Heavenly Father,

Today marks the next step on an incredible journey with You, Lord. What a joy to go to sleep at night and know that not only will You be with me all night…but You already have this day and all the rest of my days covered as well. I can truly relax and enjoy the adventure. I know I haven’t always trusted You as much on my journey as I do now…and I’m sure my trust will continue to grow as we continue on this expedition. I can remember many times of panic when I came upon a deep pit in the road. I couldn’t see the bottom of that hole and there seemed no way across it or around it…but over and over again- You have made a way where there was no way. There have been times I stood at the base of steep cliffs or a treacherous uphill climb. You know I’m terrified of heights; yet You tenderly encouraged me to start the climb, one step at a time when I could not even see the top of the mountain. You have helped me do what was humanly impossible to do on my own.

What a thrill to make it to the top of arduous climb, trusting You one foot hold at a time. The view at the top showing both how far I had come- along with a peek at the road ahead was breath-taking. You have led me through valleys with the shadow of death darkening my way only to bring Your glorious light for every step the way. You have arranged for me to lie down in lush green pastures with You when I needed rest and recuperation more than I knew. You have been my oasis in the desert when there was no relief of shade or drink in sight and given me living water to restore my soul so I could tread through the desert one step at a time.

The times I have kept my eyes on You instead of the obstacles, You have pointed out beauty all along the journey- sights I might have missed or taken for granted if I wasn’t following Your lead. Not only have You shared magnificent sunrises and sunsets at just the right time; You point out babies’ first smiles, sweet moments with friends and family, divine encounters with strangers, doves sitting above me, children running to hug me, love in the eyes of my grown children for their spouses and children, strength in the weak, hope in the weary, new life in those left for dead, peace in last breaths, the surprise of Your presence at every turn in some new way. I love the journey with You…most of all- because You love me and I love You. So I find joy in Your presence! Hmmm…what will today bring? More of You.

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“Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:5-6

“Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.”   Psalm 25:4-5

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me keep my eyes on Jesus today as we go…

Heavenly Father,

I’m not coming to You because I want something from You…I just want to be with You, Lord. There is no one else like You. You, together with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit…reign above all. Your power is fearful and ferocious. Who else can call out or tame the mighty winds and raging ocean? Who else can place galaxies into orbit and place them spinning in magnificent patterns throughout centuries? Who else tells a tiny seed when to crack and grow into a mighty oak? Who else can squelch armies and kingdoms and allow earthly authorities to rise and fall? Who else can cause mountains to rise up, erupt and be thrown into the sea? Who else holds the seasons in check and sets boundaries which cannot be crossed? Who else rules supreme over all that is seen and unseen? With all Your power and glory, who else takes time for me? I am nothing in the scheme of things yet I am everything to You! Who else is like You?

Who else holds back on their immeasurable power to show such amazing patience and restraint out of love for us? Who else notices when a tiny sparrow or a faithful pet doggie falls? Who else can knit together a one-of-a-kind human being inside the womb of a mom and invites us to share in creation? Who else loves to share peeks of His glory through incredibly beautiful sunsets and the tiniest of colorful flowers bursting from nowhere? Who else has created so much that we will never be able to discover it all? Who else has all truth and knowledge and wisdom yet delights in sharing it with us- a little at a time as we can bear it? Who else overcomes all darkness, evil and destruction with the unmatchable power of His love?

Who else would show such tender mercy by sending His very own Son Jesus Christ (God with us) to be born, live and die as one of us- yet without sin? Who else would be willing to sacrifice His holy Son for us when we have sinned against You- the very One who gives us life? Who else would freely give us a choice in accepting Your forgiveness or rejecting it? Who else loves us no matter what? Who else desires our little love in return for Your eternal indescribable love?

I want to come to You out of love for You- not for what You can do for me…although I am not ashamed to say I need You. I know You will give me everything I need and desire and much more. Yet, it’s not the blessings or my will that I come to ask You for. I come because of who You are. You have gone to such lengths to be with me. Who else would I go to?

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“Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are His deeds, and His righteousness endures forever.”  Psalm 111:2-3

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever! Amen.”   2 Peter 3:18

“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him the glory!” Revelation 19:6b

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, Let me come to You for who You are…

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…

Heavenly Father,

If I listen to the voices of this world, there is much to fear. The news is filled with reasons to be more and more fearful… terrorism here and in other countries, rising racism and division of all kinds, diseases and financial disaster, rape, murder, violence of all kinds. If I listen to all the reports I hear on the news, on social media and even from friends and relatives, I could easily be frightened of everything. Discussions on events in the world between the best of friends and closest of family can turn to hate, misunderstanding and separation far too easily. That’s because as long as we live on this earth, we have a choice who we will listen to and how we will respond to the battle that is forever raging around us. I have heard many inflamed arguments over current events that are fired by who is listened to. The truth is debatable according to which biased reports are followed. Lord, in all this mess, I choose to listen to You!

I am not ignoring the darkness of this world by not listening to what is going on; I simply refuse to get caught up in the lies that are used to kill and destroy. Most of the wrong “voices to listen to” are loud and demanding. Although, there are times, the enemy whispers little lies to encourage us to wallow in hurt and anger so it can grow into hate. I recognize my enemy’s scheme and I refuse to fall for it. I choose, instead, to listen to Your still small voice that calls me to follow Jesus in love. Lord, Your love calls me to forgive when someone hurts me; to recognize they are not my enemy. Thank You for reminding me to pray for and love those who hurt me, persecute me, or disagree with me.

When I listen to You and practice what You tell me, I rise above all the fearful chaos of this world and soar in the freedom of Christ with You! When I listen to You, I can sow Your peace, love and wisdom. When I listen to You, I can defeat the enemy and bring light into the darkness. It will be an ongoing battle until the day I take my last breath, but help me to keep on listening to You so Your kingdom can come here on earth as it is in heaven. You are the truth, the way and the life. I choose to listen to You above all the noise of this world.

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“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”   John 10:27-30

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. ” James 1:19-22

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.”  Revelation 3:20

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Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, Help me choose who I listen to …

 

Heavenly Father,

We’ve had a fire going in our free-standing metal fireplace for almost three days now. Warnings of a major ice storm prompted us to store up a large garden wagon of logs for our fireplace in our garage. There is something so mesmerizing and cozy about watching a fire roar. It makes me just want to slow down and enjoy the warmth. I’ve enjoyed the benefits of our well-used fireplace for over twenty years now. There can be 3 feet of snow on the ground, freezing rain, or blowing wind outside but as long as we have wood to burn, we know we have what we need in front of those glowing flames. One year, a major ice storm with high winds caused major tree branches to continually fall on our roof all night long. Our power was out… along with another family staying with us who had lost their power. Though we had no electricity or heat, the fire provided warmth and light. Adults and kids were camped out all over the floor in front of our fireplace.

Tonight as I savored the dancing flames and occasional crackle, I thought of how we are drawn to the warmth of fire in the cold seasons. Father, it doesn’t matter what storms rage outside. When I sit down in Your presence and soak up Your warmth, I know all is well. The storms will pass. You are with me and You will never leave me. I can sit calmly in front of You whenever I am still in Your presence.

When I stop and am still before You, my spirit is soothed before Your calming power and tender warmth. When I turn my gaze towards You, I know Your peace. As I sit before You in quiet, You lay Your lovely thoughts upon my soul. You guide me. You love me, You restore me and warm me. The glow of being in Your presence enables me to carry that warmth of Your glowing embers out into the dark cold world. I can come back into Your presence at any time. I can share the fire You place in my soul with those who are out in the cold and do not realize what they are missing.

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“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’”  Hebrews 12:28-29

“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”   Exodus 13:21-22

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”   John 8:12b

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, burn away all that is not needed and set my soul on fire for…

trusting-god-in-hard-times

 

Heavenly Father,

It is so fun living with You, learning from You and growing in You! Lately, I’ve been seeing how much fun it can be to trust You! Of course, I wouldn’t have always described trusting You as fun. At times, it has been a little like jumping out of an airplane for the first time (I’ve never done it but I have trusted You on some issues that were very similar!) There have been times I have known exactly what You wanted and my trust in Your goodness led me forward with confidence. There have been a few times, it seemed You asked me to do something and I wanted to say, “You’ve got to be kidding! You want me to what?!!”

My old human self was filled with fear. I was the furthest from an adventurous risk-taker there could be. I still like my feet on solid ground as opposed to deep water or icy slopes. Yet those years of trusting You have changed me. It all started long ago, with me truly trusting that You sent Jesus to save me and to give me eternal life. All my years since have been spent learning to trust You more and more in every situation- in little things and huge issues- with circumstances and with people. Some things have been easier to trust You on than others. I cannot count the times I held on with all my might before simply letting go and trusting You.

Yet, oh the joy that comes from trusting You. A sweet peace comes from trusting that You are in charge and have good plans despite what any situation looks like. What confidence to be able to go through a challenging situation, knowing You have the final say in the outcome…and Your love and goodness can be absolutely trusted! What joy that comes in waiting upon You, trusting You through whatever comes my way…and then getting to share in the amazing way in which You work. I love watching You work, Lord! I love getting to be a part of it even when it can look dark at times. I love trusting You through it and seeing the outcome! I get to share in Your joy! It’s the joy of loving You, trusting You, following You, living with You, sharing in Your goodness and in Your eternal work. Yet the joy is not my only reward. My true reward is You!

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“Come and share your Master’s happiness!”   Matthew 25:23b

“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him.”  John 3:16-17

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me how I can trust You more…

The word "TRUST" written in vintage wooden letterpress type

 

Heavenly Father,

Can we trust the candidates running for office right now? Can we trust our education will keep us in a steady high-paying job? Can we trust a daily regimen of exercise to guarantee good health at all times? Can we trust our children to always make right choices? Can we trust our spouses, parents or friends to never hurt us or let us down? Can we trust there’ll be no sorrow or pain or disaster in our lives? Can we trust our money to continue to grow so we are sure of a comfortable retirement? Can we trust that our armed forces can keep us out of war… or firemen, policemen or doctors will always be able to protect and save us? Can we trust what we hear on the news or on the internet? Is there anyone or anything truly worthy of our trust?

It is not a bad thing to trust in other things or people to a certain degree…but You alone, Lord, are the only One truly worthy of our complete trust. We can trust You because of Your immeasurable love for us that far exceeds anyone else’s love. You created us out of pure love. You designed us to live in complete love with You and others. Because of Your unfathomable love for us, we can trust Your motives in dealing with us. You have no hidden agenda or selfish plan. No one else can love us with the holiness and pureness that You have for us. You have plans to bless us. You, Lord, see the entire picture of our eternal lives. You know and will lead us in Your perfect will. We can only see a tiny moment in time and we think we know what’s best for our lives. You love us so much that You look past our childish demands and tantrums and hold out for what is absolutely the best for us. We can trust You, Father!

We can trust Your love that went so far as to sacrifice Your Son Jesus Christ for our sinful rebellious ways. You loved us when we were our most unlovable. We can trust You to never leave us alone in this world to face anything at all without You. We can trust Your word, Your promises. You are incapable of lying or even bending the truth. We can trust in Your care. There is no more secure place to be than in the shelter of Your presence- even in the midst of a world that cannot be trusted. We can trust that You will come and get us out of this world and bring us into Your eternal Home where we will be able to trust in everything because You reign in all Your glory and goodness. I trust You, Lord. Help me be more trustworthy to You and to share You glory here in this world.

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“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all you ways acknowledge Him, and He will make Your paths straight.”     Proverbs 3:5-6

“’Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”  John 14:1-7

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”  Revelation 21:5

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me who or what I put my trust in…

14021516_10207195252015306_1286984620821931021_n

Heavenly Father,

It started with prayer… and bags. Tomorrow is the day! For over 2 years, You put a vision for a Ladies’ conference on my heart- one that would reach out into the community and bring hope to those who feel alone and defeated in their daily life. It is turning our far better than I could have asked for or imagined! Over a year ago, I asked the ladies in our Wednesday night class to start praying with me about this. Then nearly 6 months ago, a sister-in-Christ stepped up alongside me and said, “Let’s do this!” I have planned many things in my life, but this particular event, I didn’t want to do even one thing without You leading it. So I just kept trusting in You to lead in every detail. After all that prayer, the actual first step was some bags on sale!

My sis-in-this has a special gift for shopping! It seems like You lead her to just the right items all the time. She called me up and said she found some bags she thought would work for the conference but she didn’t know if we wanted the saying on them for the theme. You put on my heart to say yes. The bags read, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 Little did I realize how much I would be encouraged to truly trust in You in every single detail!

Our main part has been to pray non-stop about this …and then be ready and willing to follow Your lead. Not one person was asked to do anything without lifting it before You. Not one decision has been made without Your quiet nudging to go forward. We have truly trusted You all along the way. Last night as we did a prayer walk through our building preparing for this weekend, probably 10 women came up to tell  me individual stories of how You have led them to trust You more through this! Lord, we are ready. We have been praying, trusting , watching, listening, and obeying. We absolutely know that every single woman and teen who comes to the WEEKEND OF ENCOURAGEMENT will grow in their trust in You, just as we have! The more we practice trusting You, the more encouraged we are to trust You more! We love and trust You because we know You love us.

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Jesus said in John 14:1: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me.”

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…” Psalm 37:4-7a

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13

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Prayer Promt-

Heavenly Father, help me trust you more by…

spiritual warfare

Heavenly Father,

I woke up this morning fighting…but not the way most people think. It wasn’t against my thoughtful husband, my amazing adult children, any of my wonderful friends or co-workers. The fight isn’t against an opposing political party, another skin color or culture, the government or any group of worldly authorities. It’s not against someone who gets mad at me, hurts my feelings or attacks my family. It’s not even against an illness, an issue or a cause. It’s the fight of my life…and for my life…and for other’s lives. It is the most beautiful and calm fight. It is the fight to stay connected to You, Lord!

There are so many things that need to be accomplished; so many people who need to be helped; so many bills that need to be paid; so many “important things” that pop up on my agenda. Therein lies the real fight! Every single day I have to battle against my agenda or even other people’s well-meaning plans for my life. The most vital part of my whole life is my life hidden with You. Nothing else matters. I can’t truly accomplish anything unless I stay connected with You through Jesus Christ. Yet when I win the battle to live in Your presence, I find the most glorious love, peace and joy as I rest in the security of who You are and Your guidance in my life.

The news of horrible things happening all around cannot keep me away from You. The epidemic of fear cannot harm me when I stay close to You. When I am in the shadow of Your holiness, I know that You are at work, calmly fighting the battle for me…as well as others. In fact, You have already won…and so have I. The longer I live in You, Lord, the more clearly I see the victory. Help me be on guard and not let down my defenses. Let me live in Your strong tower and go out only when You send me out. Then let me go out carrying the Light of Jesus Christ with peace and confidence. Yet I don’t ever want to go without You. It is the enemy who tries to separate me from You any way he can. It is my fight to stay conscious of You at all times…every single day… for You are always with me. You sent Jesus to fight and die for me. Now I fight to live with You in this world and yet not of this world. I love You, Lord!

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“How priceless is Your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They feast on the abundance of Your house; You give them drink from Your river of delights. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light, we see light.”   Psalm 36:7-9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

“This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but God’s.”  2 Chronicles20:15b

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith , love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontus Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blemish until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in His own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To Him be honor and might forever. Amen.”   1 Timothy 6:11-16

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me battle to stay in Your presence by…

know-your-enemy3

Heavenly Father,

Even my most loved relationships can turn into an enemy in a second if I’m not careful. It can happen from a simple misunderstanding, a disagreement, or simply when I’m caught off guard in a weak moment. I know it doesn’t just happen to me…but to every single one of us. It helps so much to remember who my real enemy is. It is not my spouse, child, friend, or even the person we’ve never met. Father, help me always be aware who the true enemy is!

Our true adversary is always scheming- trying to pit us against one another. He tries to turn different races, groups, political parties, churches and families against one another. He even tried it on Jesus. One of Jesus’ closest earthly friends tried to sway Him from going to Jerusalem to meet His death on a cross (the very thing He was born for). Jesus told the enemy “Get behind Me, Satan!” Jesus realized Peter didn’t know he was being used by the enemy to trip Him up. We shouldn’t be surprised that Satan works behind the scenes to divide and conquer, to stir up bitterness and hatred, to pit us against one another. The enemy works his wiles to cause us to turn on one another instead of to You, Lord. It is a ploy- a military trick that I do not want to fall for.

Father, remind me when I get hurt, angry or irritated who the real enemy is. Help me to love and pray for the one who appears in the flesh to be my enemy. Let me answer Satan’s attack with love and not be fooled by his destructive plan. Let me love You and love the one who is being manipulated to appear to be my enemy. Let my battles be fought in the spiritual realm with Your heavenly host on my side to knock down the enemy’s attempt. Don’t let me fall for the evil scheme that pits us one against the other. Remind me that my enemy is not flesh and blood (no matter what color the skin is; no matter what language is spoken; or no matter if they live in my house or on the other side of the earth) The real enemy is in the spiritual world and has already been defeated…I just need to remember that and call on You in the battle. Jesus has given me the authority to tell my real enemy to get behind me and Him! We each have to do it in Jesus’ name!

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“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers , against the authorities , against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  Ephesians 6:10-12

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”   John 10:10

 

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

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”  Luke 10:19-20

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me love and pray for those in the flesh who I think of as my enemies and overcome the real enemy. This is who I need to love and pray for…