Heavenly Father,
Fear does not come from You! In fact, Your word is full of commands not to fear. I should know. I was once probably one of the most fearful people alive. Only You could take that fear away- and that came when I started placing my faith in You. What freedom and joy to not live in fear! When the temptation to fear rears it’s ugly head, I run away from fear and run to You, Lord. Faith and fear cannot live together. It is either one or the other, and I choose to trust in You.

Sometimes it seems like there is an army of fear trying to get my old nature worked up—fears of viruses, losing a loved one, catastrophes, disasters, cancer, violence, rejection, being deserted, growing older, financial and relational challenges…All these things can seem like giants or even mountains until I look at who You are. You, Lord, rule over all these things and everything else in the world and beyond this earth. Sin and evil will not have the last say. You do. I trust in You- Your goodness and Your sovereignty.

Whatever comes my way, I KNOW I need never face it alone. You are with me. Whom or what shall I fear? I live with You, the Lord God Almighty. You have secured my soul by letting Your Son Jesus Christ die for my salvation and my victory over anything and everything as I place my faith in You. It is incredible to watch those giant fears fade away into nothing as I keep placing my faith in You. I love You, Lord!

 

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“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

 

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

 

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, show me the areas I am letting fear get a stronghold…Let me trust You in that area…

Heavenly Father,
Oh! How my soul longs to be listened to! Just listened to. Without interruption. Without advice. Without correction. Without argument. Without analysis. Without someone else’s story or experience or thoughts being interjected before I am able to voice what is in my mind and heart. It seems like there are so few “listeners” in the world. Yet it is one of the greatest gifts of love we can give someone. Listening is one of the greatest attributes of love. But there is so much noise and not enough listening…

There is a world of people who long to be heard. Everyone is talking and no one is listening. I know I fall short of true listening even though I know that is one of my gifts (perhaps it is a gift available to all of us). Who wants a doctor to decide how to treat before hearing what is really going on? What child will listen to a parent who never takes time to listen to their heart? Who wants to marry someone who is always correcting them when they don’t even listen to all they are saying? How can our country ever be united until all sides take turn listening? It seems everyone is yelling and no one is truly listening. Oh! How we need more listeners!

Father, You are the greatest listener! Though You have all authority and rule over all that there is, You are ready to listen to us at any time. You listen to our complaints, our desperate pleas, our angry tirades, our rambling thoughts that seem to have no point. You listen much deeper than our words. You see our heart and soul. You listen all the way to the end and to what is really being said. You are the only One who can truly understand us better than we understand ourselves. You are always ready and willing to listen. Though You know what we are going to say and what we really mean—You listen because You know we desire to be heard. You listen out of love. Thank You for always listening—even when words won’t come!

Lord, how often do I stop and listen to You? How often am I simply still and quiet enough to place all my attention on what You are saying to me? You do not force us to listen. But You must desire to be heard by each of us as much or more than we desire to be heard. Father, let me “listen” to You as I read Your word, as I hear the wind, as I listen to a song, as a fellow believer shares a truth, through the perfect timing of your ordained situations and encounters, through Your still small voice—Your voice that we will all recognize as we get better at listening. Let me show You my love through listening and then obeying Your voice.

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“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:9

 

“She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord said, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10:39-42

 

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, I am listening…

Heavenly Father,
What a treasure we have been given in the ability to come to You at any time with anything through prayer and yet we often neglect this highest honor and responsibility. Many prayers are shot up to You in desperate need- even by those who supposedly don’t believe. There is a difference between a one-time prayer and a life lived in prayer. There is a difference between a prayer from our flesh and prayer in the Spirit…but it has to start somewhere! So when does a prayer from our own selfish will change to a prayer in the Spirit?

I know it’s probably different for everyone because we are all such unique people -designed and loved by You. Yet praying in the Spirit involves living with Your Holy Spirit in us. It begins with believing that Jesus died for us on the cross. It is believing that our old life/ nature/ selfish will has been crucified with Jesus. Jesus sends the Spirit to live in us in a resurrected life that is much more real than this earthly life. It is knowing that He really lives in us and through us. I know it’s crazy, but to pray in the Spirit is not just asking You to make my wish come true. It is being still in Your presence. It is praying for the richer things of the Spirit that might come even from very challenging situations. It is trusting that You are at work in me, and in others, bringing about Your Kingdom that is high above this earthly life.

Praying in the Spirit is knowing it is no longer my blood that runs through my veins, my goals to obtain, my answers to problems, my demands…it is Your Spirit running through my surrendered heart and soul. You said that the prayers of a righteous man can accomplish much…but I realize that there is nothing righteous about me. The only righteousness in me was given to me by Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. I am a new creation in Him. Your Spirit truly lives in and through me. I find myself praying in whole new ways and trusting You in all situations. Praying in the Spirit is yielding to Your will/ Your intercession/ Your answers/ Your amazing work. There are times, I am tempted to slip back into my powerless prayer life so I have to re-surrender to Your unseen powerful Spirit. What a crazy mysterious plan You have- to work in and through our prayers in the Spirit. Thank You for this amazing gift, Lord! Let me get myself out of the way so Your Spirit can flow through me.

 

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“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18

 

“If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for He lives in with you and will be in you.” Jesus’ promise in John 14:15-17

 

“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 2:38

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I accept Your sacrifice on my behalf for my sin of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Let me die to my old life and let Your Spirit live in me…

Most Holy Father,

Can I dare say that I have identified with Mary many times in my life? Some may think that’s outrageous for me to say, but I know You know my heart, Lord…and I think that may be something that pleases You. In fact, maybe we all should expect Jesus like Mary did…

Mary was an ordinary peasant girl (like me) just going about her daily life when You sent the angel Gabriel to tell her she would give birth to Your Son. At first, she was frightened (as I can understand—fearing something in the spiritual realm as seen). Though Mary knew it seemed impossible to conceive a baby (let alone Your Son), she accepted the news and had faith it would happen because You sent Your word.

Very quickly, before telling anyone, before it even seemed real—she hurried to visit her cousin Elizabeth who lived in another town. The angel told Mary that Elizabeth was also going to have a baby very soon though they had no contact. When Mary greeted her cousin, the baby inside Elizabeth (John the Baptist who was to prepare the way for the Lord) leaped for joy (recognizing even in the womb that his Lord was there!) This is how I feel when You affirm a promise to me when I see no evidence yet! I certainly identify with Mary’s rejoicing praise in You. Do my little-fumbling-words-yet-heartfelt-praises stand for eternity as well?

Mary had to face many hardships from her own people- the initial abandonment from her Joseph, friends and family’s gossip and judgement, (yet You sent Joseph back to help her and he most certainly did), the long dangerous journey to Bethlehem, no place open to go through the labor of birth, the humbleness of giving birth to the Son of the Most High in the very lowest of places.

Father, I know what it is like to do what is utterly impossible for me to do on my own —to have Your Son be born in me, for my whole life to be changed from whatever little insignificant plans I might have had—to know the intimate blessing of His Spirit alive and moving in me—to know the pain yet immensely greater joy of carrying Jesus and sharing Your Son with anyone who is ready and willing to accept Your Son. Father, may we all be willing to be like Mary, and let Jesus grow and be glorified in our lives. In fact, let us go through this day expecting Jesus and watching Him move and live!

 

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“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.’ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’
The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.’
‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.”

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord God, I am ready and willing to have Jesus born in me and carry him to the world…

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

Heavenly Father,
One time in my early twenties, I was going through what seemed like more than my share of some pretty intense trials which seemed to have no way out. I needed to talk to my dad; so I went to find him where I could almost always find him—at the end of a water hose watering plants in one of the back commercial growing greenhouses. I was in luck because that meant no customers and his undivided attention. He listened with compassion as I poured out my heart. Then he told me I needed to go home and read the book of James from the Bible. So I did. I read through part of the second verse… “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” I was so mad that I closed the Bible! How could I count these intense situations I was going through as joy!? It took me many more trials and turning to You, Lord, to realize I could truly consider my trials joy…

When I first began facing all these adult trials, I thought no one else in the world ever had to face so much hardship. Since that time, I have discovered that this life is filled with trials of many kinds, and every single person faces their own unique testing and obstacles. Little did I know those first trials I faced were nothing compared to some of the trials to come. I finally read the rest of the book of James—including the rest of that sentence I closed the book on earlier. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Lord, I’m so glad I am not in my twenties any more. Yet now I truly can count each and every trial I have gone through as joy. Each challenge has shown me how weak I am and how much I need You. Each trial has drawn me closer to You because I knew I could not get through it on my own. Every time, I have learned that Your ways are far better than my most brilliant ideas. My faith in You has grown through having to trust You. You have developed perseverance in me and I have learned to stop and consider any new trial joy because I know You will work out things far better than I ever could! It is a joy to persevere through this life with You, Lord! I will persevere all the way until I finish this race and You come get me!

 

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“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial. Because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:3-5

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, what past and current trials can I consider joy?…

photo by my brother Rodd Moesel

Heavenly Father,
As I sit outside in Your glorious world that You created for us, my soul knows You are with me. I long to sing of Your beauty and majesty but my voice is so inadequate. Yet my spirit intermingles with Yours and love spills out and lifts me to You. Words are often how I best express my heart yet words are too small…yet Your Word is in me, around me and flows through me. I long to say I love You in a way that truly communicates what cannot be put into a single phrase…so I am quiet and realize that You sent Your Word of love through Jesus. There is, was and never will be a better expression of love!

You sent Jesus to be Your presence with us-even though we are sinners. He lived as one of us yet He is the Messiah which literally means “God with us!” He lived in this sinful world among a sinful rebellious people yet He was without sin so He could die to pay for our sin—to make us holy—to free us from the horrible separation from You. He rose again and conquered death so we could live with you now and forever. This eternal life, this joy of intermingling with Your Spirit, this knowledge of Your Holy presence starts when we accept the lavish gift You have given us through Jesus Christ.

Far too often, I get too caught up in this world and take my eyes off You. But oh!! When I am still and search for You and Your presence, I find that You are faithful to me. You are always right here with me, longing for me to know the joy of Your presence which never leaves me or forsakes me. Father, let me always run to You, stay with You, be with You, savor Your majesty and the miraculous way You love us back to You. As much as Your presence means to me personally, I know You offer Yourself to be present with every single person. How I pray we each accept what You’ve given us through Jesus…and we praise You in Your presence now and forever!

 

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“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him. And this is His command to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: we now it by the Spirit He gave us.” 1 John 3:18-24

 

“You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.” Acts 2:28. Psalm 16:11

 

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:23

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die in my place so I can live unseparated forever with You…

Heavenly Father,
Yesterday’s sermon took me right back to something that happened in my early twenties. I was a young married mom, facing several extremely hard difficulties. They just kept coming and I thought I was the only one in the world who had to face so many challenges. So I went looking for my dad. I could usually find him watering in one of the family’s commercial greenhouses. I followed the water hose in one of the growing greenhouses where the public didn’t go. I was glad to find him so I could pour out all my troubles to him. He patiently listened and then told me to go home and read the book of James in the Bible. So I did. Almost the very first sentence said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance…” There was much more, but that made me mad so I stopped reading (at least for a while!)…

Since that time, I have faced many more trials (many which were even harder than what I was facing at that time). I have indeed learned much from each and every trial. My faith in You has grown stronger. You were already faithful—it just took me going through those challenges to realize just how wonderful You are, Lord. Now, I can understand. I really can consider it pure joy when I face trials—because You are up to something good! Each test has brought me closer to You! There is no greater joy!

Lately, some of my adult children and different friends have been facing some hard trials. I can even consider that joy because I know You are using those tests to help them see their deep need for You. Out of the pain will come eternal gain which can come no other way. From their weakness, You can give them Your strength. Most of the time I remember it is not my place to fix their challenges or take it away because their greatest growth will come from these trials. I can stand by them, listen to them, pray for them and lift them into Your faithful care. I can encourage them to turn to You in their trials. You know what is needed in their lives and what is required to eternally bless others through them.
Father, I pray for each and every person who happens to be reading this prayer to consider it pure joy when they face the trials they are going through. You are up to something good! Help them persevere in You!

 

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you can be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-3

 

“Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7-8

 

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” 1 Peter4:12-13

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, let me tell You of my troubles and then trust You with joy with what is coming!

Heavenly Father,
I cringe when I think how long I let unforgiveness have a foothold in my life. Almost twenty years is too long! It’s true that according to the world’s standards I was innocent and had every right to be angry, and those who had hurt me had no right to expect my forgiveness. Yet one day I realized a horrible poison was causing a deadly cancer to grow in me. It was unforgiveness. The symptoms caused bitter sickness whenever the offender’s name was mentioned or the sight of them. It was eating away at my peace and joy. It was interfering with my freedom to live fully in Your forgiveness, Lord.

One day I read Jesus’ warning. “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins against you, Your Father will not forgive your sins.” Ouch!! Lord, You were speaking to my very soul. It was Your deep desire to heal me from this deadly disease of unforgiveness. You knew I was innocent of the wrong in the first place, but I had let my pain and bitterness get a dangerous foothold deep in my soul. I was in critical spiritual health.

Lord, it took repeated times of forgiving. I didn’t mean it as much when I first began. Yet the more I prayed for those who had hurt me, the more I meant it. Each time I forgave them, it became a little more sincere. What a relief! What a burden lifted! How I praise You for helping me to forgive like You did me. The more I practice forgiveness, the easier it becomes. Father, forgive them as You have forgiven me. Let us all live in the freedom of forgiveness that is only possible because of Jesus Christ.

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“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13

“…Forgive and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I forgive….