Heavenly Father,
We don’t go fishing as much as we used to. Of course, “our” form of fishing is me sitting on a chair in the shade writing in my prayer journal or reading a book while my husband walks around fishing! He gives me a hard time because there have been several times when he really worked hard at catching something and asked me to just keep an eye on his pole while he went to get something. They seem to “bite” right at that time and I get to be the one who pulls it out!

Fishing in Oklahoma is not the same as in some parts of the country. The water is muddy. You don’t get to see where the fish are. You have to try to figure out where they might be hanging out and cast your baited hook into the clouded water. As I watched my husband out in the sun, moving around, trying different lures, I decided it takes a lot of work to go fishing. Sometimes, you get enough fish for a delicious fish fry (But that even takes a lot of effort!) Other times, like last night, you get sunburn and mosquito bites but no fish—just 2 little nibbles. Fishing takes a lot of patience and perseverance.

Jesus told a few of His disciples who happened to be experienced commercial fishermen to follow Him and He would make them “fishers of men.” Father, help me keep casting out Your good news of Jesus Christ. The waters might be muddy. I may not see how Your Spirit is already prompting others to latch on to You. It may seem like I am not doing any good at all. Help me keep at it. I may get hot, tired, come up against opposition and get bitten by pesky attacks; there may be a lot of times I see no results…but oh! The joy of seeing someone turn to You, being saved by Jesus, encouraged by You and touched by You! It is worth all the time and effort! It is a shared joy between You, the one who is finally caught by You and the one who had any kind of part in it! I love fishing with You, Lord!

 

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“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow Me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed Him.” Matthew 418-20

 

“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered. He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” John 21:4-6

 

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your Master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, show me how to fish…

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?

Heavenly Father,
My mom’s eyes still sparkle though her body grows frailer. When I take her to the doctor or out somewhere, people talk to me instead of her—thinking she can’t hear, think or speak for herself. How wrong they are. She still has that same strong spirit that I knew when I was a little girl. She could handle whatever came up. My mom seemed invincible. Just because her body is bent over and she needs a walker or wheelchair to get around…just because her hair is grey, there are wrinkles, and she requires assistance for more things does not mean her spirit or mind has grown helpless. Since she now lives with us, I’m getting another close-up view of growing older.
In our present society, where youthful beauty, strength, fit bodies and sharp minds are glorified, the elderly get shuffled to the side like their purpose is over. I have seen businesses, churches and organizations disregard all the knowledge, experience and wisdom of the older generation. Little do they realize they are building on the life-long sacrifices and input of those who have built before them. I have even heard younger leaders openly say they are trying to reach the young generation and if those who are older don’t like it, they can leave. Father, I have to wonder if they have even given thought to the fact, they will someday soon be the older ones. It happens more quickly than can be imagined.
Lord, help me to give honor and respect to those whose bodies and minds are growing older. Help me teach younger people the importance of respect for the older generation. Help me see these people who are just a couple of decades older than me as the unique incredible individuals that You created. Prepare me to grow older gracefully. And thank You, Lord, for the promise of new imperishable bodies to house our ageless spirits. You are God Almighty who never ages and is the same for all eternity… and You invite us into eternal life with You.

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“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Deuteronomy 5:16

“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32

“So it will be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raise imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, how am I treating those who are older than me? How am I treating those who are younger?

 

Heavenly Father, today is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent- the season approaching Your priceless gift of Jesus’ death and resurrection for our eternal salvation. For years, I didn’t know what Ash Wednesday or Lent were since the church I grew up in didn’t always observe these traditions. I am all for anything that helps us realize who You are, Father…and who we are. Ash Wednesday was established to help us realize and admit we have sinned against You, Lord. That is true. Those who observe Ash Wednesday, have ashes placed on their foreheads often in the shape of a cross with a spoken reminder that our bodies will return to dust. That is also true. Yet, as I was contemplating what to give up for Lent this year, You placed “enjoy” on my heart. What a surprise!
Realizing I am a sinner and giving up something I really like usually doesn’t immediately spell enjoyment! But as I think about who You are, Lord, and all You do for me, I am humbled as I think of the ways I have disappointed You, not trusted You, rebelled against You, ignored You, argued with You, been prideful in front of You- in all Your majestic glory! Oh yes! I have sinned against You. Yet, I know that as soon as I ask, because of Jesus, I am forgiven. I also fully understand that my body will return to dust. I have buried far too many loved ones to not realize how real that truth is. So where does enjoyment come in?

The surprise for me came this morning when You pointed out that I was created for Your enjoyment! I wondered how I could possibly bring You enjoyment… I thought of my children and grandchildren, and though they made mistakes and might have rebelled against me, I enjoy who they are, who I know they are becoming. Their feeble young attempts to show me love in their limited way and watching them grow and mature has brought me immense enjoyment in my life!

Then You placed on my heart that I need to enjoy You! I can only truly enjoy Your very real presence in my soul when I confess and turn from my sin; when I realize I cannot be holy enough to dwell with You without my Savior Jesus to completely do away with my sin. It is done! I also realize I still need to cut out things that want to sneak in and take priority in my life. How can I truly enjoy You, Lord, when I am focused on other things? So yes, I am ready to admit I need Jesus, and I will give up things which threaten to come between us. But I will fill those areas that are taken away with the rich enjoyment of Your presence that I can savor for all eternity long after this body has turned to dust! You enjoy me so I can enjoy You! Sounds like love!

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This prophecy about Jesus in Isaiah 61:1-2 is how much the Lord enjoys us and the only way we can truly enjoy Him:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3-4

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, How can I bring you enjoyment….

Heavenly Father,

About four to five years ago, You put on my heart to host a Ladies’ Retreat. I started praying about it, not wanting it to be my planning but Yours. I wanted You to completely lead in every single aspect of the conference. I really wanted every single decision to be led by You.  I asked a group of my sisters to join me in prayer. We all prayed for two years before it was obvious You were ready to go forward with it. As it entered the organizing stage, we prayed for every single aspect from the theme to those leading or sharing testimonies to the bags distributed. It was incredible to watch You do things we could never dream of or plan. Two years ago, the event was a spiritual success in more ways than we could ever know! (Including large numbers of women involved!)

Ever since, I have tried to simply follow Your lead instead of coming up with my plans then asking You to bless them. It’s been an adventure! This past weekend, I was sort of “in charge” of our little church’s very first Parent’s Night Out. Once again, I wanted You to lead every part of the way. The same thing happened; You picked out people to serve in different areas which were a surprise to me. Everyone involved was excited and “on fire” to be a part of something that would serve children and their families around the church neighborhood. Friday night, we had about thirty volunteers ready to serve whoever came. They had each poured their hearts into their part. Four children showed up! I was more disappointed than anyone. Not one of the other volunteers let it dampen their enthusiasm. We went through the evening with those four kids getting a lot of love and attention. Most every one of the volunteers asked when we were going to do the next one!

When I got home, I looked at the one good picture I got of the evening. It spoke deeply to my soul of the success of the evening. There was someone I never expected to volunteer reading a story of the miracles of Jesus to two of the kids. Later, You woke me up from a deep sleep and spoke to my still disappointed spirit. I thought of all that went into preparing for that night and the four kids who came. I thought of all the prayer and work which went into the Ladies Retreat and how You used it to affect so many lives. Then You spoke to my heart, “Just look at what I will do for even one!” Lord, my job is to follow Your instructions. The results are up to You. You will go to amazing lengths to reach even one single person. That’s success to You! Thanks for letting us be a part of a miraculous evening!

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“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father in heaven. What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about the one sheep than the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”  Jesus said in Matthew 18:10-14

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7  (thought- not one of us is righteous apart from Jesus Christ.)

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, I admit my great need for You and the great value You have placed on each person…

Heavenly Father,

It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last that I see Your children be the hands and feet of Jesus. What a blessing to watch our small church turn out in big numbers to prepare 700 gift bags to hand out to every student at a nearby elementary school. Many hours were spent sorting toiletries, school supplies, water and snacks for every child and teacher. Then there came an assembly line to place each item in the bag and tie it with a bow and place them in boxes to transport. This all started with prayer beginning at the first of the year where a small group gathered faithfully to ask You to lead in reaching out to the nearby community. Then came a “chance” meeting with the principal, another “coincidental” appointment with a ministry that joins churches to neighborhood schools.

Father, thank You for using a small-but-willing church to do what seemed impossible. There has been and will continue to be constant prayer for the students, families, staff and teachers of that school. Yesterday, I was able to witness five vehicles load up those gift bags, drive them to the school and personally hand them out to each classroom and teacher. It was much more than just gift bags. It was encouragement, hope, and prayer in the name of Jesus Christ delivered with love. For a school considered to be low income and at a failing level in the ratings, it was the knowledge that this school holding all those kids, teachers and families is not alone in their fight. This was the first delivery this year but it started at the end of the last school year. We could all feel the attitude change as we went through the halls from class to class. It was as though Jesus was walking in the halls with us, bringing light into the darkness. Teachers knew they were being prayed for. Students felt loved.

What a joy to see the hands and feet of Jesus at work in just one situation. You are always at work all over the world using Your people, Lord! There might have been some weary and sore hands and feet and backs after all that work…but we finished right as the bell rang for the end of the day. Then we watched an amazing exit of little feet carrying bags of love in their hands as they headed for home. I can’t count how many times we were told “thank you!” with big smiles and even some hugs. Lord, it is unbelievable how You can take our prayers, time, effort and feeble hands and feet (and sore backs) and empower them through Jesus Christ to do eternal things! It all begins with You! What a joy to be part of the body of Christ- even if I only feel like a little toe!

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“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.”   Isaiah 41:13

“Yet, O Lord, You are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.”  Isaiah 64:8

“And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.” Ephesians 1:22-23

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, help me listen to You and obey as You tell me what to do, concerning…