Heavenly Father,

In this day and age, most of us have chaotic lives with hectic schedules. Every day I see parents picking up their children and rushing to a practice or a game. They barely have time to say “hello” or share the happenings of the day. Meals are fast, often in the car on the way to another location. Every moment of “off time” from work or school is packed with entertainment, chores, errands or activities. Every space is filled with noise from the nonstop blare of TV, radio, news, video games or social media. All that noise fills us with worries of crime, terrorists, financial woes, relationship concerns, what we might be doing wrong, and the terrible shape of the world. We are driven to make more money so we can spend more and then we worry over more bills. We want larger homes then it takes more time to maintain them. It can, indeed, be a chaotic world. Most everyone longs for a more simple life with less stress.

It is up to us to slow down and simplify our lives. We have a choice to answer Your call to “Be still and know that You are God.”  Those quiet times with You certainly simplify our lives. When we consistently take time to be still in Your presence, You help us to get our priorities straight. You show us what needs to be cut out so we are not overwhelmed. You remind us You have a plan for our lives…and it is not to add more stress but to give us Your peace. Lord, You open up a way when it seems there is no way out. You restore and refresh our souls. You teach us how to truly love and enjoy the moments with our families and those You put in our path. You let us know what we need to handle  and what we need to simply place in Your masterful hands. You open our eyes to see the beauty we would be too busy to notice if we weren’t still with You. You reveal more and more of Yourself as we seek these simple times with You.

Lord, help me to consistently choose a more simple life with You. Let me seek You and love You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. You sent Jesus to give me a more abundant life. The more I simplify my life and seek You, the more blessings are multiplied. You are all I need. You are far more than I could ever hope for. It’s simple…I choose You!

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“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”    Psalm 19:7

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Matthew 6:33

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”   John 10:10

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Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, help me seek  You first and above all…

Heavenly Father,

Not only can You help me lie down in green pastures while in a loud MRI tube, but You are revealing Yourself a little more at the same time! Anyone who has had a MRI knows that even the earplugs they give you do not shut out the explosive pounds that reverberate your body. They tell you to lie perfectly still while you wonder if your silver fillings or wedding ring might suddenly fly up to the ceiling. It is amazing how much you want to adjust your position when someone tells you to lie still. But all I had to do was think of You and I find myself in Your perfect peace and am still enough to see You are with me…even in a tight tube!

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to look deep into your body at soft tissue and organs as well as bones. It goes way past my understanding to know how a machine can see under my skin. In fact, it goes way past my understanding how all the bones, tissues and nerves can make my body move! As I laid in that tube, I realized You can see way past what a MRI can see. Lord, You see what cannot be seen…into my very soul. My Lord, You see the very spirit of what makes me who I am. Though You care about my earthly body, You cherish my soul. You look past the blood and guts, the organs and nerves (Though You made them and they are miraculously made!) You know me better than I know myself. You know me more intimately than my husband, family or friends.

You look past all the sin, mistakes, fashionable clothes, make-up, childish thinking, worldly influence, my own silly plans…and see the real me. You see who You created me to be. My doctor ordered the MRI so He can pinpoint the injury and treat the cause. You look into my very soul and see what’s wrong so You can heal my spirit and make it new through Jesus Christ. You created us in Your image, yet we all need Jesus to complete our very soul- to make us whole- to give us eternal life- to heal us- to take away our sin- to continually help us grow into what You created us to be. You don’t need an MRI to see the real me. Search me, O Lord, and take away anything that does not glorify You. Help the very soul of me reflect Jesus to this world and those around me.

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“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me. And lead me in the way everlasting.”   Psalm 139:23-24

“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”  Hebrews 4:12-13

“O Lord, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit up 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” Psalm 139:1-3

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Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, search way down deep in my very soul…

Heavenly Father,

I’m used to helping others when they need help…but I’m not so good at letting others help me. Yet I’ve been getting a little more practice lately. I have a pinched nerve in my back which has caused pain and a very noticeable limp for a couple of months. Co-workers have given me an extra hand without me even asking. Strangers have been opening doors for me. My husband has been rushing to help me. He tries to assist me as much as I will let him. I’ve been rediscovering how self-reliant I think am. I learned at a very young age how to work hard and get done whatever needed to be done without asking others.  When I was widowed at a young age, I had to learn to fix plumbing, cars, and repairs on my own. In worldly eyes, it might seem a good thing to be so self-reliant…but in Your eyes, Lord, it is much better to realize when we need help.

You know full well how much we need You. We could not breathe, move or even be alive without You, Lord. We cannot cause our own heart to pump blood or send thousands of signals to our body to move, blink or rest. We cannot provide food, oxygen or sunlight without You giving it to us. It is prideful to think we can be self-sufficient. In fact, it is downright disrespectful to try to leave You out of our lives. It is folly to believe we can live and plan our own lives separate from You. We were made to need You. Forgive me, Lord, when I try to do things apart from You or stubbornly do things my way.

I can truly say thank You when I get in a situation over my head, or get backed into a place with no apparent way out, or have to take a look at my weakness…because then I know I have to rely on You. It’s a chance to admit I need Your help. I can trust You when I can’t depend on myself. I can watch for Your guidance instead of trying to push my way through. I can join in Your plan as opposed to following my own schemes. I bow in loving submission to You. I admit my great need for You. I trust Your perfect care for me and those I love. Yes, Lord Jesus, I need You…every minute of every day. Help me not forget. All I need is found in You. You help in in the most abundant amazing ways. Here I am, asking for help.

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“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.”  Romans 8:26

“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19

“I lift my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  Psalm 121:1-2

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Prayer Prompt-

Father God, help me…

Heavenly Father,

I know how the women who went to Jesus’ tomb felt. I vividly recall going to sit by myself at my first husband’s new grave. Without the kids with me, I gave into deep wailing sobs as I thought of his poor body buried beneath the cold ground. My soul was overcome with anguished sorrow and hopelessness. The whole world seemed dark and scary as I sat alone in despair. That’s when an unseen hand tenderly lifted my chin to look up at the heavens. The skies were gloriously blue and full of hope and peace. I was reminded that my husband was not in that grave but was ALIVE! He was with my Lord Jesus who was also more ALIVE than I could imagine! Nothing had changed…yet everything had changed. It all depended on what I was looking at- death or life!

That’s why the angels asked the women “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” Jesus may have died on the cross, but He was anything but dead! It may take us a bit to believe in what we cannot see…but it all begins when we believe that You sent Your own Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sin and trust that He is now ALIVE. That’s when we begin to experience the change in ourselves from death to life. That’s when we change what we look at. There is still death all around in this world- not only physical but more devastating spiritual death. Our world is full of hopelessness, despair and darkness which pulls us further toward death. Praise You, Lord God!!! For sending the light of the world, our Savior and King Jesus! When we look to Him and let Him rule in hour hearts, everything changes!

It matters not how horrible the sight looks before me here on this earth, when I look to You- You make all things new, glorious and full of hope. Jesus, You are ALIVE and always at work making things new. You will never leave me or desert me. When I look, I see You every single day. It might be in a scripture, a song, a divine encounter with a stranger or friend, a holy moment, a flower, a sunset or sunrise, a breath of wind, a dove perched right above me, a touch of Your healing hand, a soft eternal whisper… Father, help me to be watching and sensitive to Jesus who is ALIVE! Help me keep my eyes on His LIFE! When I see Him, let me call out in loving recognition, praise and love, “Rabboni!”

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“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightening stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here: He has risen!’”   Luke 24:1-6

“’They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put Him.’ At this she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize it was Jesus. ‘Woman,’ He said, ‘why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’ Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.” She turned towards Him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!” (which means  Teacher.)…Mary went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’” John 20:13-16,18

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”   John 11:25-26

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, trusting in Jesus, help me look at Life right now…

Heavenly Father,

Easter could easily slip by as just another cutesy holiday- with colorfully designed Easter eggs, decorated baskets and fluffy bunnies. We could easily miss the most incredible event to ever happen. The most ludicrous lavish gift was given to us on a cross…where You planned for heaven and earth, God and man to intersect and be joined for all eternity…if we are simply willing to believe and accept the glorious treasure You have shared with us.  To honor what You gave us in Your Son Jesus Christ, we have read the biblical accounts and watched several versions of movies of Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem which include His betrayal, condemnation, beatings, suffering and death on a simple wooden cross. It is more than I can handle or comprehend.

Yet I dare not turn away from it. I make myself listen to His tender announcement to His dearest followers to warn them of His upcoming death. I cry with Jesus as I think of the agony no one had ever endured before as He took on the sins of the world. Every horrible deed or thought ever committed before or since was placed on His innocent body. He was the only one worthy to carry it. I am baffled by the way He willingly held out His hands to be led away when He didn’t have to. I can’t believe He quietly let a well-known criminal be set free so He could die in His place. I cringe as they beat Him with glass and rocks woven in to the whips to tear away His flesh. I make myself watch as they pound the large nails into His precious hands and feet.  I dare not turn my eyes as He tries to pull Himself up on the cross to breathe. Through tears, I watch His life-blood flow out. In the midst of all of it, He calls out to You- to forgive us…for He knows we don’t know what we are doing. Your very own Son experiences the eternal abandonment by You…so we can be forever united with You. I make myself watch as He takes His final breath and dies.

I believe it is critical to look at Jesus on the cross. How else can we even begin to comprehend all You gave us when You gave us Jesus Christ. It is painful and ugly…but I dare not look away. I will not stop watching because it is all part of the most amazing gift You’ve ever given. If I stopped watching at the cross, it might seem hopeless. But I keep watching! Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is critical to our whole gift. It is the greatest act of love ever. It was not the end, but the beginning. I will keep watching….I will not look away…because Sunday is coming! Jesus’ resurrection and victory are at hand! Keep watching!

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“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  1 Corinthians 1:18

“Let us fix our gaze on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Philippians 2:5-11

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Prayer Prompt-

Glorious Father, help me to see what You want me to see on the cross…

Heavenly Father,

My voice has either been gone or partially gone all this last week. That doesn’t work too well as an early education teacher! Getting kids to line up to go outside, or to listen to a book, hear instructions or even hear the words “1,2, 3…all eyes on me!” with no voice above the noisy rumble of preschoolers is truly a challenge. There are just so many distractions. I’ve had to use many creative ways to get their attention! With this being Holy Week (the week leading up to Jesus resurrection), it has been my desire to really focus my heart, mind and soul on what You gave us when You gave us Jesus Christ…but there are always so many distractions! It can be a real challenge to keep my focus on You, Lord! It takes real effort.

Your Son Jesus was tempted by distractions as well. Starting with Satan’s temptations in the desert- for fame, riches, power, food… to His disciples urging Him not to go to Jerusalem after He told them of His approaching death…to the crowd’s rally for Him to be the kind of earthly king they wanted on His triumphal entry into Jerusalem…to His anguished suffering in the Garden of Gethsamane for Your will above His… to those who taunted Him to call on the angels to save Him from the cross while He chose to stay on it to die for us. Jesus chose to keep His eyes continually on You and Your will.

Lord, although it is impossible for me in my humanness to keep my eyes always on You, You have given me Your Holy Spirit to help me recognize distractions and chose to not be overcome by them. I cannot fully explain or comprehend it, but nothing has ever distracted You from loving me. Nothing could ever keep You from sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. Nothing (not even death or the sins of the entire world) could keep Your Son Jesus from rising victorious above all so I can live an eternal life with You! There are absolutely no distractions or end to Your thoughts of love for me. The least I can do is fight against my distractions to spend time alone with You, to read and study Your word, to celebrate Your majesty and holiness with songs, to tell others of Your goodness and love…Lord, help me to turn away from noisy distractions and listen to Your still small voice that offers more than anything or anyone else possibly could.

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“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 12:2-3

“As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven,, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.”  Luke 9:51

“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before Jehovah. And, behold, Jehovah passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before Jehovah; but Jehovah was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but Jehovah was not in the earthquake:  and after the earthquake a fire; but Jehovah was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”  1 Kings 19:11-12

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me be still and listen for Your voice so I can distinguish all the noisy distractions like…

All-Knowing Heavenly Father,

It takes holiness to hold back sometimes. I’m seeing that more and more as I get older. I certainly didn’t understand when I was young. When I was younger, it seemed everything revolved around me. When I wanted a certain toy or dress, I thought I should get it right then. It appeared to me that my parents were being cruel or unreasonable to say “No” to my current whim. As I became a parent, I had to learn to hold back on granting my children’s every wish or demand. I knew what was best for them in the long run. Their development of good character was far more important than giving them momentary satisfaction. What a reward for one of my grown sons (after becoming a dad and admitting he used to get mad at us) to come back and genuinely thank us for not letting him watch certain movies, go to uncertain parties or play games with unstable morals. The greatest reward is seeing his awesome character.

Through the years, I’ve struggled with seeing those I care about in pain. At times, it’s been my husband, children, grandchildren or people who are grieving a death or a loss that has rocked their world. I just want to take away their suffering. But You have shown me the eternal value of holding back. If I tried to fix it, they might gain momentary relief…but if I hold back and simply stand with them in the pain and let You fix it in all Your holiness- there will be eternal results. You, Lord, are the only One who can see the whole picture. You, alone know the good which will come from holding back. That is why it is always better for me to wait upon You and Your perfect ways.

It is comforting to know that it must have been hard for You to hold back when Your Son Jesus struggled in the garden, was falsely accused, condemned to die an unjust death, whipped beyond recognition and hung on a cross to die. It was all part of Your plan to give us eternal life. It was part of Your plan since the very beginning. I can’t imagine the holy love it took for You to hold back when Jesus cried out in forsaken agony on the cross. He died alone without You for our sakes so we would never have to live without You. It would have been easy for You to take the cup from Him; to relieve His pain and suffering…yet You held back. You knew what His death and resurrection would mean to each of us. Father, help me hold back when it is part of Your plan …but let me hold nothing back when it comes to worshipping, loving, obeying and following You!

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“Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from Him. ‘Abba, Father,’ He said, ‘everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.’”  Mark 14:35-36

“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – which means, “my God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”   Mathew 27:45

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”   James 1:12

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Prayer Prompt-

Most Holy Father, thank You for holding back when I ask for the wrong thing like…

Most Glorious Heavenly Father,
               Who am I…that You would know me out of all the millions of people in this world at this time? Yet You knew me before I was born. You know my every thought, dream, desire, secret…You know me far better than I could ever know myself.
               Who am I …that You would even look at me? I am nothing compared to Your goodness and majesty. Even my very best is filthy compared to Your Holiness and Pureness.
               Who am I …that You would love me with a passion which can never be measured or described. Who am I that You would send Your Son to die for my sins so I could live with You for all eternity?
               Who am I …that You continually watch over me and guard me with Your awesome presence. You are always thinking of me. No matter how hard I try to keep You on my heart and mind at all times, my mind wanders. Yet Yours never does. You are forever faithful.
               Who am I…to think my plans and ideas could ever be better than Your ways? Forgive me when I try to get ahead of You; when I try to push my way through; when I have the audacity to tell You how something should be done.
               Who am I…but a short breath of air on this earth; here today and gone tomorrow. Who am I that You would chose to use me for Your kingdom work despite my weaknesses, limitations and shortcomings?
Who am I…that You would comfort me with Your Spirit when I am hurt; that You would revive me when I am weary; that You would guide me when I am unsure; that You would cleanse me when I am dirty; that You would make me bold when I am full of fear; that You would make me speak when I would rather be quiet; and that You close my mouth when I would rather speak?
Who am I …that You sing songs over me? That You never let me go? That You are continually making me new? That You are so patient and merciful to me? That You have promised to always be with me?
Who am I …that You would hear my prayers before they are spoken; that You created me to follow You, to obey You, to listen to You, to shine out for You?
Who am I…? I am but one miniscule person made by You out of all that has been, is now or ever will be. I am Yours and You are mine- though You are Lord God Almighty and are the Most High and Holy! Who am I…just one among many who serves, worships and adores the Great I AM!
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“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You should care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”  Psalm 8:3-5
“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  James 4:14b
“How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake I am still with You.”  Psalm 139:17-18
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Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, who am I…and who are You?