step in to teach a class of twelve 3-4 year old preschool children. They can be pretty demanding when they all want to tell me something at once- especially at mealtime when they all want a drink of milk when I’m still passing out other food. I know they are still learning, but boy- it’s really nice when one of them simply says “thank-you” without be prompted! Part of their “self-centeredness” is developmental. They are still learning to think of others and not just their own wants.  It’s a hard but critical lesson to be thankful. I do try to train them to say it, but then ever so often they say it on their own and really mean it! Wow! One sincere thank–you can make up for quite a few loud demands.

Father, I wonder what the ratio is for You?! How many demanding “I wants” do You receive per day as opposed to genuine thank-You’s? I look back at my own relationship with You- in my personal prayer life. Hopefully, I’ve matured spiritually enough to tell You thanks far more often than telling You what I need. I used to be a bit of a whiner- always feeling sorry for myself because someone hurt my feelings, or wondering why I had to wait, or trying to tell You exactly what I need and when I need it. You have been so patient with me, waiting for me to grow up in Jesus Christ- learning to be grateful in all situations, trusting You will always give me the very best at the perfect time.

Father, I hope my thank-You’s cause You to stop and be blessed. I know many people who are listing things they are thankful for all during November. I pray our thank-You’s become such a habit- a deep part of who we are that we will be thanking You for all eternity and still have more to thank You for! I’ve noticed that gratefulness is contagious. If one of my preschoolers says “thank-you,” others begin to say it and the whole mood changes from demands to gratitude. Father, I want to start by thanking You for designing me with the ability to be thankful. The more I thank You, the more I find I have to be thankful for! Let the feast of thankfulness run ramped. I know that our thankfulness has the power to bless our own hearts, other’s hearts…and may our thanks have to power to bless You, Lord!

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“Now on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance and called out ion a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’ When He saw them, He said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him- and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this one foreigner?’ Then He said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.’”    Luke 17:11-19

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, right now, I want to thank You for…

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Heavenly Father,

Passions and emotions are volatile over an election that many people initially were upset about because they were disappointed over the two choices for president. Lord, both candidates are frail humans- just as any president and candidate in history has been. No matter who was elected, the president elect will come and go (just as all other presidents, kings and earthly leaders have.) You alone are God Almighty! You alone stand throughout eternity! You alone are high above all kings and kingdoms and governments- both in this world and in the spiritual world.

You have more power than the mightiest earthly dictator. You could force us to bow down and serve You as our God and King…yet You wanted it to be our choice. You gave us a mind and will of our own to decide who we will serve. That’s incredible since we have such fickle minds which follow the latest craze or school of thought. We are quick to follow our selfish desires, ambitions, and plans. Oh Lord, I am so grateful for Your patience with me. You have waited for me to realize my great need for You. You waited for me to acknowledge my rebellious sin against the very One who created me and loves me. You waited while I chose other people and things above You. You waited while I angrily questioned why I had to go through things. You waited in love for me to make my eternal choice. You have forgiven and forgotten all my sins against You when I chose to accept Your sacrifice of Jesus.

I voted in the recent election because thousands of people (though they never knew me) died in battles to insure and protect my right to choose. I have voted for earthly leaders who do not know me. I read in 1 Samuel 8 where You wanted to be a very closely involved loving King who personally led His people…but they demanded an earthly king. You warned that worldly leaders will tax, send our sons off  to war, make us work and rule our lives. You gave the people what they wanted. Father, I choose You to be my Ultimate King because You sent Your very own pure and Holy Son Jesus to die for my sins so I can be intimately involved in Your life and You can be intimately involved in mine. You love me because You made me and I am Yours. You know me better than I know myself and You still love me! I can trust You to lead me through this changing world which often seems full of chaos and unrest. All is well because You reign forever…and You are personally leading me! Your love is unchanging. You are my God, my King, my Lord, my Choice!

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“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”   Joshua 24:15

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…” Deuteronomy 30:19-20

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. This is My command: Love each other.”    John 15:16-17

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, forgive me for my choices in the past. Today, I choose…

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Heavenly Father,

One of the hardest things to do is give birth. That’s why having a great coach is critical.  Though I didn’t get to see the labor and delivery, I did get to witness the aftermath. Our newest granddaughter was just born into this world into the arms of some amazing parents. Mom gave birth naturally to a 10 lb 5 oz darling girl. By the time I saw the daddy, mommy and baby, they were all glowing! Mom was so proud she did it! She kept thanking her coach husband for his calm soothing “You can do this” attitude. During labor when she didn’t think she could take any more, he kept reminding her with words, touches and looks to relax and breathe. It was definitely teamwork between Coach and wife. Then came the winning celebration of a beautiful new baby to love!

I’ve been noticing a lot of great coaching lately…my youngest son and his wife just began their journey into foster parenting. They’ve been coached by other foster parents for this time. I have watched them coach their children-for-the-moment in the most amazing ways. There is no doubt You are using them and many other amazing foster parents to make a huge difference in children and families…I recently watched my sweet hyper 5 year old great grandson’s soccer game. His kind coaches patiently guided and encouraged him as he constantly stopped to wave at the bleachers and ran off to talk to family. They are making a difference in his life…I think of my parents, grandparents, first husband and present husband, aunts and uncles, church family, teachers, friends who all played a part coaching my life and I am incredibly grateful for their belief in me and encouragement.

Yet my greatest Coach has always been You, Lord! You have been coaching me from before I was born when I was still in my mother’s womb. You are always with me urging me on, believing in me, not giving up on me when I make mistakes or let You down. You are always there when the pain is too much to bear, when I face opposition, when I’m tired and weary, when I need to stop and rest, when I score a win, when I am injured and when I am at my  worst and my best. You are my Coach whispering encouragement, correction, and strength into my soul. How I love You, my Almighty Loving Coach! You will be with me all the way til I cross the finish line and beyond! Thank You!

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“O Lord, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in- behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”  Psalm 139:2-6

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”   Psalm 23:2-4

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

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, thank You for these coaches in my life….