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.

****

“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

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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!

*******

“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…

Heavenly Father,

My 15 month old grandson is teaching me today! He started out crawling up in my lap and just sitting there this morning. After a while, he climbed down and went off exploring. Yet he never got too far away. His little legs wobbled into the kitchen to let me know he was hungry. The cup on the floor signaled me he was finished eating breakfast. Off he ran to discover more! Back he came to check to make sure I was still around! His arms reached up to communicate he needed to be held…or just wanted a view from higher up! Down he wiggled to open a cabinet. Bits of tissue paper, his cup, toys and refrigerator magnets left a trail of mess everywhere he went leaving my neat house in chaos. When he falls down, he glances at me to make sure he’s OK before getting back up. He loves practicing his few little words over and over on me. And I patiently carry on a conversation trying to add a few more words to his tiny vocabulary. He will be busy going here and there all day until he collapses in exhaustion at naptime. He will look around to make certain I’m in his view before he can relax and rest.

In his wandering all over my house, I see his need to trust that I am nearby. He depends on me. He is too little to make his own meals, change his own diapers, or get his own drink. This cute little guy fully realizes his need for me and my loving care for him. He is not afraid as long as he knows I am near. He is learning, discovering and practicing his skills with the security of trusting I will be there for him. There are times I have to guide him away from something he really wants. He may fuss for a bit, but I know it could hurt him. He listens and watches for my guidance. He needs it.

Father, I want to have the same type of child-like faith believing that You are always with me, watching over me, guiding me, correcting me, teaching me. You know what’s best for me and what character You are trying to build in me even when I don’t understand. You will never let me get too far away from You as long as I keep coming back to be in Your presence again and again. You will give me more than I need or could even desire because You love me and want what’s very best for me. Thank You, Lord, for always having an open lap for me to crawl up in and providing so much for me to learn and discover as I wobble through this life. I need You and love You, Lord!

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“Which one of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!”  Matthew 7:9-11

“(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

“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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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me how to be Your little child…

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Heavenly Father,

When I unpacked the winter clothes, I was so excited about finding the warm socks my son bought me last Christmas! My family knows I have feet that never get warm in the winter. My son researched the very best socks for warmth and got me three pair! His wife was embarrassed to get me socks, but my son knew how excited I would be. Little did he know I would be excited all over again this year when I unpacked them again! In fact, I am wearing them right now!…The first Christmas decoration I always unpack is a beautiful large nativity set my sweet friend gave me years ago though she had no money. It is like getting it all over again every time I set it up! Both gifts remind me of the love behind the gift!

Christmas is like that! It never gets old! No matter how many years I celebrate another one, it’s like unpacking the gift of Jesus in a new way every year! I can remember years in the past celebrating with loved ones who are no longer here and with little children who have grown up and have their own families now. I can reminisce about truly hard times and smile over joyful memories of Christmas. Friends and loved ones might have moved, left home or gone to their eternal home, but Jesus is still with me.

Lord, You are with me all year round, but there’s something about Christmas that helps me unpack Your amazing gift in a new way. Once again, I am amazed how You can fit all of Your glory in a tiny helpless newborn baby to come and live as one of us. He is the gift that changes everything; that makes all things new; that can bring light and hope in the darkness; that can come and save us and  bring us back to You where we belong. Jesus is the gift that has no end; that never wears out or gets broken; that never dies or leaves us. Jesus is Your eternal gift to us. No matter how often we look at Him, we will never run out of new things to discover, new truths to understand; new facets of Your love. Father, even though we have all eternity, we will never be able to use up all of Jesus. Help me take time to unpack, appreciate and dwell on Your greatest gift.  You gave Him to us and He is forever revealing Your love for us! Praise You for Your eternal gift of Jesus Christ!

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“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”   John 3:16

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   Romans 6:23

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15

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Prayer Prompt-

Holy Father, thank You for Jesus Christ who…

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Heavenly Father,

I love the way You placed Jesus in a family. You chose to send Him to a sweet young girl who was only betrothed but not married yet. You knew Your Son would need a mother who could care for him, encourage and understand Him better than anyone else on earth- to the best of her understanding. You knew Mary’s willing heart and gave her that special place to carry Your Son and stand with Him from birth to the cross. You needed a special man who would step in to raise Jesus, knowing this baby was not of his own flesh and blood. Though you understood his initial hesitation, You always knew Joseph would answer Your call to be Your Son’s earthly stepdad! You knew You could trust Joseph to provide and protect Your own Son. It was all part of Your plan to place Your eternal Son in an earthly family.

I love watching how You place people in families- both biological and otherwise! I have witnessed how You placed children in my family through birth, marriage and many other amazing creative ways. Now, I get to watch You place other people in my children’s families in lots of ways. Recently, You placed three little siblings in my son and daughter-in-law’s lives to transform a childless couple into an instant family of five! These kids might have been forever separated had it not been for their willingness to gather these children into their family. They are willing to give up their own freedom to care for these children as their own. You still use Your own willing children to draw the lonely and needy into Your family!

More than that, You sent Jesus who was willing to be born in humble human form as a needy baby; to live and grow up in this dark and challenging world; to take on all our sin (though He was the only one holy and pure) so He could willingly die on the cross and rise again- all to gather us back into Your family! Many may feel lonely and isolated this Christmas due to death, grief, loss, separation or even the awful wounds of being abandoned or kicked out of a family. Father, thank You for sending Jesus to bring us home to You. No one can ever separate us from Your love! Because of Jesus Christ, we are part of Your eternal family!

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“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

“He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. 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 1:11-13

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

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Prayer Prompt- Father, thank You for putting me in a family…