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Heavenly Father,

As I contemplate what I am thankful to You for, Lord, the top of my list is You! Every rich and lovely blessing I have flows straight from You. As I count my sweetest treasures, it becomes more and more evident that every single person or thing that blesses my life was lavished on me out of Your great love for me. I can count forever and still not list all the amazing blessings You shower me with. There is no way to repay You or even thank You adequately. You are the great Giver of love and blessings! How can I possibly thank You enough for my wonderful husband, children, grandchildren, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and church family? How can my simple words of gratefulness thank You for the love, joy, peace and happiness that comes from living with You?  There are so many eternal and physical ways You bless me that I can never thank You enough! And yet, it is so important to thank You!

The more I concentrate on what I do have instead of what I don’t have- the more and more blessings I realize I have to be thankful for. It’s as though the more I look at what I am thankful for, the more I see. Many of these things and even precious people could somehow be taken away…but You, Lord God, are mine forever and ever! I don’t want to just be thankful for all I receive from You. That would be such a self-centered, one-sided relationship. I want to be thankful for You in all Your fullness including Your Son and the Holy Spirit. You knew me and even created me before anyone else did. You have always been with me and always will be. Not even death can separate us.

You long to share all of Yourself with me. You held nothing back as You sent all of Your essence in Jesus Christ to pay the ultimate price for my sins which block that full rich relationship with You. You send me Your Holy Spirit in all Your essence to live in me so I might have all Your love, joy, peace and holiness along with Your ever-present presence to comfort, guide, teach, encourage, and strengthen me in all my frailness. Oh yes, Lord- You are my greatest treasure! Above all, I am thankful for who You are and the knowledge that You truly love me and continually lavish me with unending blessings. You are my eternal treasure! And You are not just mine alone…but belong to all who accept You!

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“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Matthew 6:19-21

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44-46

“…the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, for ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”  Romans 10:12b-13

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, my greatest blessing is…

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Heavenly Father,

It shows great trust when someone asks your help. Even greater trust is given when they say “thanks” as they are asking…before it’s even been done. It’s like they have no doubt they will have your help. That doesn’t happen very often in my life…and I wonder how often it happens in our prayer life with You, Lord. It must not happen very often according to Jesus’ reaction in Matthew 8:5-10: “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, asking for help. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.’ Jesus said to him, ‘I will go and heal him.’ The centurion replied, ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have You come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this, He was astonished and said to those following Him, ‘I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.’”

Lord, I would love to astonish You! I want to start thanking You in advance for Your answers to my prayers before they are even answered – even as I present my thoughts and concerns to You. I don’t want to use my advanced thanks like some magic step that will guarantee that You work things out my way. I figured out a long time ago that Your ways are much better than mine. So I will keep on lifting all my burdens and cares to You and then thank You in advance. For I know You will work things out much better for all concerned than I could ever scheme up.

No matter what the news looks like, or how the world appears, or what’s going on in my children and grandchildren’s lives, what my bills look like or my health looks like…I want to thank You in advance for Your amazing answered prayers in all these and more situations. I tell You about them and I know You will bring about Your most perfect will. I will try harder to end all my prayers to You with a thank-You in advance with a real assurance that You will answer in ways that will astonish me.

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“You are my God, and I will give You thanks; You are my God, and I will exalt You. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”  Psalm 118:28-29

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

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”   1 Thessalonians 5:16

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, I want to thank You in advance for….

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Heavenly Father,

I often step in to teach a class of twelve 3-4 year old preschool children. They can be pretty demanding when they all want to tell me something at once- especially at mealtime when they all want a drink of milk when I’m still passing out other food. I know they are still learning, but boy- it’s really nice when one of them simply says “thank-you” without be prompted! Part of their “self-centeredness” is developmental. They are still learning to think of others and not just their own wants.  It’s a hard but critical lesson to be thankful. I do try to train them to say it, but then ever so often they say it on their own and really mean it! Wow! One sincere thank–you can make up for quite a few loud demands.

Father, I wonder what the ratio is for You?! How many demanding “I wants” do You receive per day as opposed to genuine thank-You’s? I look back at my own relationship with You- in my personal prayer life. Hopefully, I’ve matured spiritually enough to tell You thanks far more often than telling You what I need. I used to be a bit of a whiner- always feeling sorry for myself because someone hurt my feelings, or wondering why I had to wait, or trying to tell You exactly what I need and when I need it. You have been so patient with me, waiting for me to grow up in Jesus Christ- learning to be grateful in all situations, trusting You will always give me the very best at the perfect time.

Father, I hope my thank-You’s cause You to stop and be blessed. I know many people who are listing things they are thankful for all during November. I pray our thank-You’s become such a habit- a deep part of who we are that we will be thanking You for all eternity and still have more to thank You for! I’ve noticed that gratefulness is contagious. If one of my preschoolers says “thank-you,” others begin to say it and the whole mood changes from demands to gratitude. Father, I want to start by thanking You for designing me with the ability to be thankful. The more I thank You, the more I find I have to be thankful for! Let the feast of thankfulness run ramped. I know that our thankfulness has the power to bless our own hearts, other’s hearts…and may our thanks have to power to bless You, Lord!

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“Now on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance and called out ion a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’ When He saw them, He said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him- and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this one foreigner?’ Then He said to him, ‘Rise and go; your faith has made you well.’”    Luke 17:11-19

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, right now, I want to thank You for…

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Heavenly Father,

Passions and emotions are volatile over an election that many people initially were upset about because they were disappointed over the two choices for president. Lord, both candidates are frail humans- just as any president and candidate in history has been. No matter who was elected, the president elect will come and go (just as all other presidents, kings and earthly leaders have.) You alone are God Almighty! You alone stand throughout eternity! You alone are high above all kings and kingdoms and governments- both in this world and in the spiritual world.

You have more power than the mightiest earthly dictator. You could force us to bow down and serve You as our God and King…yet You wanted it to be our choice. You gave us a mind and will of our own to decide who we will serve. That’s incredible since we have such fickle minds which follow the latest craze or school of thought. We are quick to follow our selfish desires, ambitions, and plans. Oh Lord, I am so grateful for Your patience with me. You have waited for me to realize my great need for You. You waited for me to acknowledge my rebellious sin against the very One who created me and loves me. You waited while I chose other people and things above You. You waited while I angrily questioned why I had to go through things. You waited in love for me to make my eternal choice. You have forgiven and forgotten all my sins against You when I chose to accept Your sacrifice of Jesus.

I voted in the recent election because thousands of people (though they never knew me) died in battles to insure and protect my right to choose. I have voted for earthly leaders who do not know me. I read in 1 Samuel 8 where You wanted to be a very closely involved loving King who personally led His people…but they demanded an earthly king. You warned that worldly leaders will tax, send our sons off  to war, make us work and rule our lives. You gave the people what they wanted. Father, I choose You to be my Ultimate King because You sent Your very own pure and Holy Son Jesus to die for my sins so I can be intimately involved in Your life and You can be intimately involved in mine. You love me because You made me and I am Yours. You know me better than I know myself and You still love me! I can trust You to lead me through this changing world which often seems full of chaos and unrest. All is well because You reign forever…and You are personally leading me! Your love is unchanging. You are my God, my King, my Lord, my Choice!

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“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”   Joshua 24:15

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…” Deuteronomy 30:19-20

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit- fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. This is My command: Love each other.”    John 15:16-17

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, forgive me for my choices in the past. Today, I choose…

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Heavenly Father,

One of the hardest things to do is give birth. That’s why having a great coach is critical.  Though I didn’t get to see the labor and delivery, I did get to witness the aftermath. Our newest granddaughter was just born into this world into the arms of some amazing parents. Mom gave birth naturally to a 10 lb 5 oz darling girl. By the time I saw the daddy, mommy and baby, they were all glowing! Mom was so proud she did it! She kept thanking her coach husband for his calm soothing “You can do this” attitude. During labor when she didn’t think she could take any more, he kept reminding her with words, touches and looks to relax and breathe. It was definitely teamwork between Coach and wife. Then came the winning celebration of a beautiful new baby to love!

I’ve been noticing a lot of great coaching lately…my youngest son and his wife just began their journey into foster parenting. They’ve been coached by other foster parents for this time. I have watched them coach their children-for-the-moment in the most amazing ways. There is no doubt You are using them and many other amazing foster parents to make a huge difference in children and families…I recently watched my sweet hyper 5 year old great grandson’s soccer game. His kind coaches patiently guided and encouraged him as he constantly stopped to wave at the bleachers and ran off to talk to family. They are making a difference in his life…I think of my parents, grandparents, first husband and present husband, aunts and uncles, church family, teachers, friends who all played a part coaching my life and I am incredibly grateful for their belief in me and encouragement.

Yet my greatest Coach has always been You, Lord! You have been coaching me from before I was born when I was still in my mother’s womb. You are always with me urging me on, believing in me, not giving up on me when I make mistakes or let You down. You are always there when the pain is too much to bear, when I face opposition, when I’m tired and weary, when I need to stop and rest, when I score a win, when I am injured and when I am at my  worst and my best. You are my Coach whispering encouragement, correction, and strength into my soul. How I love You, my Almighty Loving Coach! You will be with me all the way til I cross the finish line and beyond! Thank You!

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“O Lord, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in- behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”  Psalm 139:2-6

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”   Psalm 23:2-4

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

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, thank You for these coaches in my life….

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Heavenly Father,

We are all waiting on a baby to be born. We have no idea if it will be a boy or a girl (The parents decided to be surprised at birth!) There is no way to know what kind of personality this new little person will have or what they will go through in their life. We have seen an ultrasound picture and can pick out a few family features on the face. Even though we haven’t held this newest grandbaby or gazed into its eyes, we already love this child. Of course, I haven’t carried it inside of me like my sweet daughter-in-law has or felt all its tossing, kicking and hiccups. There is no doubt we will all love this child more as we share more life with it. We love this child because it is part of our family. We look forward to knowing this child!

You, Lord, already know everything about this little person. You knew this baby before the parents even knew they were going to have a baby. You have been wonderfully knitting together the DNA from both parents into a one-of-a-kind person to bless this world. You know how all this baby’s history and genetics will work together to design the miracle of a never-before person. We can’t wait to discover what You’ve made!

At the same time, we are waiting and preparing for other children to join our family. Another son and daughter-in-law are about to foster to adopt. It has been an amazing journey to watch You lead them through this process. You already know exactly which children need to be in their care short term, and which ones will become their forever children. We have no idea whether they will have boys, girls, siblings or what ages they might be. Just as certainly as You are at work in the womb of our soon-to-be-born grandbaby, You are also at work in the lives of the children who will pass through our family…and the ones who will be adopted into our family forever. The ones who are fostered or adopted may not have the family DNA…but they have Your DNA, Lord. That makes them our family, too.  I love these children as I wait upon them in prayer, as well. How I love to watch You work in Your design of individuals, marriages and families.

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“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”    Jeremiah 1:5

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of the sand. When I awake I am still with You.”  Psalm 139:13-18

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”  2 Corinthians 6:18

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, above any family here on earth, You are my Father. Thank You for my family including…

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Heavenly Father,

I’m still enjoying sharing all the lovely photos of the most amazing landscapes from our recent vacation. You don’t just paint still life; Lord…You paint with life itself. The leaves on the trees are ever-changing; the rivers, streams and ocean are made up of trillions upon trillions of water droplets that are ever-moving; the skies are never the same with clouds and colors always arrayed in a different pattern. We even saw animals which were amazing- does, bucks, turkeys, birds and a bear! Your beauty is seen wherever we go! On this trip as in vacations before, we were overcome with Your beautiful creation! It was much more than we could absorb. I will never forget a trip a couple of years ago, when I was so overcome with the magnificence of Your creations that I was praising You. You accepted my praise and then informed me that Your greatest creation was people!

You threw me completely off guard with that comment. We are always surrounded by so many people that we enjoy getting away from humans out into the quiet peaceful settings of nature. Ever since then, I try to remember what You told me and see people as Your greatest creation. People are, in fact, always changing as well. You create them out of nothing and knit them together in their mother’s womb. They start out tiny and helpless, waiting to be held and cared for…and keep on changing throughout their life time into magnificent one-of-a-kind, never before people who are made up of nerves, muscles, brains, personality, dreams, character and abilities. Each and every single person is one of the greatest works of art. They are not still life either, but are created to transform and grow in beauty throughout the trials, joys and challenges they each face in this journey of life.

Lord, we had a chance to not only experience the beauty of nature on this trip but were able to spend some time with some of the most amazing people. Some were young; others I have known all their lives and watched them transform from glory to glory. As much as I love experiencing Your awesome creations in this world, I love people the most. Thank You for giving me more love for people! They are amazing!

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“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our own 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 over all the creatures that move along the ground.’”  Genesis 1:26

“God saw all that He had made. And it was very good.”   Genesis 1:31a

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of Your hands; you put everything under his feet; all flocks and herds, and beasts of the field, and birds of the air, and fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, give me eyes to see and love to appreciate…

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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…