Heavenly Father,

You created every single person that lives. You love variety, colors and differences. It is all part of Your glorious design. And yet You knew that our sinful nature causes us to distrust, dislike and sometimes view those who look or do things differently than us as an enemy. The world will always find some kind of difference to cause conflict between others. It could be the shape of our noses, the language we speak, the foods we eat, what political party we affiliate with, our body shape, what type clothes we wear, the tone of our skin, how educated we are…in fact, there are so many differences, the list is endless. And, if we let any one of those differences cause us to hate, we are part of the problem.

Lord, it looks like there will always be prejudice and racism in this world in one form or another. Having grown up in the 1960’s where rioting and bigotry ran ramped, even as a little girl, I knew racism was wrong. When I went to high school during forced busing meant to achieve integration in schools in the 1970’s, I thought we, as a mixed-race idealistic young student council, could bring everyone together. I found out in very harsh terms at the very first social gathering we worked so hard to plan, that was not going to happen so easily. It takes living together, facing life together, and most of all, living for You, Lord. It takes praying together, worshipping together, crying and laughing together, and accepting one another as we are. It means being willing to get to know one another.

There will always be prejudice and racism in this life, but there are ways to fight it. Instead of being afraid of the differences, Lord, let us love each person with your love. I may not be able to do that with my old sinful nature, but I can with Jesus living in me. He willingly died for every single person even when we were each at odds with You, Father. His love unites us with all our differences and makes us one through Jesus Christ. Whenever I might be tempted to hate, dislike or misunderstand someone who is different than me (which is every single person), remind me that You sent Jesus to die for them—just like you did for me. They are worth loving and treating with respect- even if they don’t look or act like me- even if they look at me with hatred or racism. Father, Your love overcomes prejudice and racism one person at a time. Let Your love work in and through me to make Your Kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven.

 

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“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”    Galatians 3:28

 

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

 

“Salvation belongs to our God,

who sits on the throne,

and to the Lamb.”    Revelation 7:9-10

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me how to love others with Your all-inclusive love…

Most Glorious Heavenly Father God,
I’ve been sheltered-in-place for about eleven weeks. I’m usually going places, working hard, and interacting personally with a lot of people. During this pandemic sheltering, my life has slowed to what would appear to some as a standstill, but my roots in Christ are growing deeper once again. I was called away from the world for a long period once before. It was a different kind of isolation at that time in my life, but I recall the deep growth that took place during that particular period, as well. It was definitely a more stressful time with a terminally ill husband, four kids to raise and the licensed in-home childcare. Though there were plenty of people around me in that other isolation, I looked to You to help me in that desperate time. And You were so faithful to help me.

Now, here I am again- closed away from the world, with much more time to not be rushed in the quietness of Your shelter. How I love being still and quiet with You- praying in much more depth and with a greater peace, knowing You are at work in the sheltering-especially in those who turn to You during this time. For one who grew up with hard work woven deep into my DNA, it is still taking a lifetime to understand that the greatest, most powerful work is done in this quiet time in Your presence. This is when I learn that You love me for who I am- not for what I do. You can use me for Your eternal purposes when I get my own plans, schemes, ambitions out of the way. This is where I learn to hear Your still small voice which instructs me what You want me to do. When it is Your will, there is a sweet peace and rest –even in the “work.” Perhaps, it’s because I know it is Your work and does not depend on me- other than to obey and trust You will give me all I need to do it.

Yes, I do love sheltering under You, learning to trust You more, follow Your lead, love You more deeply, and simply enjoy who You are and the miraculous gift You give us through Jesus Christ that allows us to live with You even here on earth. Who am I—with all my quirks, faults, mistakes, sins, and rebellious attitude that wants to sneak back in—that You would make a way for me to come freely into the Holy Shelter of Your Presence? Who am I—that You would sacrifice Your own Son Jesus Christ—to give me that honor and privilege? Who am I—that I would not take the greatest opportunity ever given—to find every way I can to shelter in Your Holy presence?

 

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“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalm 91:1

 

“For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” Psalm 61:3-4

 

““Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Jesus in Matthew 23:37

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, help me be willing to shelter in You through Jesus…

Most Glorious Heavenly Father,
I grew up busy. Our family operated a huge greenhouse and nursery business so there was always a ton of hard work to do…plus the added activities of church, 4-H and school with lots and lots of meaningful volunteer work. Yet in all that busyness, I often felt Your still small voice calling me to be still and just be with You. As a young girl, I can still recall the peace of being outside and feeling Your breath in the wind circling round and caressing my face, or Your tender way of pointing out the incredible wonders You surrounded me with. Those were precious glimpses of my safe place in You!

Then I would get called back into the duties, chores and planning great projects in my daily life. There was always so much to do and it seemed not enough time to do it… so many deadlines, expectations and my own endless “to-do lists.” In most people’s eyes, I was an incredibly productive person…yet I still caught those sweet moments of pure peace where I could simply enjoy a simple walk in the country or sit still while others fished…moments where I could just be still in Your presence.

It seemed right at the peak of a very worthwhile ministry which involved sharing Your word with children all summer, unforeseen circumstances changed everything. Due to my young husband’s ever-increasing traumatic illness, we were called away from the world and shut up in our own home. I recall asking You why! It didn’t make sense to shut down what appeared to be a very effective ministry and lead us into virtual isolation. Yet the longer we went through the crisis, the more I needed You, the more I cried out to You, the more I lived for those times I could share it all with You—I found all I needed in my shelter alone with You.

There were times I fought against that long-extended isolation with You. The deeper the trauma became, the more I depended on my safe shelter in You. How I thank You, Lord, for sending Jesus so I can live with You now and forever more. The sacrifice of His pure blood has made it possible for me to come to You wherever I am, whatever is going on. You love me—not for how productive I am—but for who I am. You still send me out on missions, but it is a restful work that depends on You and the time I spend alone with You. I love You, Lord. You are my safe place and my life! Wherever you send me, I can shelter-in-place with You.

 

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“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalm 91:1-2

 

“For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” Psalm 61:3-4

 

“It (God’s Spirit) will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.” Isaiah 4:6

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I need Your shelter…I need Jesus Christ…

Heavenly Father,
Most of us are staying safe at home during this pandemic…yet even our home doesn’t feel safe due to the ongoing reports of death, fear, and despair blasted over all kinds of media. Yet there is a safe place reserved for each of us where no one, or no thing, can touch us. This safe place can be entered any time or anywhere. Sometimes, it means fighting off all those dark menacing voices and closing the door behind us. It requires us to be still and know that You are God—and to shift our focus from all the doomsday reports to Your absolute goodness. Our quiet safe place is holy and clean, but we can enter for we have been personally cleaned and sanitized by Jesus’ blood on the cross. Our purity was paid for by His death on the cross once and for all so we can enter freely. This is the time to accept His gift to us…

 

We may be covered with seen and unseen sin. We might look Ok, but we are stained with the sin that is worldwide. We are both carriers and infected by sin. Not one of us is clean enough to enter Your throne room, Lord. Not one of us can receive eternal life without Your purification. Jesus was the ONLY ONE worthy to be born as a man and yet walk unblemished by sin through this world. His pure blood was willingly given on the cross once and for all. It seems too good to be true. And yet, it is. All we have to do is accept His eternal cleansing as we bow humbly at the foot of the cross and let His pure and holy blood pour over us and make us pure so we can enter into eternal life with You!

 

Father, thank You for the eternal cure to this world of sin. Thank You for my eternal life which is promised to me now and forever more. Thank You for the knowledge that death, a pandemic virus, sin, or nothing at all can separate me from Your love. I can walk in this world a little longer until it is my time to be forever with You. I can also step away right now—from this chaotic world into the sweet peace of Your throne room with You. All is well! You are my peace and joy in this pandemic. You are my safe place. Lord, how I want others to find You through Jesus Christ!

 

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“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7

 

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

 

“This is my (Jesus’) blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:28

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, I realize I need a Savior from sin. I accept Your gift of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior now…

All Powerful Heavenly Father,
You have tried to warn us of approaching danger and trials over and over again…but we choose not to listen. All throughout history, ever since sin entered into the world, You have told us there would be hardship. You sent Old Testament Prophets to warn Your people in times before Christ… Jesus warned us (even as followers) there will be persecution, famines, earthquakes and wars…It is part of life in this present world. You never told us You would take away our suffering. You sent Jesus to take away our sin so we can have the promise of eternal life where there will finally be no more suffering.

Jesus came to suffer as one of us yet He has overcome the world! He is with us, helping us to overcome through Your Holy Spirit. Thank You, Father, that He will never ever leave us or forsake us. As we submit our lives to Him, He lives in us enabling us to overcome. Father, I have no doubt that this pandemic was meant to kill, steal and destroy…but I also have no doubt that You are with us in the very midst of this pandemic to bring Your abundant life…so that is what I am praying for…

I pray for every single one of these to submit their life to You, to draw closer to You, to persevere through this pandemic with the hope and strength that can only come through Jesus Christ: for the nurses, doctors, CNAs, Housekeeping, Respiratory Therapists, First Responders and all others who are fighting this pandemic on the front lines…for those who are assisting with the daily needs of others- Nursing home personnel, grocery store workers and vendors, truckers, farmers, food servers, bankers, truckers, teachers, clergy, social workers…for those who are finding ways to help others through this: mask sewers, delivery people, neighbors…

May we all turn to You and realize our great need for You. We were created to need You and love You. We were designed to need and love one another. Father, through this pandemic, let Your glory shine brighter than ever as You bring new life from suffering. Take away our complacency, ingratitude, grumbling, spirit of entitlement, disregard for You, our God and Creator. Let this be a time of revival and turning our hearts, minds and souls to You. In Jesus’ victorious name, we pray. Amen.

 

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“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:17-19

“News about him (Jesus) spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Matthew 4:24

“I (Jesus) 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

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, during this pandemic, I pray for…

 

Heavenly Father,
This past week, I have been fighting for my faith in You to win over the onslaught of reasons to fear. In the midst of ongoing pandemic news reports that are trying to cause everyone in the whole world to fear, we were told my husband had a substantial blockage to his heart which was life-threatening and need to be taken care of quickly. Having had my first husband die from his heart brought on by Lupus, and dear friends who died recently without warning, the arrows of fear started their non-stop barrage. Because of the pandemic, it took longer to set up a heart cath to take care of the blockage. In the meantime, my husband’s symptoms took a sudden turn for the worse. I truly wondered if he would even make it to the heart cath. So I fought through the attacks of fear about my husband’s life along with the worries about the pandemic with prayer and looking to You instead of the ways things look.

The more I looked to You, the more the fear lost its power. My husband’s symptoms hadn’t gone away. In fact, they looked worse. The pandemic hadn’t gone away. It loomed larger than ever, but as I praised You and shared with You, everything seemed like it would be OK no matter how things looked. Even if my husband died, I knew You were still Lord! Even if many in my large family have lost jobs or their businesses are highly affected by this pandemic…even if many of my friends and family work in the health care field during this risky time…even if my beloved family-in-Christ cannot gather to meet right now…even though leaders on all levels are having to make tough decisions that impact so many lives right now…even if I cannot hug those I love…even through suffering and death…

You are God! You reign victorious! You are doing great things! It may look like death and chaos and fear are running ramped, but when we stop and look to You, we realize all is well. It may still look overwhelming, but when we look to You and not at the way things look to our human eyes, it is incredible what we begin to see. By the time my husband’s heart cath was here last Monday, I had prayed almost non-stop. As I sat alone (yet with You) in the parking lot, I couldn’t even make myself work up a fear! Nothing had changed. My husband had scary symptoms all the way up to entering that building alone. But my faith was in You, O Lord! I was still more than surprised when the cardiologist called to tell me they found nothing worth even putting a stent in or anything else done to his heart. All the symptoms were gone after he came out! Praise You, Lord!!!

Help us all to walk through our faith in You and not by how things look all around us! You are doing a new thing in many lives! How I praise You!!!! When we are tempted to look at the way things look, help us fight through it to look to You instead!

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“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:6-8

“God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” Psalm 53:2

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, help me to look to you no matter how menacing things look…

Heavenly Father,
My son sent me a photo of the weights his gym is letting him borrow during this quarantine period. He and his wife do heavy strength training and their plans are to continue at home during the pandemic. My husband and I are going through some intense exercise training during this time…along with millions of others around the world. Our faith is going through some heavy-duty training. Each day brings new burdens to be lifted up to You, Lord. Some seem far too much to bear… but that is where the growth takes place to go further than we have gone before. We might be fearful our knees will buckle under the weight…but You give us Your strength…

My daughter-in-law may be a beautiful young mom, but don’t let her looks fool you. She has become a giant in the strength department. My son got her lifting along side of him. I have watched them grow in strength and endurance from their consistent and faithful lifting. I think back to all the toils and dangers You have brought me through so far, Lord. Each one has given me a chance to exercise my faith in You. Every time it was far more than I could handle, but as I hold those heavy weights up to You—each time my faith in You has increased.

It is not that You have grown stronger. Lord, You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Yet my faith in You has grown stronger with each increase in challenge. My frail body, mind and emotions may not be able to handle any of this…but You have been with me and encouraged me to trust You each time…and You have never failed. It is totally amazing what You can do through me because of Jesus Christ.

Many of us are facing huge weights even above and beyond the social distancing…but You are with us. As soon as we take our stance and lift that weight to You, Your incredible strength flows through us and we are surprised that we can do far greater things than we could imagine because You are with us! Thank You for this opportunity to exercise our faith in You, Lord!

 

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

 

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. ‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” Hebrews 12:11-13

 

“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” 2 Thessalonians 1:2-4

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I lift up these weights to You, acknowledging I need more faith in You…

 

Heavenly Father,
Whenever there are huge things going on like this pandemic, I know You are up to something bigger and better than we can imagine. Jesus told us in Matthew 24:6-8: “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.”

Every mother wishes she could skip the labor and go straight to the delivery of the new precious life she has longed for. We all want the joy of new life, but because of sin in this world, we have to endure the pain before new life is born. Lord, I think of the painful times I’ve been through in my life. More than once, I thought that pain would kill me. It did not. Yet going through those laborious challenges has always brought new glories in my life. Each bout of suffering has squeezed out more of my old selfish prideful nature and given birth to a new more Christ-like spirit.

When I was in actual labor giving birth to each of my babies (who are remarkable men and women now), I was incredibly grateful to have someone I love holding my hand and encouraging me through. Words could never express the comfort from their nearness, the touch of their hand, soft words of encouragement. I was alone in the most intense part of my most difficult birth when a faceless nurse (or an angel?) gently rubbed my back. No one could take the pain away, but how encouraging to know I was not alone.
Father, during these intense labor pains where so many are hurting, scared, and grieving, I pray that they will know the sweetness of Your presence. You never leave us. May Your Holy Spirit touch us, speak to us and assure us that the new life to come is worth all this temporary pain.

What a joy to share the new life with You! For some, it might be the beginning of a new life in Jesus Christ! For others, it may be a deeper relationship with You where more of You and less of us is seen in our lives. With every child I gave birth to, my intense pain dulled in comparison to the glory I held in my arms. With every trial I have endured, the pain has fled in the joy of a deeper life with You!

 

How I praise You for the amazing new life I already see being born from this intense pain we must labor through! Thank You for never leaving us!

 

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.” John 16:21

“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” James 3:6

 

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Prayer Prompt:
Heavenly Father, I need You as my Comforter and Labor Coach right now…

Heavenly Father,
Fear does not come from You! In fact, Your word is full of commands not to fear. I should know. I was once probably one of the most fearful people alive. Only You could take that fear away- and that came when I started placing my faith in You. What freedom and joy to not live in fear! When the temptation to fear rears it’s ugly head, I run away from fear and run to You, Lord. Faith and fear cannot live together. It is either one or the other, and I choose to trust in You.

Sometimes it seems like there is an army of fear trying to get my old nature worked up—fears of viruses, losing a loved one, catastrophes, disasters, cancer, violence, rejection, being deserted, growing older, financial and relational challenges…All these things can seem like giants or even mountains until I look at who You are. You, Lord, rule over all these things and everything else in the world and beyond this earth. Sin and evil will not have the last say. You do. I trust in You- Your goodness and Your sovereignty.

Whatever comes my way, I KNOW I need never face it alone. You are with me. Whom or what shall I fear? I live with You, the Lord God Almighty. You have secured my soul by letting Your Son Jesus Christ die for my salvation and my victory over anything and everything as I place my faith in You. It is incredible to watch those giant fears fade away into nothing as I keep placing my faith in You. I love You, Lord!

 

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“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

 

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, show me the areas I am letting fear get a stronghold…Let me trust You in that area…

Most Gracious Heavenly Father,
We’ve been praying for preparation for the mission trip we are about to go on to India for a couple of months. We’ve prayed for safety, eyes to see what You are doing and willingness to do what You want us to do, for hearts and minds to be open to Your leading and for encouragement to those we are going to visit. Wow! You been preparing us and others, Lord. You are just as much at work in the preparation as the actual trip. What a journey we have had so far and we haven’t even left home!

As time has grown closer for our departure, we asked the head of the college we will visit what he believes is our main purpose this trip. He told us to encourage the young people who have traveled from all over India on foot or on the back of trucks that happen to be going that way. These young people are coming to study so they can go back to be Christian leaders in a country that is full of hardships and persecution for believers. We were immediately humbled. How can we encourage them when they face so much more than we do? But You have been faithful to prepare each of the six going as we have faced challenges, health issues, family who are very adamant about their loved one not going…We knew we would face opposition but it is all turning out for good so we will be more prepared to encourage those we will visit.

The finances seemed overwhelming, but You supplied in the most unusual and incredible ways from airline tickets to pumpkins. We just keep thanking You for preparing and leading the way! It has been inspiring to see how You have involved so many other people who are not going but have become part of the team through gifts of prayer, money, soccer balls, eyeglasses, pumpkins and hay, luggage organizers, power converters… Relatives, various churches, and long-time friends have jumped on board. People who know nothing of missions have become involved and want follow up reports. A dear younger sister-in-Christ has organized a prayer team scheduled to have different people praying for this mission each day at the same time until we return. A non-believing customer who bought pumpkins and mums at our fundraiser kept coming back to ask more questions about Jesus, the church and what we are doing. He initially told his wife not to spend very much but ended up donating the largest amount that day. How I praise You, Lord! Our preparation is to turn to You and let Your Spirit lead. Just the preparation alone for this trip has done more than we could ever ask for or imagine. May You keep preparing us and everyone both here and there who are somehow touched by You. You do great things, Lord!

 

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“In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the Glory of the Lord will be revealed.” Isaiah 40:3-5

 

“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-11

 

“It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, help me prepare by coming to You—so You can prepare me for Your perfect work…