Heavenly Father,
One time in my early twenties, I was going through what seemed like more than my share of some pretty intense trials which seemed to have no way out. I needed to talk to my dad; so I went to find him where I could almost always find him—at the end of a water hose watering plants in one of the back commercial growing greenhouses. I was in luck because that meant no customers and his undivided attention. He listened with compassion as I poured out my heart. Then he told me I needed to go home and read the book of James from the Bible. So I did. I read through part of the second verse… “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” I was so mad that I closed the Bible! How could I count these intense situations I was going through as joy!? It took me many more trials and turning to You, Lord, to realize I could truly consider my trials joy…

When I first began facing all these adult trials, I thought no one else in the world ever had to face so much hardship. Since that time, I have discovered that this life is filled with trials of many kinds, and every single person faces their own unique testing and obstacles. Little did I know those first trials I faced were nothing compared to some of the trials to come. I finally read the rest of the book of James—including the rest of that sentence I closed the book on earlier. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Lord, I’m so glad I am not in my twenties any more. Yet now I truly can count each and every trial I have gone through as joy. Each challenge has shown me how weak I am and how much I need You. Each trial has drawn me closer to You because I knew I could not get through it on my own. Every time, I have learned that Your ways are far better than my most brilliant ideas. My faith in You has grown through having to trust You. You have developed perseverance in me and I have learned to stop and consider any new trial joy because I know You will work out things far better than I ever could! It is a joy to persevere through this life with You, Lord! I will persevere all the way until I finish this race and You come get me!

 

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“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

 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 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 12:1-3

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:3-5

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, what past and current trials can I consider joy?…

Heavenly Father,
Yesterday’s sermon took me right back to something that happened in my early twenties. I was a young married mom, facing several extremely hard difficulties. They just kept coming and I thought I was the only one in the world who had to face so many challenges. So I went looking for my dad. I could usually find him watering in one of the family’s commercial greenhouses. I followed the water hose in one of the growing greenhouses where the public didn’t go. I was glad to find him so I could pour out all my troubles to him. He patiently listened and then told me to go home and read the book of James in the Bible. So I did. Almost the very first sentence said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance…” There was much more, but that made me mad so I stopped reading (at least for a while!)…

Since that time, I have faced many more trials (many which were even harder than what I was facing at that time). I have indeed learned much from each and every trial. My faith in You has grown stronger. You were already faithful—it just took me going through those challenges to realize just how wonderful You are, Lord. Now, I can understand. I really can consider it pure joy when I face trials—because You are up to something good! Each test has brought me closer to You! There is no greater joy!

Lately, some of my adult children and different friends have been facing some hard trials. I can even consider that joy because I know You are using those tests to help them see their deep need for You. Out of the pain will come eternal gain which can come no other way. From their weakness, You can give them Your strength. Most of the time I remember it is not my place to fix their challenges or take it away because their greatest growth will come from these trials. I can stand by them, listen to them, pray for them and lift them into Your faithful care. I can encourage them to turn to You in their trials. You know what is needed in their lives and what is required to eternally bless others through them.
Father, I pray for each and every person who happens to be reading this prayer to consider it pure joy when they face the trials they are going through. You are up to something good! Help them persevere in You!

 

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you can be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-3

 

“Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7-8

 

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” 1 Peter4:12-13

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, let me tell You of my troubles and then trust You with joy with what is coming!

photo by my brother Rodd Moesel

Heavenly Father,
Many people are enduring multiple storms right now. There seems to be a path that just keeps pounding the same areas over and over with tornados, hail and flooding. The pictures and videos of entire Oklahoma towns and farms under water along with homes destroyed by tornados are difficult to see. I am so grateful that most of the tornados are small and do not stay on the ground for long. There is more severe weather predicted today. These series of storms remind me of all the storms I have endured in my life.

When I was a young mom, we moved into a single-wide mobile home out in the middle of a pasture with no trees to block the wind. About a week after we had moved in, everyone was sound asleep when I was wakened by a powerful gust front that was blowing our little home with such force that I knew the next gust would literally blow it apart. I didn’t have time to wake my husband lying next to me or my two small children at the far end of our vulnerable home. All I could do was cry, “Jesus!” You immediately calmed the wind so there was not even a breath of it blowing. It was a calm beyond any calm I had ever known. I will never forget You calmed the wind for me! Everyone else slept through it.

I have been through hundreds of raging storms since that time long ago—some weather-related; others were financial, fire, suicide, health, life and death, relationship-related… As amazing as the time You calmed that dangerous wind for me long ago, it has been even more amazing how You have given me Your incredible peace through the midst of short outbursts or long-enduring turbulent storms which seem to never end.

It is a peace that comes from knowing You are with me—no matter what—through beautiful calm days and every kind of storm. Lord, I pray those in the storms see that You are with them.

 

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“A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was in danger of being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke Him (Jesus) up, saying ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided and all was calm. ‘Where is your faith?’ He asked His disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him.’” Luke 8:23-25

 

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 127:28-30

 

“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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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, help me to call to You in this storm I’m facing…

Heavenly Father,
I am learning to slow down and enjoy You and this life. We can be so driven and busy that it can easily stress us out. There are spoken and unspoken messages everywhere that tell us we need to be doing more. We are constantly hearing voices that tell us we need to be cleaning our house, cooking, mowing, driving, shopping, making contacts, phone calls, texts, projects, chores, excel at work, get involved, speak out, keep up with latest entertainment, stay in shape, get healthy, manage our money, volunteer…

We all feel the pressure of this world…but I have learned to zealously guard the peace You offer. Like most people, I have lived through many extreme challenges. I learned to pray my way through each one. It is in that precious prayer time with You that I find one of Your most priceless treasures—Your peace. It is not the kind of peace the world offers—sitting on a tropical beach or a hand sign to be thrown around or even lack of war. It is Your peace—found in trusting You—our Lord God Almighty. It is the peace that comes from Jesus Christ who never leaves us or forsakes us. It is a peace, knowing that You are God and all is well.

This peace does not come without a battle. I have had to fight to find it, wrestle to hold on to it and jealously guard it. This world (and even well-meaning people) want to rob me of my peace. I will not give it up. It is mine—my gift from You. Your peace is given to me in the midst of this crazy world with all its difficulties, disappointments, attacks, wounds, pain, evil, darkness…
My peace is found in You, Sweet Lord. The very moment something or someone tries to steal my peace, I run to You. I sit in Your presence and bask in who You are and savor Your love for me. All is well. You are with me. You don’t pressure me or stress me out. You love me to simply come and sit with You and soak up Your peace. Then You send me out full of Your peace. You can accomplish more in and through me as I rest in You in one moment than a whole lifetime of me being stressed out, trying to do things on my own power.

Lord, help me recognize as soon as my peace is threatened to run back to You for more. You love to share Your limitless peace with me so I can share it with others.

 

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“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, I need Your peace…

 

Photo by my brother Rodd Moesel

Heavenly Father,
It seems like everyday I have to struggle in some form with this question. As I bring all my hurts, plans, dreams, mistakes…As I come to You in prayer letting You know how I feel about whatever is going on, I have actually found I am wrestling with the same issue: Is this part of Your will or mine?

Hurts– Lord, You know me better than anyone. You know how easily I get wounded. It is easy to come running to tell you about my latest encounter with someone who knew or maybe didn’t now how badly they had hurt me. How easy it is to spout off the pain that was wrongfully inflicted. How tempting to stay in that hurt and let it escalate out of control. You patiently listen to me spew about my very real hurts…then You remind me how Jesus reacted when He was hurt by His friends and enemies. He forgave them and prayed for them. Lord, perhaps these very hurts I want to wallow in are an opportunity You can let Your Holy Spirit show through me. Perhaps it is Your will to let my response be through Christ to draw someone closer to You…

Plans– Father, as I plan out my day and try to accomplish everything as quickly as I can, I have to fight against feeling resentful when an interruption comes. Don’t they realize what important things I have to do? When I stop to listen to You, Your Spirit gently reminds me that my plans will accomplish little, but Your plans make a difference eternally. My plans may seem critical- but Your plans are life-changing. Let me be ready and willing to drop my little plans for Yours.

Mistakes– Lord, You know I hate it when I realize I have made a mistake; when I missed an opportunity; when I reacted wrongly; when I misjudged someone’s motives…Lord, it is all too easy to beat myself up and want to quit trying so it won’t happen again. Yet, how often my mistake has resulted in a new awareness of how weak I am; how much I need You; a new humbleness before You and others. You make no mistakes, Lord, yet You take my mistakes and turn them into something new and glorious as I bring them before You.

Dreams– Father, I think of the dreams and goals I have had in my life. They seemed so great and lofty at one time. You have taken my huge visions and whittled away all the empty fluff. Lord, as I try to live by Your mission for my life (to love You and others) it is amazing what incredible power there is in doing little things with You- like enjoying You on a quiet walk, a spontaneous loving conversation with a stranger in a check-out line, dancing with children, hugging and praying with someone hurting…

Lord, it is a good fight. Help me keep dying to my own will and truly be willing to do Your will with rejoicing.

 

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“Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.’” Matthew 26:39

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 23:37-39

“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 loses his life for Me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Most Holy Father, what of my own will do I need to let go of today?

Heavenly Father,
Today I took a photo of the miracle Clematis for my neighbor. It had never bloomed before…until the day her husband was getting his long-awaited heart transplant. She ran home to get something she needed before the surgery and the vine that had never bloomed was in bloom for the very first time. The Lord used this vine in a very personal way to let her know all would be well. It has bloomed every single year since for the first time on April 22—no matter what. Even years later when her beloved husband died, it showed its first bloom on April 22…and every year since. My friend recently had to go stay out of state with her daughter. Today she texted and asked me to check to see if it was blooming. I took a photo of it in its full glory! Full of blooms and buds (as pictured)! Just in time to give my dear neighbor hope again for some hard things she and her loved ones are going through!

Father, what would we do without the eternal living hope of our Risen Savior Jesus Christ!!! There is nothing worse than hopelessness. How horrible to think this world with all its challenges and trials is all there is—that things will never get better—that death is the end.

How hopeless things appeared to every person who had put their hope in Jesus to save them they way they thought He should. Their hopes of deliverance from a ruthless government, their hopes of Jesus being the kind of king who would overthrow the current tyrants, their hopes that He would give them the best seats in His Kingdom, their hopes that He would solve all their current issues…There was never more hopelessness and darkness than when Jesus was nailed to the cross and died. The entire earth turned black for three hours with absolute hopelessness….
But You, Lord, had immeasurably greater plans for Your Son, our Savior, to rise victorious once and for all over death and the dark hold of hopelessness. Jesus is our hope! Jesus Christ is our Savior! As we bow before Him and accept Jesus as our King and Savior, we begin to see Him blooming all over the place bringing us hope in very personal ways to encourage us to not give up—to not grow weary of following Him—to not count on the way things appear but to trust He is not finished—to trust His promise that the day is coming when we will never face pain, sorrow, death any more –to have the spiritual power of Your Holy Spirit to face whatever comes our way… I want to thank You for the lovely personal blooms of encouragement You have blessed me with during a challenging time I have faced lately. Jesus, You are living and blooming with hope all around me!

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“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom…they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God…Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped, Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.” Isaiah 35:1,2,5,6

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials…” 1 Peter 1:3-6

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, help me look past my current trial to the eternal hope in Jesus Christ…Let me have eyes to watch for Your living encouragement!

 

 

Heavenly Father,
Just like that, my son-in-law fell through a roof! Life can change just like that- in a split second! Eight days ago at work, a faded and aged skylight which was flush with a metal roof was hidden from view as he simply crashed through and fell 20 feet, landing on some barrels below. The fall didn’t kill him, leave him paralyzed or with brain injuries but his body is broken in so many places, it is now held together with all types of metal, plates, pins and screws—oh… and stitches, tape and bandages. Every time I look at him, I see a miracle! A bionic miracle but a miracle just the same!
Lord, I know You take what is broken and make it new. I am witnessing Your supernatural power at work again in this situation. Here are just a few signs of Your new work coming out of a broken situation:
• A supernatural healing that is surpassing and surprising even the trauma doctors!
• A supernatural determination to push hard to get through this by a very active man!
• A supernatural attitude which I have not heard complain but have certainly heard many of his famous one-liners delivered with that little smile.
• A supernatural team of newly wed husband and wife growing stronger in their marriage
• A supernatural gathering/bonding of family and friends praying in unity
• A supernatural perspective of how frail and fragile our earthly lives are and how powerful and victorious our spirits are as we trust You.
• A supernatural outpouring of selflessness all over the place
• A supernatural selflessness flowing from this broken man who has a supernatural love for every single person who comes to comfort him. He ends up comforting us!
• A supernatural perseverance to push his limits to get better—for his wife, family, friends, medical team and all of us.

Lord, we pray that You keep on taking this broken man and making him new in more and more ways! In fact, make us all new! Give us eyes to see and spirits that can’t help but give You the honor and glory!

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“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” Revelation 21:5

“But He (Jesus) was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

“Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know…Nevertheless, I will heal My people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.” Jeremiah 33:3,6b

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, I surrender my life to You. Make it new!

Heavenly Father,
Recently, my family experienced a family misunderstanding which went to a whole new level. I was fully aware of the attack and at once began praying. I also asked others to pray with me (without divulging many details). I was amazed how many people responded by asking for prayers for their own family divisions. Someone told me that they had never seen any family act like this. I was immediately reminded that as soon as You created marriage and family, the fighting began.

I also remembered that our enemy is not flesh and blood but the spiritual powers of darkness. Satan prowls around waiting for the right opening. He knows that family can hurt us more than anyone else. That’s why his favorite target is marriage, families and churches. He also knows those entities are Your design for love’s strongest ties. If he can whisper, “He always hurts you this way!”… “She always loves them best.”… “They will never understand you.”… “They don’t love you or they wouldn’t hurt you this way.”… or one of his thousand other flaming arrows that hit where it can do real damage—if we let it.

Father, I refuse to let the enemy’s attack fool me. I will fight back with love and prayer and forgiveness. You always win the fight when we hold our hands up in prayer to You through the battle. Even when I need others to pray with me; when I need them to help me hold my arms up in prayer through the conflict—keep me from telling too much about the details of the attack. Forgive me when I fall prey to the enemy’s scheme and begin to believe the family member is my enemy. I will not fall for that! I love my family and will fight for them. I love You! I am trusting You to fight this battle for me and my family. That is why I am focusing on You and not the attack.

Through this particular battle, I have been reminded how far You will go to save Your precious family—Your beloved children. You sent Jesus, who was completely innocent, to take all our blame and shame and hurtful sin against You. While we were still sinning against You, Jesus quietly and willingly went to the cross for us. He didn’t tell us we were wrong. He didn’t try to tell how right He was. He was spit on, accused, slandered, misunderstood, denied and rejected by the very ones He so dearly loved. He was left alone. In His death. The enemy thought he won. Yet Jesus gave His very life and was resurrected so we could spend all eternity experiencing the depth of Your love. Your love always prevails!

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“Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured the hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” Hebrews 12:2-3

“If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, who do I think my enemy is? Who is my true enemy?


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,      Surrender may seem like an action of defeat to the world, but I am learning that it can be the very moment of victory! Most of the time, defeat is pictured as someone who is beat down and helpless in battle and there is no way out so they must raise a little white flag in hopes that the enemy will be merciful. I am trying to surrender before I get so beat down and hopeless—trying to fight battles on my own that You never designed me for. I have definitely lost those battles I tried to take on with my own strength.

                Many times, I have found myself down in the trenches with attacks drilling me from every direction. There was no way out until I held up my little white flag and surrendered –not to the enemy—but to You, my Savior. It is so freeing to discover the peace and joy that comes from not trying to handle things my own way but by surrendering to You. You are always ready to lift me up and renew me. You always have a plan that far exceeds my own silly little schemes. I have always been awed by how You turn the battle completely around when I surrender to You, Lord.

                It’s funny how many times I have sung one of my favorite songs, “I Surrender All.” I really mean it when I say it. I believe I am surrendering it all to You. My hands are raised as I lift it all up to You. The burden becomes light as I trust You to take whatever it is and have Your own way. What joy there is in knowing who my King is, and the power He holds over anything I can possibly face. Yet, over and over I find myself surrendering a new area in my life (or even at times the same area again and again.) At different times, I have surrendered my dear family members and friends one at a time to You, my health, someone else’s health, finances, work, pride, writing, earthly stability, my future, hurts, mistakes, misunderstandings…The list goes on and on.

                Here I am again today, surrendering to You and trusting Your infinite love for me and others. Let Your will be done.

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“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:36

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

“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.”  Psalm 69:1

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, what do I need to surrender to You today?