Heavenly Father,

For many years I have had Grandkids’ Night where all our grandkids come to our house for the evening and spend the night. Now that we have 16 grandkids and 2 great grandkids, I decided to have a Grandkids camp which lasted 3 days (but I was smart enough to make it a day camp and not all night!) It is very important to me to have an eternal influence on our grandchildren and to lead them to You. As I try to teach, I always learn so much more myself! These are some of the things I learned at Grandkids Camp this year:

  • To always ask You to lead, no matter what! And to watch for Your leading and to follow it! What an adventure to follow Your lead—even when it involves a herd of crazy kids and one crazy Mamaw!
  • To be gentle yet firm—like You are. All your children need both parts of love.
  • To be aware of divine moments that can come in the most amazing forms- like an older grandchild leading the younger ones with supernatural kindness; like a crying “meltdown” that turns into a precious unconditional loving moment; like cousins who were arguing one moment take hands and enjoy one another deeply the next; like one young person who has struggled with anxiety share deep compassion and advise that worked for him to a younger cousin; seeing cousins cheer one another on in a talent show; watching a grandchild see me overwhelmed and stepping in to help without being asked (when I thought I looked like I was handling it fairly well but was so grateful for the help!)…
  • Sharing and respect happen when they are expected.
  • The older generation can still share so much with the younger (thanks for my mom and mom-in-law willing who shared important parts in this camp!…and also some older cousins and aunts and uncle who took turns making these young people feel loved!)
  • Everyone is part of the family despite bouts of yelling, tattling, whining, potty words, hitting, emotions…kids learn to love one another in spite of irritations. Love really covers a multitude of sins!
  • Forgiveness can be taught and learned.
  • Kids can work out their disagreements when they are given a few ideas to solve. Flipping a coin and “Rock, Paper, Scissors” still work! So does one person saying “You go first!”
  • Sometimes kids listen better to kids. I witnessed some true Christian leadership from young people!
  • Children still teach me to enjoy the moment…like getting squirted with water, looking for treasures by the lake, playing with imagination (I just can’t seem to learn video games!)
  • They can also teach me to pray to You from the heart

 

Father, learning can be exhausting! Now that Grandkids’ Camp is over, I believe each child and their grandmother is happy but tired from learning! But my heart is overjoyed by the sweet blessing of every single grandchild (including those who have grown up and a couple who couldn’t come!) I’m also thankful their parents got a little break and I am reminded how much parents need prayer in their critical exhausting everyday role!

 

*****

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”   Deuteronomy 4:9

“Fix these words of Mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  Deuteronomy 11:18-19

“I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old—what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praise worthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done.”  Psalm 78:2-4

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, who can I tell of Your wonderful deeds (especially the mercy and salvation of Jesus)?

Heavenly Father,

I have a good seat to look at the challenges dads face day in and day out. I work as an early childhood educator which sees about one hundred plus dads and grandads drop off or pick up their precious children each day. I watch as they often are facing stress from work and other challenges yet they put all that aside to let their child know how important they are to them. They kneel down to their child’s level or sweep them way up to their level so they can see the love in their eyes. They make their girls feel like princess warriors and their sons like little super heroes. Then off they go to provide, protect and teach these little people who have been entrusted to their care.

I have men in my own family who I watch rise up to their leadership role as dads even when it is incredibly hard. I watched my first husband try to fit a lifetime of fathering in before his death at 37 years old; my present husband step in to fill a void that can only be filled by a man; my sons and sons-in-law who give all they have to raise their children; another son who was willing to adopt three young siblings who didn’t know what it was like to have a dad; and my own precious dad who still has an eternal impact on my life…

Father, You are our eternal Father. You created men in Your own image. You designed men with the capabilities to be amazing leaders with Your help. I know dads and grandads often feel like the burden of responsibility is almost too much to bear. They want to take care of their families so badly. They try to come up with the answers, advice, finances, provisions, protection…Father, I hold up dads in all their forms before You and ask that You remind them they do not carry it all alone. You are with them and will provide all they need as they turn to You through Jesus Christ. Refresh them; renew them; empower them through Your Holy Spirit to be the dads and grandads You created them to be. Thank You for all these amazing dads I’m praying for today. Thank You, most of all, Lord, for being my Heavenly Father who has given me life, believes in me, provides and protects me, leads me and encourages me…

 

*****

“Then I said to you, ‘Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you will fight for you, as He did in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”  Deuteronomy 1:29-31

 

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Teach me Your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.”   Psalm 27:10-11

 

“”As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you. Now remain in My love. If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: ‘Love each other as I have loved you.’”  John 15:9-12

*****

 

Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, I pray for these dads…

Heavenly Father,

Today I’m packing away the Christmas decorations for yet another year.  Some of my ornaments have been being put on the tree and taken off the tree since before my children were babies. I have about three even older glass ornaments left which were brought over on the ship my great grandparents traveled on to start a new life in America. Some ornaments are very familiar and others are brand new. Each holds special meaning as I ponder sweet relationships different ornaments represent to my heart.

I also pack the growing collection of nativity ornaments which represent another relationship. I always start a new prayer journal at the beginning of every year. The paper may be brand new, but after so many years, there are times my relationship with You, Lord, seems very comfortable and familiar. You created me. You know me better than anyone (including myself) ever could. You have never left me during one moment of my life. You know me so well, that You often point out things which are harboring in my soul which I didn’t even know were there. You lead me into new territories. You restore my newness of life. You lovingly correct and train me. You delight in showing me new truths and sights. You take joy in showing Your love in new ways. I am totally comfortable being still and quiet in Your presence… or pouring out my heart in pages of anxious words. I have no doubt You hear my every thought and request. I love to watch how You work as I bring things to You.

Father God, I may feel loved and comfortable with You yet I am also in awe of who You are! Why would the God Almighty, who has all power and authority, want a relationship with me?! Why would the God, who created and sustains all there is and ever will be, who owns everything, who rules over all that is, who brings life from nothing, humble Himself by sending His Son to be born as a human baby? Who else would show such love to sacrifice His own holy Son to pay for our sin? To cleanse us? To save us? To bring us back to You? Father, all other relationships grow sweeter as I continue to grow in my relationship with You. You never change! You just reveal more of Yourself each year, each day, each time I seek more of You. Another Christmas and New Year have come and gone…but You, Lord, are with me forever and ever. I don’t want to just be comfortable. I want to deepen my relationship with You as I discover even more of You. I guess I will fall more and more in love with You for all eternity for there is no end to who You are!

*****

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”   John 17:3

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  Mark 12:30

“You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, I want more of You…

Heavenly Father,

I was sent the cutest video of my little granddaughter taking some of her first steps! Since she lives out of state, it was a thrill to get to share in this special moment. And it came at just the right moment! Being a grandmother, I kept watching it over and over. Then You laid on my heart that’s how we look when we are born again in Jesus. We have to learn how to walk with You. When we turn to You for salvation through Jesus, we are humbly crawling to You to accept what brings You great joy to give to us. It is a whole new life in Jesus! Even if we are adults, we have to learn how to walk in You.

First, we simply crawl to You realizing we need You. As we learn to trust You more, we pull ourselves up and stand on Your Son, our solid foundation. What a joy to stand in You! It is good for us to stay put for a while and learn to simply stand still and hold Your hand. As we are fed on Your word, You eventually hold out Your hands and say, “Follow Me!” You expect us to step out in faith when we are unsure if our new legs will hold. When we keep our eyes on You, we gather enough courage to take a step; then two. We might fall down. But You are right there to pick us up and remind us that we can do it.  You wipe us off and urge us to try again. So we do.

What an absolute joy to truly start walking with You, Lord. That’s probably why my granddaughter’s face touched me so much. We know we cannot do it by ourselves, but You are with us. We don’t have to ever take a step without You again! We can walk! We can do things that we know are impossible on our own. We can walk on water! The thing is to keep watching You. When we look off to the side or realize we are doing what’s impossible, we fall down. But if we do, You are still there to help us back up…no matter how long we’ve been walking with You! Lord, I had a hard day yesterday. Something hit me hard and knocked me to my feet, but as I turned and cried to You and started praising Your sweet name, You picked me right up. I am walking with You again!!! And I love it! I love You! (I love my granddaughter, too!)

*****

“He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”    Micah 6:8

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, O Lord.”   Psalm 89:15

“He (Jesus) 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-

Heavenly Father, show me how to walk…


Heavenly Father,
I got a late night phone call from my son who just adopted three children all at one time. We chatted for a bit, then he said with a very sincere voice, “I need to apologize.” Caught off guard, I asked, “What for?” He told me he wanted to say he was sorry for all the grief he caused me when he was young. I started laughing, saying I didn’t think I would get this phone call until the teen years! He and his lovely wife had just got home from what must have been a wild grocery store trip with the kids. I know what he’s talking about. You don’t realize how much your parents sacrificed until you are a parent.
I’ve often thought that’s why You let us become parents. You let us share in the joy of creating children out of love (or adopting them out of love). You created us to fall in love with them because they are part of us. Then come all the joys and trials. Then come the loud demands for what they think they can’t live without. Then come the expectations that you need to supply all their needs without one thought of a parent’s needs. Later come the panicked calls for help, just knowing everything will be dropped to rescue. Then come the ungrateful, demanding, sometimes ugly fit-throwing when they don’t get their way. At times, there are no phone calls, visits or even acknowledgement that we gave all we had for our children. It can seem like we do not even exist…but we never ever quit loving them.
How precious it is, no matter what age our child is, to get a spontaneous hug, written note, a helping hand—or to see our children loving one another and getting along instead of fighting. One precious sincere moment can make up for a lot of fits. Yes, Lord, I can see now how precious my parents have been in my life. Even more, I see how You love us through some of the ugliest times in our lives. You always see the best in us. You believe in us. Even while we were sinning, You sent Your pure Son Jesus Christ to take our punishment—so we could live with You forever and ever. Lord, I’m sorry for my un-thoughtful ungrateful attitude towards You. You have loved me far greater than I can ever repay. I choose to accept the un-repayable love You have given me through Jesus by loving You and others for all eternity.
*****
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and all the creatures who move along the ground.’ So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’” Genesis 1:26-28
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“”Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boas, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…When I was a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we will see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-9, 11-12
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Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I am sorry for…


Heavenly Father,
Our son and his lovely wife recently legally adopted three siblings. It’s a beautiful story of how You took the deep heartache of two people who were unable to have children of their own and called upon their hearts to foster-to-adopt. They thought they would just get one child. Instead, You filled their hearts with three little children all at once. There have been labor pains along the way as these three have been in their home for a year as foster children, dealing with the roller coaster ride of the system. They had each been adopted into our hearts long before it became legal. They are now part of our forever family. No doubt there will be a lot more challenges ahead as there are with raising any children. But these parents are totally committed to these children—and the kids are totally bonded with their parents (and the rest of the family).
They have been saved from a life unkind, and placed in a larger family than they can imagine. Not only do they have parents who are willing to sacrifice, provide, love and guide them in Your ways—but they have cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents and a huge host of God’s family who will all be a part of their lives from now through forever. Father, I pray for their biological family. May they find peace in knowing these children are loved and cared for. I pray that they find an ever deeper relationship with You through Jesus Christ so they can be reunited, if not here on earth—then in heaven.
Father, I thank You so much for adopting us into Your forever family. You sent Your own Son Jesus Christ to sacrifice His precious innocent blood to make it official. All we have to do is believe and accept Your eternal love and commitment to us. You long to have us in Your family with all the eternal benefits. You love us with a love that can never be measured or returned. We are Your children when we take upon Jesus’ name by believing in His birth, death and resurrection to seal us in Your family. Lord, what a beautiful big family we inherit when that happens. Thank You for saving me and making me Yours!
*****
“Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us, in the One He loves.” Ephesians 1:3-6
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1
“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
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Prayer Prompt-
Father, thank You for adopting me. It means…

Heavenly Father,

Parents of those children with unique challenges are on my heart today. I want to lift them before You and ask that You refresh and restore them. I know their burden is heavy and almost non-stop. These moms and dads often feel inadequate…although I see them doing an amazing job. The sacrifice these moms and dads make does not go unnoticed. I pray You encourage them in their often difficult journey today. Use a hug, scribbly picture, sloppy kiss, or any of the creative ways You can to give them that boost they need to keep going. Help them realize You placed these exact children in their care, trusting they would be the perfect parents for that particular child. Remind them they do not have to do this alone…that You are with them every step of the way. Help them grow in their expertise of how to raise their unique child the way only they can. Surround them with people who will cheer them on in their rough times instead of being critical. Give them a whole team of support in their families, schools, churches, neighbors who will come to love and support these unique children and parents for who they are.

I pray for foster parents who open their homes and hearts to kids who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned; to children who have been moved from place to place without warning; kids who have been ripped apart (and sometimes saved) from their biological families; to children who have learned not to trust and have had to look out for themselves at a very early age. How I pray for the parents of these special children who have to learn to deal with the outbursts, insecurities and emotional trauma and provide a safe loving home. I pray for the parents of kids who have Attention disorders, mental or development issues, social disturbances, and medical challenges that cause the moms and dads to become experts as they do everything they can to help their child. Thank You for the love I see poured out.

Really, every single child has special needs, and requires a parent to help guide them to maturity. However, some have much higher needs than others which demand an even larger sacrifice from the parents. Lord, I hold up these hero parents to You now and ask that You give them all they need to help these children to become all You created them to be. After all, we are all Your special needs children…and You, alone, know exactly what we need to grow to be Your perfect sons and daughters through Jesus Christ.

*******

“Be imitators of God, therefore, 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

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

“He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26

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Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, I pray for these parents….

Heavenly Father,

Not long ago, my foster grandchild, started calling his foster parents by name instead of “Mom and Dad” like he’d been doing for a long time. My son lovingly sat down with him and they discussed exactly what a mom and dad do (providing food, love, a home, protection, clothes, care, comfort, attention…). It was like he didn’t really know what a dad or mom did. Afterward, this sweet boy started calling them “Mom and Dad” again. That night as he prayed, he thanked You for his mom and dad – and for their son! He realized that true role models are not always from birth.

As Father’s Day draws near, my mind is on the special gift of dads in our lives…whatever form that takes. Many of my fellow teachers are helping their kids prepare Father’s Day gifts. It can get a little tricky when not everyone has a daddy involved in their lives. Everyone had to have some kind of birth dad- for better or worse. Unfortunately, some end up not involved in a child’s life due to death or neglect or some other reason. But almost everyone is blessed with a man in their life who makes an eternal impact.

Father, I’ve been extra blessed to have an incredible dad who lived out his beautiful faith in You day in and day out before my eyes. He now cheers me on from heaven! I’ve been blessed to have the daddy of my children, who also waits in heaven, continue to impact our children and grandchildren (who never got to meet him yet). My children (by birth and marriage) have been blessed more than they know by a strong loving dad who stepped up to love, pray and cook for, help, and even invests in the lives of their children as Grandpap! Another indescribable blessing is to see the dads our children have become to their kids- raising them up to be amazing people! There are men all around: foster dads, stepdads, teachers, ministers, coaches, uncles, grandfathers, neighbors, bosses…who You have put in place in children’s lives to somehow fill a role of a dad figure to young men and women who need to know what a real dad looks like. Some kids have no idea. No matter what, we all have You, our Heavenly Father, who encompasses more than we can describe or imagine of what a true Father is. To the greatest Father of all, I love You, Lord…and thank You for all the wonderful pictures of You I see in those around me.

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“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

“Sing to God, sing praise to His name, extol Him who rides on the clouds- His name is the Lord- and rejoice before Him. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families…”  Psalm 68:4-6a

“‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters,’ says the Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

*****

Prayer Peek & Prompt-

Heavenly Father, thank You for being my dad by….

Heavenly Father,

With our daughter getting married this Sunday, the final details are causing a flurry of activity. The bride and all her entourage have worked very hard to pour all their love into every part of this glorious day. Even the weather looks like it will cooperate. The threat of thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes is predicted to stop for a perfect day for an outdoor wedding set in a vineyard. Friends and family have been celebrating with showers, dinners and parties. Everyone knows these two love each other and are thrilled to see them join together as one. Marriage can happen without so much fanfare, but it is one of the most important occasions there is. Weddings are very important to You, Lord! You created man and woman to go together. Jesus’ first public miracle was at a wedding! Much points to the much anticipated marriage of the Lamb!

I recall all the years I prayed for our children to each end up with the perfect mate.  I knew You already knew who they would marry and that the lives of the still unknown soulmates, even as a child, would have an impact on who they would be as a spouse. Father, we are incredibly blessed to have seen Your hand in each of our children’s marriages. As we get ready to give this daughter away to a wonderful young man, both families are very aware what an incredible team they will be. They have already been there for one another and the road ahead will give them plenty of more opportunities to work together to face anything. From this moment on, they will be as one.

How exciting to see the bride and groom ready to make this life-long commitment of love. You lead us to believe there is far more that goes on in a wedding than just a legal ceremony. You tell us that it is, in fact, a mystery, a picture of Jesus and His Bride, the church. Lord, let me never forget that I am preparing every day to meet my beloved Jesus- to live with Him forever. He is coming back to get me. I want to be ready. I want my love to be fresh and deep and committed. I want to be found faithful to the One who gave His life for me; to the One who has prepared a place for me; to the One who truly loves me. Let us celebrate this Sunday in the love that joins these two…and let us each be ready when our Jesus comes to get us for the wedding of the Lamb!

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“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder shouting: ‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”  Revelation 19:6-8

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery- but I am talking about Christ and the church.”   Ephesians 5:31-32

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, Jesus has given His life for me. Help me be ready by…

Heavenly Father,

I grew up in church. I was always surrounded by a larger group of family who loved me, prayed for me, taught me and encouraged me in my relationship with You. I recall many Sunday School teachers, pastors, and others who have had a big influence on my life. I got married in that same church and had children while there. My first husband’s funeral was there. Later, I married practically the only other single man in that church. We felt led to make a fresh new start in another church with our blended family where our kids grew up surrounded by a larger group of amazing Christians who had a big influence on them. Later, once again, You led us to yet another church where our by-then teenagers were greatly influenced by an amazing children’s pastor and youth pastor. Three of our sons married girls from that wonderful church. Three of our sons married girls from that church! Some of our kids started their Christian leadership roles at that beloved church.

Now, it’s just my husband and me and You have led us to yet another church where we can bless and be blessed. Today, we officially committed and joined my fourth “home church.” It is always so hard to leave one church family when they have had such a huge impact on our lives. Yet it is also exciting to see where You are leading us and how You have plans that perfectly blend us in this new home.  It is great to still have a part in the churches of our past where we are forever bonded with the brothers and sisters-in-Christ. It is thrilling to know what You are doing through churches our adult children go to, beloved friends at new church plants, churches we love in other countries…even churches we visit while on vacation.

Your church is alive and healthy. Some are large mega churches; others are small country churches. Some meet in homes; others in shopping centers; some in huts or schools or lovely buildings. Church is not the building but the beautiful perfectly imperfect people You have called to be Your Bride. I’ve had the honor to be a part of the Church as they worshipped in Ecuador in another language, as they served Joplin after it was devastated in a tornado, as they have walked and prayed for a whole neighborhood, as they have worshipped You with old hymns and loud new songs, as they have put on new roofs and fed the homeless…Lord, Your church is beautiful and stronger than ever! No wonder You love Your Church.

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“Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.”  1 Corinthians 14:12

“…and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”  Matthew 16:18

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ and let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”

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Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, You have blessed me with Your Bride, the church by…