photo by Emily Juliuson

Heavenly Father,
Our pastor gave an excellent message on spiritual transformation today…and I couldn’t help thinking about the three caterpillars I found in my yard on my parsley plant about six weeks ago. I carefully put them in jars and gave one to three of our families to watch transform into butterflies. I wanted them to watch the miracle of transformation take place in front of their eyes. I knew they would need to be patient because it wouldn’t happen fast like the video games they are accustomed to. I have to admit I was a little nervous, hoping they would all make it, since there was only one caterpillar in each home. It seemed extra important for my family who had just lost a baby to watch the transformation that happens when the caterpillar appears to die, and then it is transformed and flies free.

I got fairly regular reports of how they each had to add more parsley when those hungry caterpillars ate everything and were about to burst. One by one, they let me know the crawly critters stopped crawling and attached themselves to something to form a chrysalis. Apparently, every day these wild little boys each watched the non-moving bag with great interest. (That’s a miracle considering the action they crave!) Finally, I began hearing of the first—then several days later, the second—and more days later, the third all had transformed into new creatures! They watched a fuzzy worm turn into an exquisite butterfly and fly away! Who but You, Lord, can do that?!!

It wasn’t an animated or computerized car transforming into a giant robot—it was a living, breathing creature. No matter how hard we try; no matter how many self-help books we read; no matter who we listen to—we can never transform ourselves from one creation to a new creature. We can only be truly transformed by dying to ourselves and letting Jesus Christ live in us through the Holy Spirit.

Lord, I know you made the old me. You breathed life into me and knit me together in my mother’s womb and said it was good. I am incredibly grateful You didn’t stop there. I am even more grateful to be made into a new creation through Jesus Christ. You have made me brand new. You are still making me, transforming me from glory to glory! I look back to my old self and I can see how completely I’ve been changed. I can now fly free with You. Thank You, Lord, that You are continually transforming me into a new creature who glorifies You!

 

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

“We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4

 

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

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, do I need spiritual transformation?….

This prayer was posted with permission from parents…

Heavenly Father,
You are knitting another grandchild in the womb of my sweet daughter-in-law. This precious baby is due right around the first of the year. Even before this tiny little girl was conceived, You already knew her. You knew what Your plans are for her, how she will impact Your kingdom, her parents, grandparents and her entire family. There is not one baby who is conceived who is not fully known and loved by You. Nothing that lives has life without You. You are the giver of life. So even though our son and his wife found out (on their anniversary) there could be serious problems for this precious little baby, we can rest in assurance that You love her more–and have created her for specific purposes.

Perhaps these purposes include a perfectly healthy baby despite what medical technology shows…perhaps it includes us loving a perfect baby with Your perfect love despite what the world might call defects…maybe it includes trusting You no matter what the circumstances look like…it could mean a long blessed life or a life that gets a pass on this earthly life and goes straight to You. It could mean a life of suffering for this sweet little baby.

Lord, whatever purpose You have in mind for our sweet little girl, we thank You for the honor of loving and praying for her now (even before we know what she looks like or what her life entails.) We have had miscarriages and babies who passed shortly after birth in our family. We are also blessed to have a huge family filled with healthy children. Each one is so precious and unique. There has never been or will there ever be another just like them—including this one in the womb.

Father, You know what we would like—to have a healthy baby. We are asking for that in Jesus’ name because You told us we should ask. We have no doubt You can make that happen. We also know that You have given us a love for this sweet baby no matter what. Lord, I pray for Your perfect peace to hold the parents and family of our little girl. I also ask that You help us to trust You and Your absolute goodness no matter what. We hold this baby, her parents and family up to You, and trust Your perfect care. We love You, Lord, and this little miracle You have given growing inside her mommy.

 

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“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11

 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1:5

 

“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, I need to trust You for my situation though I do not know the outcome….

Heavenly Father,
Two days ago, three of my grandkids were playing in my back yard when my six-year-old grandson come running to show me a huge emergency. A tiny baby bird had fallen from its nest a little too soon. It was chirping frantically for its mom and some food. The wings were flapping but appeared to be a ways off from being strong enough to fly. My grandson was near tears, wanting to help the fragile little baby. He has an extra tender heart towards the young and suffering since he is adopted into our family and experienced a lot of trauma in his young life. I told him we needed to leave the bird alone to see if it could get strong enough on its own. My grandson’s heart spilling out of his eyes made it extra hard to do that…

The first thing we did was to pray for the little baby. I thought it best to prepare my grandson that it might not live so we put the frail little bird in Your hands, Lord. I remembered in my prayer that not even a tiny sparrow falls without Your knowledge and if You thought best to take it home to You or help it live, we would trust Your perfect care of it. We left it alone and checked on it later. Our little friend the bird was breathing hard and not making a sound. It was no longer opening its mouth. We got a flat plastic lid and put water in front of the tiny creature and dropped in a few of the tiniest bird seeds we could find. I attempted to get water on a stick and hold it to its closed mouth, but by this time I didn’t think it would make it. My grandson spent the night and the first thing he wanted to check on the next morning was our bird. I stalled him, concerned he would find a half-eaten baby. We couldn’t find it anywhere. My grandson was convinced it flew away or that his mommy came and got it. I was pretty sure a predator got it.

My grandson went home and I went out to water that next evening. There was our baby bird, looking stronger than ever, flapping his wings and half-flying/hopping to get around. I was praising You and called my grandson to let him know! We were giddy together over Your care of this tiny bird. Lord, if You care so much for that one tiny bird out of all the galaxies You’ve made, I know You care for my grandson. Who, but You, knows the ways You will work in his life and the way You will weave even a tiny baby bird into his ever-growing faith in You. I love being surprised by the ways You are forever involved in the smallest details of our lives! I love You, Lord!

 

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“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near Your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.” Psalm 84:3

 

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-30

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, help me to bring even the smallest things to You in prayer…

Heavenly Father,
It is interesting that the man who inspired the first Father’s Day was a two-time widower, dad, stepdad and Civil war veteran who gave everything to raise his own children—but also his stepchildren—with love. Though it was first celebrated in 1910 in the state of Washington, where the daughter of this devoted dad fought to have dads recognized like mothers were. It eventually spread throughout the nation. It didn’t become an official national holiday until 1972! (Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were NOT created to be materialistic, but meant to honor with our hearts.) Lord, a national holiday is not required to honor the men in our lives who are our fathers—either by blood or by choice. We can honor them everyday by the way we choose to live! And it starts with You, our Heavenly Father, who is above all!

You are our Ultimate Father—the One who gives both physical and spiritual life; the One who provides, protects, teaches, guides, picks us up, comforts, molds, serves, forgives, disciplines, stands by, encourages us, never leaves us, lets us learn from mistakes, saves us, tucks us in, wakes us up, watches over us, never gives up on us, is patient with us, is tender or firm as needed, knows us through and through, carries us on Your shoulder, holds our hand, points out beauty and truth, shares wisdom, gives advice when asked, helps us face danger and grow from trials, teaches us by example, gets us out of troubles we got ourselves into, helps us face the consequences…You are always available at any time. You never make a mistake and know exactly what You are doing. You are closer and more perfect than the very best human father—yet in Your divine plan, You choose to use these imperfect men to father us!

Our Great Father of all, we honor You above all and yet we thank You for our dads, step-dads, grandfathers, fathers-in-law, uncles, friends, brothers, bosses, pastors, teachers, elders…the men, young and old, who You have placed in our lives, who have taken the challenge to let You live in and through them to care for Your children—the ones You have entrusted to them. Father, we pray that these beloved men turn to You to receive all they need to father us in a way that honors You.

 

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God commanded us in Exodus 20:12: ‘Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

 

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” Psalm 27:10

 

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. He sets the lonely in families…” Psalm 68:5-6

 

Jesus, the Son of God, taught us to pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name…” Matthew 6:9

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father God, how can I better honor You and the godly men You have placed in my life?…

Heavenly Father,
Since my children were spread out in ages, there were children in our home I was actively raising for over 33 years. Parenting has been a huge part of my life. Of course, you never stop being a parent but it definitely changes when they move out to begin their own lives. I never dreamed my house would stay clean, I could enjoy quiet, and every moment was not taken up washing clothes, doing dishes, making meals, being chauffer, trying to settle sibling squabbles, and wiping noses. Now I find myself in the role of being a “parent encourager.”

I cannot count the conversations with my adult children who are now parents (and parents of the children in my work in child care) as they vent their joys, frustrations and struggle with what they think are failures. So often, they look completely exhausted, frazzled and defeated when they begin their conversations…then as they finally begin to recall the cute things their little ones did or admire the good qualities they notice in their teens, it all becomes worth it. They are once again recharged and ready to go back at it again. They don’t need my advice as much as my encouragement. They are in the trenches…they are doing what needs to be done to raise incredible adults.

Father, I look back at my active parenting years and stand amazed at what we had to endure. I look at these incredible adults who I happened to give birth to and help through their formative years. I can’t believe I had anything at all to do with the amazing people they are today. I even admire what they do as parents. Some things they have carried on from our parenting, and other things are different. Most of that is due to the fact that their children are unique individuals created by You, knowing they would need these specific parents to help form them.

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs there is. There is no guarantee they will be thanked. It takes great sacrifice. It costs more than can be calculated. You learn as you go. Parents become the expert on their particular children. It is exhausting yet their children are depending on them. Father, today I pray for and lift up parents who are actively giving it all they’ve go to parent. I pray they don’t do it alone. May they come to You, Lord, for all they need- refreshment for each day, wisdom from Your word, eyes to see progress, a heart which hears past angry outbursts, amazing grace to forgive their children’s mistakes, strength to teach them right from wrong, wisdom to know they need You and to teach their children that they need You, as well. Father, You are our Ultimate Parent who knows what it is like. I know You will encourage parents today.

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“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24

“Be imitators of God, therefor, as dearly beloved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2 (Just as our children learn by imitating us)

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, which parents can I encourage today?

Heavenly Father,

My grandkids love to dig for treasure. Many times they have dug a hole large enough to sit in—in my landscaped back yard. I finally got smart enough to make a digging area. They can only dig in that area with boundaries created from big logs. I remember the time one creative grandson snuck in the house and found a few fake gems to inconspicuously drop into the hole they were digging. He thoroughly enjoyed the delightful squeals of discovery from his cousins and siblings. They still do not know how that treasure got there!

Ever so often I watch a show where people have dedicated their lives to digging for treasure. Supposedly, someone hid this fortune so well that people have been searching for it and even dying in the effort to find it for years. These treasure hunters have spent millions of dollars and hours looking for a treasure that they will not be able to take with them upon their death—just like those who hid it could not.

I love to search for treasure, too. It’s just that my idea of riches might be just a little different than other treasure-hunters. There’s a song that has been going through my mind lately (thanks to my husband’s singing!) It’s got a line that goes, “I wanna dig a little deeper in His word…” Lord, Your word is so full of treasures that I am constantly finding more every time I look in the Bible. There are new treasures even in the places I already thought I had discovered all the riches.

Not only in Your word, but each time I spend quietly in Your presence, I find new spiritual wealth. I walk outside and I am blessed with beautiful gems of flowers, breath of gentle winds on my face, peaceful skies that can also transform into raging power…I am surrounded by people who are each a treasure to discover. Every single person may take a little digging but each is a rich gift from You.

Father, You just keep on blessing and blessing me with new discoveries of riches every single day. Sometimes You just drop them in front of me and delight in me finding them; other times You know I will appreciate it more if I have to dig for what You are wanting to bless me with. I am incredibly rich thanks to You. The best treasure of all is Jesus. He is with me always, showing me more of the true treasures of life—the riches I can enjoy now and the ones I will be treasuring and sharing for all eternity!

 

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“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:19-21)

 

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Jesus’ words again in Matthew 13:44

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, show me where I am digging for treasure…

Heavenly Father,
Today at my sweet granddaughter’s PreK graduation program, each child took a turn at the microphone and told what they want to be when they grow up. There were some great answers such as: a nurse, doctor, teacher, Captain America, a mom, rock star… I couldn’t wait to hear what my just-turned-five-year-old girl would say. On her turn, she shyly said she when she grew up, she wanted to be a princess. (Of course, that’s what she would say. She is obsessed with them and her daddy treats her like one!)

During the cookie and lemonade time after, I asked her what a princess does. She said, they wear their tiara and sit on a pretty chair. Her daddy reminded her that he was the king. It got me thinking…I’ve never in my life thought of myself as a princess, but it took me being a grandma to realize that I absolutely am. Just before I left for her graduation program this morning, I happened to read something about the rights and responsibilities of the members of a royal family. Then when I got home, I was reading my daily devotion, which “just happened” to be concerning our rights to use our position as Your child to ask for things for Your kingdom and trust that You will supply the best for Your children and Your kingdom. Many times, I have watched You answer my requests.

Yet being a princess is not all about simply sitting around looking pretty. There is a lot of responsibility that goes with it. It means enjoying life with my Daddy King. It also means living for Your Kingdom, Lord. It means loving goodness, righteousness and truth like You do, Lord. It means loving Your people—encouraging, praying for, sharing with, and blessing Your people with Your treasures. That doesn’t always mean worldly riches—but Your treasures of peace, hope, faith and love…and the most precious treasure of all—Jesus!
Father, I am so glad our little girl already knows she is a princess. I pray that she grows to fully realize she is a princess because she is Your child. I pray that You help us both use our rights and responsibilities as Your princesses to bless You and Your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.

 

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“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba,’ Father. The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 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.” Romans 8:15-17

“He (Jesus) called a little child and had him stand among them. And He 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 18:2-4

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, do I fully realize my place as Your dependent child…with all the rights and responsibilities that go with that?

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,

I got a phone call this morning that reminded me once again that my children (and my grandchildren) do not belong to me. I may love them with all my heart. I may have an unbreakable bond with them since they came from my womb or became part of my heart through years of investment of prayers, work and teaching. All the tears cried, dreams shared, games cheered at, meals prepared, laundry washed, prayers prayed, constant sacrifice—none of those entitle me to their now-independent adult lives. I do not have the right to demand loyalty, returned love, or gratefulness for all I did. Those years of giving were motivated by love. Love cannot demand its own way. Loving my children involves preparing and aiming them toward their full potential for Your glory, Lord.

These wonderful amazing adults I see before me were never mine to begin with. There is no way I could create them out of nothing, You, Lord, are the One who made each one with an incredibly unique personality and gifts to bless the world. You placed them individually in my life either through birth, marriage or foster/adoption. They each have enlarged my heart and spirit with the ever-growing love as each season of life that has passed. You simply placed these special souls in my life and gave me an assignment to love them, care for them, teach them Your ways and prepare them to be sent out into this world. That’s why I can handle this morning’s phone call.

As one of my adult children considers the possibility of moving far away, the very best thing I can do for them is to pray with them for that decision. Is it Your will for their life? (I truly want Your will as opposed to mine for Your children’s lives, Lord). You are the only One who knows how this decision will affect generations to come. You are the only One who knows how each soul involved will be impacted by such a choice. I dare not tell them they need to stay close to me to fulfill my wants. Their lives are not about me. Their lives belong to You. After all, You loaned them to me for a season. You have let me share in Your love for them. Lead them, Lord. They are Your children.

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“Sons (and daughters) are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons (and daughters) born in one’s youth.” Psalm 127:3-4

“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” John 1:12-13

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, do I realize that my children belong to You? That they are Your children? That I am responsible for Your children You’ve placed in my care?