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?

Heavenly Father, I didn’t ask for this amazing answer to prayer but You gave me a glorious overwhelming glimpse yesterday. It happened to be 26 years ago that my first husband Steve died yesterday. Most years Jan 13 comes and goes quietly and softly but I felt moved to post one of his hundreds of poems on Facebook in honor of his heavenly birthday. When I went to pick the poem out, I thought I would be posting one on death and heaven; instead You led me to pick one out on finding new life in the Lord. It was so appropriate after all he did and wrote about life with You. I added a simple line above the post that stated “He’s still pointing people to the Lord.”

Little did I know, You would show me how much has happened since that poem was written. Never had I known anyone who lived so fully yet suffered so deeply in 37 years of life. About 2-3 years before his death, he told me he was going to stop praying for healing. I was shocked and asked “Why?” He said You told him if he was willing to go through this, it would help many people in the future. He was willing. And he did truly suffer. Lord, You were faithful to give him what he needed through the horrific times. You gave him visions and dreams to encourage him. Some of those included actual people who would be helped in the future. You even allowed him to “die” and go before Your throne where he had the choice to come back and be put on life support or stay. Oh, how he wanted to stay—but out of love, he chose to come back to live another important year. (That’s a whole other story.)

Yesterday, my pastor was preaching on “The Power of Suffering” and it might as well been about Steve. You gave me a glimpse of the lives that have been and are still being impacted because of his suffering—family members, church family, and a huge amount of other people that You showed him in a vision including specific people he had never met (some who hadn’t even been born yet). I was the one who got to see some of these specific lives be transformed by Jesus Christ.

Father, thank You for this glimpse of what a single life surrendered out of love for You and others can do throughout eternity. I don’t want to waste whatever amount of time I might have left here on this earth. Help me surrender my moments to You so You can use them for Your eternal plan.

*****

“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 Peter 4:12-13

“If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  1 Corinthians 13:3

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me what I need to surrender to You out of love…

Heavenly Father,

Real relationships are a struggle. It takes a lot of work to truly try to get to know the other person’s inner soul and for them to understand who you really are. The struggle happens no matter what the relationship is- husband/wife, parent/child, siblings, friends, neighbors, coworkers, fellow believers, teacher/student, boss/employee…the list goes on. Time, energy, patience, kindness and understanding are all parts of building love relationships with those around us. It is a two-way street, but we only have power over our part of the relationship. Yet, our part with Jesus in it covers more than we can imagine.

At times, it may seem easier to have a pleasant short “relationship” with strangers because it doesn’t involve the struggle of going deeper. But it’s worth the struggle to go deeper—to love those who are a part of our daily life in a deeper more eternal way. I’ve been going through a struggle lately that has involved several relationships. Each of those was important enough for me to wrestle through. I have been bringing them to You, Lord. And as always, You help me through my growing pains.

When I explained to You how I’ve been working so hard to love them but they don’t seem to understand me, You gently showed me how I can understand them more. When I whined that no one understands me, You tenderly reminded me that You “get me” better than I even understand myself. You pointed out that it was just as important to share my soul with them as to understand theirs. When I complained that it seemed as though they didn’t even want to try to know me better, You didn’t say anything…

Your silence reverberated in my soul. How often do I truly try to get to know You better—to understand You—to get to know Your heart? How often does it seem like a one-sided relationship to You, Lord? You do all the giving and the loving, and we just want more. Father, it is worth the struggle to me to go deeper in my relationship with You. It is worth it to discover more of Your heart by reading Your word, by spending more time just listening to You, by keeping my eyes open to see Your glory all around, by thanking You for Your indescribable love and blessings, by worshiping and praising You in and out of church, by writing and singing to You, by learning from You, by following Your lead every single day. You gave Your all when You sent Jesus to die and rise again for us. There was no way we could ever have eternal life with You or even begin to understand You without You giving everything. It may take a struggle on my part to keep seeking to know and love You more deeply but it is so worth it.

 

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“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, nor 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. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”  1 Corinthians 2:9-12

 

“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

 

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:12-13

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, I want to seek more of You…

Heavenly Father,

It’s easy to fall prey to sadness when it is gloomy outside. I am usually a very upbeat person (even being accused of always seeing the bright side) but everyone faces storms and cloudy days—even if it is only seen by one’s self on the inside. My brother takes amazing daily photos of the sunset on the lake by his house. It is the same exact lake view, but not one of his hundreds of photos are ever the same. Some are made up of glorious vibrant colors that take your breath away. Others are dark and gloomy. The lake is the same. Trees have not moved. The sun still sets in the west. Some days there are clouds, birds, or people in the photo; other days there’s nothing in the photo but the water and sky. The weather can affect our view. Our mood can make a difference in what we see. Too much on our minds; the stress of trying to control our circumstances; worries and fears can all attempt to blind us to the glory all around us.

That’s why, though I might feel gloomy tis morning, I still come to praise You through the grey skies. All may seem dreary—but when I purposely begin to turn to You, calling out to You, praising You for who You are, my view changes. When I stop to remember that You, alone, are God Almighty; that You are the Creator and Designer of all there is; that You hung the sun, stars and entire galaxies into place and cause them to stay there; that You are still the same glorious God though I cannot see You at the time; that You are still shining just as brightly as ever.

As I praise You, my Eternal, Everlasting, Majestic, All-Powerful, tender, merciful, Righteous, Holy, comforting, True, Faithful, Forgiving, Expectant, Constant through the Ages, Victorious, Most High God—there is a little part in the clouds and a ray of Your glory shines down on me. You sustain me, encourage me, direct me, guide me, restore me, refresh me, heal me… Most of all, the sweet joy of Your presence melts away the greyness in my spirit. Once again, I know that You are still God. There is no darkness or hopelessness in You at all. Though there might be some grey days here on earth, the time is coming when I will see you in all Your glory. My view of You will be unhampered by the clouds of this life. When I praise You, I get a sneak peek of Your glory!

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“Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” John 1:4

 

“You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”  Psalm 18:28

 

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.”   Matthew 6:22-23

 

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12

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Prayer Prompt-

Most Holy Father, am I looking to You or something else?

Glorious Father,

Anything that is living is always changing. It never stands still. A favorite saying in Oklahoma is “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes. It will change!” That’s not only true for the weather, but for life itself. We are always going through different seasons in our lives. Whatever we have gone through in our past has already happened. We may not be able to change that, but when You are made the very center of our lives, You take all the good, the bad and the ugly and turn it into something glorious as we hold it before You. All praise and glory to You, Father! The hurts, pains, disappointments, mistakes, sins, abuse, darkness do not have to hold us captive all our lives. Through Jesus Christ, we are made free and You carry us from glory to glory into the next season of our lives! Thank You that my life did not stand still in darkness!!

Whatever I am facing right now will not stay this way. Whether it feels like a blessing or an overwhelming trial. Each moment is to be savored for it will never be exactly like this again. Babies grow up. (Sleep will come again). The “terrible twos” do not determine that child’s future personality. You can carry on deep conversations with teenagers one moment and be stabbed in the heart by their words the next. Your parents can be strong and invincible one moment, and frail and vulnerable the next. No one but You, Lord, knows when our last earthly breath will be, so help me to enjoy this particular moment which will never happen again. It is precious (even when it happens to be painful) for You are making something beautiful through every single moment we live with You.

You are the only One who holds the future. I might as well not dread it, for what I fear may never even happen…and if it does happen, You will be at work in that particular moment as well. You love me with Your perfect love and I can completely trust You for this particular moment and for all eternity! Life circumstances, the people in my life, my health, my plans, my dreams—are all always changing. But all is well because, You, my Loving Lord, never change! You are God and I bow before You in ever-growing love and adoration!

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“I the Lord do not change.”    Malachi 3:6

 

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows.”     James 1:17

 

“And He (Jesus) said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’”  Matthew 18:3-4

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, do I trust You through all changes?….

 

Heavenly Father,

For a long time, I have asked You to lead the weekly Bible Study growth group I facilitate. It’s always an adventure to watch how You lead. It never goes like I expect. I’m always surprised by the ways You teach all of us. The latest lesson You are leading us in has been through these “hawk attacks” as I go on my morning walks. There have been a series of attacks starting with a silent hawk zooming from behind with great power right on the top of my head! There has been a fair amount of fear try to keep me from walking as there have been more threats on sequential walks—but, Lord, I know You don’t want me to give in to fear.

So besides yelling at them and shaking my keys, this morning I pulled my long ponytail up and wore a straw hat. The huge birds were still out in full force all around me but I felt protected. As I walked past one scene of attack, there were four of them sitting high on the dead branches protruding high above the live part of the tree. Right as I walked past, a car drove by in the otherwise deserted street. I felt Your timing. They would not attack while something so large and powerful was there. As I passed by the first painful point of attack, there just happened to be four young people I had never seen walking together on the other side of the street. They passed by exactly at the very point of attack. They were talking about Jesus and said His name several times!

Father, thank You for the reminder that You are always with me protecting me. You won’t let anything through unless it is somehow for Your glory. All I need to do is be on alert for the attacks that are certain to come; be dressed in Your armor; overcome fear with the knowledge that You are with me; keep around other believers; and trust in Your protection, timing and angels; and use Jesus’ name to ward off the enemy. Help me to keep on walking with You (and to finish the lesson on “weapons and armor” that I didn’t know I was teaching—but You are leading for tonight! Just following Your lesson plan, Lord!)

 

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“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”  Ephesians 6:10-18

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of suffering.”   1 Peter 5:8-9

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me where I’m being attacked right now and help me stand in Jesus Christ…