Most Gracious Heavenly Father,

How sweet it is to sit in the shade of Your presence. It can be sweltering heat, beating down on me—wearing me out. In fact, the other day, the heat index was so high I had a mild case of heatstroke from working out in the heat and humidity. I had to immediately seek shade so I could sit down and cool off.  No matter how hot life gets—no matter what is going on to zap my strength—no matter how unbearable the conditions get…I can find sweet relief simply by sitting in the shade of Your Holy presence.

I don’t even have to say anything. I can just sit and be still and know who You are—the Lord God of all, the highest Authority over heaven and earth, the One who rules forever and ever—the One who created me and knows all my needs, weaknesses and fears. There is the sweetest shelter from the heat of this life before me at all times. All I have to do is sit with You. You bring relief, cool gentle breezes to restore my peace. I know I am not the only one who experiences Your tender nearness. I cannot comprehend how You can sit with me like I am the only person in the world. You know me. You understand me. You restore me. Yet You are doing that all over the world with whoever chooses to sit in Your shade. There is a young mom in Russia, a teenager in Cameroon, a grandfather in Canada, a girl in Ireland…many times over. You are sitting personally with each of us in the shade of Your presence.

It’s all because of Jesus. Because of our sinfulness, we cannot sit in Your Holy presence. You sent Jesus to wash away our sins, to make us holy forever. You sent Jesus so we can be with You always. You sent Jesus to live in us through Your Holy Spirit so we can sit with You in Your presence any time. Lord, help me not to wander too far from the shade of Your presence.

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“The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”   Psalm 121:5-8

 

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  Psalm 91:1

 

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, let me rest in Your shade through my faith in Jesus Christ…

Heavenly Father,

When I was a little girl, I couldn’t understand why in the world anyone would call the day Jesus was beaten and died on a cross as “Good Friday.” It seemed awful to me. I also couldn’t figure out why songs were sung about loving the rugged cross or the beauty of the cross. As I have traveled through life, I have discovered just how GOOD it really is—not the cross itself, but what Jesus did on the cross. Now I can sing “never did such sorrow and love flow mingled down” while my own sorrow and love flow mingled together in tears of gratitude for the greatest gift of love ever given. It was Your perfect plan to send Your Son Jesus to die and rise again ever since the very first sin was committed.

Though Jesus was with You as all things were created, You sent Him to be born as a simple human man to walk and live among us. His teachings and miracles were world-changing—yet that was not His true purpose. Even though He is holy and pure, and reigns high with You, His purpose from the very beginning was to willingly take on not only the whole world’s sin—but my personal sins. The Prince of peace, Lord of lords, Son of the Most High came when the time was right to carry the sins of all the people of all time upon Himself (though He was completely unblemished by sin) and take all that guilt and shame to the cross. Your Son paid the price (which is death) for our sin. No one killed Him. He willingly gave His life for us all—for me!

He knew His death and resurrection would open the way for anyone who accepts, confesses and believes that He is Your Son. He came to save us so we can have eternal life with You. How grateful I am that You love us so much that You sent Jesus. There is no other way to be forgiven, cleansed, holy. There is no other way to have eternal life with You. He is the way, the truth and the life. He gave us eternal life through His death on our behalf. He rose again so we could live forever with You—starting now! There is no better Friday. The moment Jesus died on that cross, His mission was completed, finished! What looked like the end was the beginning. Today we honor Your love for us through the amazing gift of Jesus’ death on the cross for us. It is not just Good Friday—it is the perfect Friday! All we have to do is believe and accept what has already been done for us on that beautiful cross.

*****

“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

 

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23

 

“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. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-18

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die for my sins. I believe…

Heavenly Father,

There are times I realize how incredibly busy I am! There is always a lot going on in my life and in the lives of those around me. There are times when I almost panic wondering how I keep up with my schedule- then I remember that it is Your schedule. And a peace comes over me that allows me to just relax and trust that You hold time (and me) in Your hands. Whatever calendar, to-do-list, or schedule I might happen to make is only a draft until Your perfect plans take priority. I love being on Your schedule, Lord! It takes the pressure off me and it’s always exciting to see what You have in store each day.

I happen to have a job with a paycheck where my schedule is flexible. My days and hours are different every week. On the days I go to work as an early childhood teacher, I am handed a written daily schedule which could place me in a different room each day, or a different room each hour or even change throughout the day. My job is to be flexible. It is my job, and I love being available to serve where needed. I love being on call for You, Lord. It is quite an adventure to watch where You send me, who You place me with, and Your perfect timing in action. It takes a lot of pressure off me to realize I couldn’t possibly set all the things in motion that You do. You know exactly where You want me so I am always learning to submit and simply enjoy Your scheduling.

Besides that, You know exactly what You want me to accomplish (or in some cases—not accomplish) in each 24-hour day. In my little mind, I will try to squeeze way too much in and will end up stressed and annoyed because I didn’t get what I thought was important done. Father, it seems the most important thing I can schedule is time to be still with You. That’s when I recall who is really in charge and who knows exactly what needs to happen on this particular day. That’s when I can re-surrender myself to You and make myself available for Your scheduling. When I do it, I love my job with You! I can simply enjoy every moment—trusting You have me right where You need me for that moment.  What an adventure to follow Your schedule, Lord!

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“As God’s fellow workers, we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For He says, ‘In the time of My favor I heard you, and in the time of My salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”  2 Corinthians 6:1-2

 

“But I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands…”  Psalm 31:14-15a

 

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’  And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”   Isaiah 6:8

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, show me where You want me…

Heavenly Father.

After just going through bills, I am happy to say there was enough money to pay them. Most of my life has been a struggle financially. My bank account may not be overflowing, but my blessings are! I noticed that my checking account started out larger but got smaller the more bills I paid. It’s different with my blessings. The more I share them, count them and pass them out—the more I have! Sometimes I think if You give me any more blessings, Lord, I will explode!

I have a clean and clear conscience which money cannot buy. It’s not that I haven’t done anything wrong; it’s because You have forgiven me and keep giving me a clean new start. I don’t deserve it. I can’t earn it…but You have provided it through Jesus Christ. I just accept it! I am rich in grace and newness of life! I have peace which cannot be purchased. I can relax and enjoy my life with You. I need not struggle against You. You have blessed me with a calm assurance, knowing that all is well—no matter what things in this world look like. There may not be peace in the world but You give me peace in my spirit. The greatest treasure I have is love. There is just no end to it. I was a poor pitiful beggar at one point in my life, but You have loved me with an everlasting love that never runs out. Your love just keeps multiplying as I give it away.

You have deposited so many people around me to love—family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, children, grandchildren, strangers… I am rich, indeed! Lord, You have lavished love upon me, though I did nothing to earn it. I never want to be chintzy with the love You fill me with. I never want to hoard it, store it, or hide it. I want to love You and others with the overflowing generosity that You share love. I am completely bankrupt without You. Yet You pour out all Your richest heavenly treasures upon me. Let me share them freely to make room for more! I am so rich that I will be giving it away all my life and never run out. I am RICH in You, Lord!

*****

“Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ, walk.”  Acts 3:6

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Luke 12:32-34

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, let me choose Your riches or that of the world…

Heavenly Father,

I am proud to say that I am needy! That is usually not looked upon as a good trait in today’s world. People are honored for being self-sufficient and self-confident. People are applauded for being a self-made millionaire or one who gets things done by themselves. We are told to rely on our own strength and to be our own person. I have tried all that and discovered that I let myself down. My own thoughts and ideas may seem grand at the time but fizzle out when I try to make a go of it by myself. I am so happy to be needy…I need You, Lord!

Admitting I need You for all things has not made me less of a person. Instead, it is making me more fully who I am created to be. I can be content in trusting You in every situation, knowing You have a divine plan that is far higher than the best plan I could ever come up with. I can be at peace resting in my relationship with You. I can be sure of who I am- one who is valued and cherished enough that You sent Jesus to die for me to give me new life. I can soar above all the drama and conflict that comes against me, knowing that my present and my future are completely secure in You. Fear has no hold on me because I know You are with me! I belong to You and You belong to me.

Lord God, I need You today and always. I don’t ever want to go anywhere without You. I don’t have to. You complete me. You live in me and I live in You. Every day is fresh and new in You. I not only need You- I want You! I love my life hidden with You. You bring joy, peace, love and contentment into my life. I don’t need a big house, an overflowing bank account, people’s respect, or anything else this world has to offer. I need You! I need Your breath to sustain me physically and spiritually. I need Your presence to make life beautiful and purposeful. I need Your guidance to fulfill Your perfect plans instead of my defective ideas. I need Your strength, Your patience, Your wisdom, Your everything…because my own falls far short. Yes, Lord! I fully admit I NEED You! Thank You for Jesus Christ who fulfills that need. I need You. I trust You. I love You.

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“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  Hebrew 4:16

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”   Romans 5:6-8

Jesus prayer in John 17:26: “I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for ME may be in them and that I Myself may be in them.” 

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, I need You…I need Jesus…

Heavenly Father,
There have been many times in my life when I have been overwhelmed with thankfulness when someone did something for me that I could never repay. It’s a humbling experience to be shown such love and not be able to reciprocate. But when I think of all You have done for me, Lord, I can’t even begin to say thanks…but I’m going to try. I hope I don’t ever appear ungrateful for all Your blessings.
Thank You for creating this beautiful garden of a world as an earthly home for me. Its breath-taking splendor does not go unnoticed with the glorious sunsets, magnificent mountains, enormous oceans, peaceful valleys, productive prairies all filled with millions of trees, animals of all kinds, fruits, flowers, grass…To think You made it specifically for us to live in while on this earth! You have given us everything we need. Thank You for even thinking of me when You knit me together in my mother’s womb…and for thinking of each of my family and friends and giving them life. None of us would even be—if not for You. Thank You for the special people You have surrounded me with—some for a short time here on earth, others for a much longer time. Thank You for the promise of eternal relationships with these same family and friends- even when we are separated here on earth (whether by death, moving or whatever reason).
Father, everything I have and am; everything I hold dear comes from You. I can’t breathe, move, love or even appreciate anything at all without You. It’s so true—all blessings flow from You! Who am I but one tiny being out of billions…yet You love me enough to send Jesus to take away all my sins and ungratefulness and give me eternal life. How can I ever say thank You for loving me when I was unlovable? How can I ever say thank You for making it possible to live with You now and forever? How can I thank You for making me pure and holy? How can I thank You for never leaving me or forsaking me? If I am so overwhelmed by all Your blessings here on earth, how can I ever say thank You for an eternal life that goes far beyond what I can imagine? How can I say thank You? I will live my life loving You and loving others. That sounds like the thanks You desire, Lord
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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
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians9:15
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Prayer Prompt:
Heavenly Father, thank You for…

Almighty God,

I was asked the other day to sing acapella with a group of ladies in church this morning. I do not have the best singing voice. However, I do love to sing to the Lord. When my children were young and I spent a lot of time driving them around, I would turn up the praise music and sing my heart out. My very own kids turned the station to keep me from singing! I always told them (and I truly believe) that You love my singing, Lord. You listen to my heart and not the notes. When I told my husband that I had been asked to sing during church, he said with surprise, “But you don’t sing!” (Good thing I love him!) I told him that I thought I was going to. I found the song on You Tube and sang along with it several times. My wonderful husband asked, “So you’re going to sing?” I told him, “How can I not sing my thanks to the Lord!?” So I did—along with other sisters-in-Christ (Some who have beautiful voices and others who had never sung in front of church before). I can’t help but believe You thought our song of thanks was lovely, Lord.

Recently, I had a phone conversation with a mom who was very hurt because her grown daughter never says thanks—she just expects her mother to do whatever she needs her to do. The ungratefulness affects their relationship… I had another conversation with a young mom who was deeply blessed by the help of some believers. She confessed she didn’t know how to handle it—that she wasn’t good at just receiving a gift… I think of how often I try to install the practice of saying thank you to the little toddlers and preschool children I work with. I may just be pouring them a glass of milk at lunch, but if they learn now to say thank you, perhaps they will grow to be even more thankful for all the blessings they will receive in their lives.

Father, out of all the wonderful blessings You have showered me with, I want to give thanks most of all for Jesus Christ. He is the most incredible, undeserved gift ever given. He died in my place so I can live with You forever. He rose again so I could live a new life. He lives in me and with me. He will never leave me. He empowers me to do Your will. He shows me what is truly important and takes away my guilt, shame, fears and burdens. Though I will live for all eternity, I will never be able to say or sing Thank You enough for Jesus Christ. But I will not quit trying. Forever I will be thanking You for loving me so much that You sent Jesus for me.

*****

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”  Psalm 100

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim His salvation day after day.”  1 Chronicles 16:23

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, I want to say thank you for…


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.
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“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,
I am going to truly savor this moment because I will never have it again. Each moment is beautiful and unique in its own way. Most of all, it becomes priceless when I share it with You. It will only last a second but it becomes eternal when I live it with You. My awareness of Your very presence changes everything. I’ve been told that You, Lord God Almighty, created me and have been with me since the beginning; yet when I draw close to You in the present moment, my moments become eternal filled with purpose, joy and completeness. The only way I can draw close to You without sin is through Jesus Christ.
Any moment can become holy when I live it with You: when I look at an angry fit-throwing toddler and see through Your eyes the need for love and guidance; when I stand at the washer sorting through another mountain of dirty socks and underwear, I am humbled by the tender ways You continually care for us; when a dear family I love is spending what seems to be the last days of a loved one’s life, I know each moment is precious, short and eternal all at the same time; when I sit on the patio with a cup of coffee and am quiet in Your presence, You fill me, refresh and restore me; when I am stuck in traffic and I’m late to get to my destination, I am grateful for Your reminder to slow down and enjoy the moment; when someone is rude, You give me insight they need extra prayer; when I hear bad news, I stop and turn to You and recall that You are in control and will work all things together for good for those who love You; when I start to worry about one of my children or grandchildren, You remind me of how You helped me through all my trials and drew me closer to You—I can trust You to do that with them, as well; when I hear of riots, earthquakes, and hurricanes, I know there will be many turning to You in the midst of those painful disasters; when I see a single flower bloom, or trees swaying in the breeze, I revel in Your glory that surrounds us with such beauty.
Any moment becomes holy and eternal with You, Lord. All I have to do is stop and turn to You. It can be a dull boring moment, a scary moment, a painful moment, a tearful moment, a peaceful moment, a confusing moment, a weary moment… all moments are given by You and can become holy just by turning to You. Most of all, I thank You for that eternal moment when You sent Jesus to die for my sins and be raised again so I could choose to live forever with You. That moment changed everything! May all my moments be lived with You—forever!
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“But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:8b—10
“But I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands…” Psalm 31:14—15a
“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
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Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, help me share this moment with You…