Heavenly Father,

I cannot tell you how many times as I have cared for children that they ask me a question and I answer. Within a few minutes, they ask me the same question—I answer again. A few minutes later, they ask me the same exact question. I finally point out that I have answered their same question every single time they have asked me. They ask; then go about their busy play—not even waiting or listening for an answer.

Lord, how many times in my life have I done the same thing to You? I make a big deal of asking You for something or for guidance in a situation; then it’s like I forget that I asked—or I don’t even bother to wait or listen for Your answer. I know that You hear every single thing I bring before You. My prayers are precious to You (even if what I ask for is not always so precious).

I’m learning to listen for Your answer after I ask You something. I’m learning to be patient and wait to see how You are working on whatever I have brought before You. There are many times, as I go on about my busy day that You quietly point out that “This is the answer to that prayer.” You work so much differently than I do. Your thoughts and ways and plans are so much higher than anything I could ever scheme up. Your ways are always so much better—even if I don’t see it at the time.

How I thank You for all the big and little ways You have answered every single one of my prayers. I can think of prayers that were answered immediately (sometimes before I could even voice them) and others which You answered, “Wait” and it took 34 years to see the answer. It was so worth the wait! Lord, help me continue to bring every little and big thing before You, and then listen and watch for Your answer. Thank You for listening to me, Lord!

 

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“They have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations; so I will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring upon them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke no one listened. They did evil in My sight and chose what displeases Me. Hear the word of God, you who tremble at His word.” Isaiah 66:3b-5a

“He (Jesus) came and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. And when He had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are all the prayers of the saints.”  Revelation 5:7-8

 

“He answered their prayers because they trusted Him.”  1 Chronicles 5:20b

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me listen to You, watch for You, and obey You today…

 

Heavenly Father,

For a long time, I have asked You to lead the weekly Bible Study growth group I facilitate. It’s always an adventure to watch how You lead. It never goes like I expect. I’m always surprised by the ways You teach all of us. The latest lesson You are leading us in has been through these “hawk attacks” as I go on my morning walks. There have been a series of attacks starting with a silent hawk zooming from behind with great power right on the top of my head! There has been a fair amount of fear try to keep me from walking as there have been more threats on sequential walks—but, Lord, I know You don’t want me to give in to fear.

So besides yelling at them and shaking my keys, this morning I pulled my long ponytail up and wore a straw hat. The huge birds were still out in full force all around me but I felt protected. As I walked past one scene of attack, there were four of them sitting high on the dead branches protruding high above the live part of the tree. Right as I walked past, a car drove by in the otherwise deserted street. I felt Your timing. They would not attack while something so large and powerful was there. As I passed by the first painful point of attack, there just happened to be four young people I had never seen walking together on the other side of the street. They passed by exactly at the very point of attack. They were talking about Jesus and said His name several times!

Father, thank You for the reminder that You are always with me protecting me. You won’t let anything through unless it is somehow for Your glory. All I need to do is be on alert for the attacks that are certain to come; be dressed in Your armor; overcome fear with the knowledge that You are with me; keep around other believers; and trust in Your protection, timing and angels; and use Jesus’ name to ward off the enemy. Help me to keep on walking with You (and to finish the lesson on “weapons and armor” that I didn’t know I was teaching—but You are leading for tonight! Just following Your lesson plan, Lord!)

 

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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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 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 6:10-18

“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 suffering.”   1 Peter 5:8-9

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me where I’m being attacked right now and help me stand in Jesus Christ…

Heavenly Father,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, I want more of You…


Heavenly Father,
There is one thing I can absolutely count on—that You are with me, Lord.
You have been with me always—even before I was conceived You knew me and the plans You had for me. You have been with me when I felt all alone. You have been with me when it seemed the whole world was against me. You have been with me when I was so wrong and undeserving. You have been with me when I demanded my own way. You have been with me when I thought I knew it all and when I found out how little I knew. You have been with me through gut-wrenching cries and gushing tears of joy. You have been with me through painful heartbreak and happy reconciliation. You have been with me when I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from as well as times I thought I would burst if You added more blessings.
You have been with me through the births and deaths of those I love. You have been with me through both epic failures and celebrations of success. You have been with me through fearful situations where there was no apparent way out—where You opened up an unseen door to miraculous outcomes. You have been with me in dark evil places and brought me into glorious light. You have been with me when the enemy tries to destroy me, and have protected me more than I will ever know. You have been with me when I have complained, whined, balked, rebelled and sinned against You. You have been with me when I have been humbled by Your truth and have gladly surrendered to Your will.
Lord, You have never left me and I know You never will. You are always calling me forward to new places with You. When I am slow or reluctant to follow, You wait for me or urge me on. You have a final destination to take me, but You are with me on this journey right now. There is no where I can go where You are not with me. There is nothing I will face without You. What a beautiful assurance of Your love. You are with me always to the end of this age and beyond. I love You.
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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
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Prayer Prompt-
Father, thank You for being with me when…

 

Heavenly Father,

I just spent last week at an awesome church camp (four nights and 5 days at a 4th-5th grade camp and then a day camp for K-1st grade). The most miraculous things happen at church camp which makes up for the hard waterproof mattresses on old squeaky bunk beds, the dirt that totally covers your body from the dust stirred up by so many feet, late nights with giggly girls, stinky boys who pride themselves on no showers, wet clothes thrown all over cabin floors, wet swimsuits which fall off the line and get dirt mixed together with snow cone and ice cream drippings, a few cases of homesickness or real sickness, several real or imagined boo-boos, and being asked a million times “What’s next?”

The eternal benefits far outweigh the downside. I want to thank You, Lord for a few of the miracles I had the privilege of witnessing this year: the boy whose family just moved to a small town in OK and attended church for the first time. His mom heard them talking about leaving for church camp and wished out loud her son could go to meet new friends. In less than an hour, he was packed and back at church to go to camp with people he didn’t know. He ended up getting baptized and camper of the week!…the very smart but extremely shy girl who fought through tears and fear to say memory verses in front of the whole crowd and discovered You are with her and will help her…4th and 5th grade kids who happily gave up their “canteen money” to donate to the mission of building chapels in OK prisons. They broke the record by giving $1000 towards helping inmates know about Jesus inside prison walls… the unbridled worship of children who sing to You with all their heart, minds and soul…

Lord, I was overcome by the history of this small church camp that gets city kids out in the country, that makes children forget all about TV, video games and cell phones. Many of the adult sponsors grew up going to camp there. That’s where they came to know You. I wonder how many of the 9 baptisms in the swimming pool last week will end up as pastors, teachers and living long lives for You. I have no way of knowing how many lives have been changed eternally through this one humble church camp serving a group of OK churches. Not only are the kids’ lives impacted for Your kingdom, adults are drawn closer to You as well. I know I found time to be still and quiet before You this week. I grew in Your word, Your presence and in sweet fellowship with big and little brothers and sisters-in-Christ. May we all take our renewed fire for You back to our daily lives and shine brilliantly with the Light of Jesus Christ! Thank You, Lord, for letting me be a part of church camp.

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“He (Jesus) took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in His arms, He said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes  one of these little children in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me but the one who sent Me.’”  Mark 9:36-37

“Let the little children come to ME, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:14b-15

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me how I can worship, obey and live with You like a child…

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Heavenly Father,

My preschoolers love to play a game where they follow the leader slowly, then quickly with a STOP thrown in every once in a while. They have lots of fun and don’t even realize they’re learning to listen, follow and obey. I love being an under-the-radar teacher…provide the lesson with love and passion; then let them learn from doing! Of course, little people are far better at the quick part than the slow…and the STOP is usually just barely more than a pause. But then, we adults are pretty much the same, aren’t we, Lord?

About a year ago, I was teaching a women’s group from the very practical book of James in the Bible. One particular verse struck a deep chord with all of us. In fact, it gets brought up frequently as almost a rallying statement in our group: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” from James 1:19. You are the Teacher calling out as we follow and learn to obey. As adults, we seem to wander around obstacles and challenging situations with ample opportunities to practice these spiritual skills. We haven’t mastered them yet, but Your still calm voice keeps repeating the instructions, watching to see if we are learning to obey.

Father, help me grow in obedience. There is one “Quick” and two “Slows” in this verse. The “Quick” actually requires us to stop our mouth and listen to You and others. The “slow to speak” is almost impossible without Your help. So is the “slow to anger!” My young students’ favorite part of the game is the STOP. They never know when it will happen. They have to freeze and listen. The longer I live with You, Lord, I believe the STOP is my favorite part, too. As I stop and am still before You, I am learning how to listen to You and others. Then I find the Holy Spirit slows me down and filters when I need to be angry and when I need to speak. Lord, that’s why I’m stopping right now to listen to You.

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“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.”   James 1:19-20

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

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”   James 1:22

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me stop and be still and listen to You right now…