All Powerful Heavenly Father,
You have tried to warn us of approaching danger and trials over and over again…but we choose not to listen. All throughout history, ever since sin entered into the world, You have told us there would be hardship. You sent Old Testament Prophets to warn Your people in times before Christ… Jesus warned us (even as followers) there will be persecution, famines, earthquakes and wars…It is part of life in this present world. You never told us You would take away our suffering. You sent Jesus to take away our sin so we can have the promise of eternal life where there will finally be no more suffering.

Jesus came to suffer as one of us yet He has overcome the world! He is with us, helping us to overcome through Your Holy Spirit. Thank You, Father, that He will never ever leave us or forsake us. As we submit our lives to Him, He lives in us enabling us to overcome. Father, I have no doubt that this pandemic was meant to kill, steal and destroy…but I also have no doubt that You are with us in the very midst of this pandemic to bring Your abundant life…so that is what I am praying for…

I pray for every single one of these to submit their life to You, to draw closer to You, to persevere through this pandemic with the hope and strength that can only come through Jesus Christ: for the nurses, doctors, CNAs, Housekeeping, Respiratory Therapists, First Responders and all others who are fighting this pandemic on the front lines…for those who are assisting with the daily needs of others- Nursing home personnel, grocery store workers and vendors, truckers, farmers, food servers, bankers, truckers, teachers, clergy, social workers…for those who are finding ways to help others through this: mask sewers, delivery people, neighbors…

May we all turn to You and realize our great need for You. We were created to need You and love You. We were designed to need and love one another. Father, through this pandemic, let Your glory shine brighter than ever as You bring new life from suffering. Take away our complacency, ingratitude, grumbling, spirit of entitlement, disregard for You, our God and Creator. Let this be a time of revival and turning our hearts, minds and souls to You. In Jesus’ victorious name, we pray. Amen.

 

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“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:17-19

“News about him (Jesus) spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Matthew 4:24

“I (Jesus) have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, during this pandemic, I pray for…

 

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…

Most Glorious Heavenly Father,
Your love is outlandish! How incredible that the Lord God, Maker of all the earth and everything in it and all the galaxies should love me so tenderly?! You are always with me, meeting my every need, satisfying my desires, singing over me, protecting me, guiding me, watching me when I am asleep and when I am awake! I try to love You back in a way that honors a love that was willing to send Your own Son Jesus to be born as one of us, to live and die for the penalty I deserved for my sin- so I could be with you for all eternity. I try to set aside time just to be with You alone and enjoy Your presence…and yet I am so easily distracted by the most ridiculous things. I have this chance, this opportunity, this honor to come to You at any time. It was paid for at the highest price ever paid. And yet I neglect or take this gift for granted. You, Lord, loved me first. I can never out-love You. I would have no comprehension of what love really is- if not for You loving me first. But I truly want to make You my first love…

Not the amazing kind of first love I encountered with my parents loving me as a tiny baby…not the first love of that little boy (forgot his name!) in kindergarten who professed his love for me and mine for him…not the unconditional love from or for my brothers…not the true love from my high school sweetheart Steve, who I went on to marry(I didn’t forget his name!)… not the even the breath-taking love I’ve known holding each one of my newly born children or grandchildren or the love that continues to grow…not the surprising love I thought was not possible—to love another husband after the death of my first (his name is Tex, I mean Dwight!)…not the love for so many friends and even strangers. There are so many experiences of love both received and given that I am eternally grateful for, Lord. And they all flow from You! Yet I want You to be my first love..

Lord, it seems the only way we can know true love is to first experience it and receive it from You through Your eternal gift of Jesus Christ. I’m glad to know that You realize how frail our love is compared to Yours, yet You give us the capacity to give and receive it like You do. I long to love You more, Lord. I desire to keep You as my first love; for when I do, I am capable of loving others so much more. I love because You love me first!

 

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“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

 

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-38

 

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” Revelation 2:4

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, am I loving You as You deserve?…

Heavenly Father,

Even though I was young, when I first heard Martin Luther King’s dream of all Your children playing and living together someday in peace, I knew this is how You want it to be. It sounded perfect, but like many dreams, it takes a lot blood, sweat and tears for it to come true. It often takes someone’s earthly life like it did Dr. King’s. In my lifetime, I have seen huge advances toward that dream becoming reality…and yet I don’t know that it will be fully realized in our present earthly lives. Our sinful nature finds too many reasons to prejudge by one another’s appearance, to be divided, and even to hate for the smallest differences.

Lord, You spell out Your own dream (actually a promise) in the last book of the Bible in Revelation 7:9—”After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” You gave us a glimpse into the new heaven and new earth where all Your people are praising You in one voice—with one spirit—in one love. Jesus was willing to give up His life for our oneness with Him and with You, Lord.

Our love for You, as we more fully realize Your love for us, will spill over for love for one another. Oh Lord, how I long for that day! Just when I think I am making headway towards this fullness of love, You expose some way I still let something divide my love for others. Lord, Your love is pure, holy, perfect, all-encompassing—even for those who disrespect the very One who gives them everything—the very One who sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us while we were full of sin. There is no greater love!

Father, I will not be able to end hate, prejudice, racial or other types of divisions here on earth, but I surely can let Your love rule in me. Here I am, Lord, will You continue to create in me a clean heart that loves the unworthy, those who hate me, those who hurt my loved ones, those who misjudge me, those who sin against You. Let my heart and spirit be one with You because of Jesus…and let me give others a glimpse of all Your people praising You in the white robes that only Jesus gives us as we acknowledge Him as our personal Lord and Savior.

 

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“And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9

 

“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.’” Acts 10:34-36

 

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, use me to help bring Your dream/promise of oneness of Your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven…

Most Gracious Heavenly Father,
We’ve been praying for preparation for the mission trip we are about to go on to India for a couple of months. We’ve prayed for safety, eyes to see what You are doing and willingness to do what You want us to do, for hearts and minds to be open to Your leading and for encouragement to those we are going to visit. Wow! You been preparing us and others, Lord. You are just as much at work in the preparation as the actual trip. What a journey we have had so far and we haven’t even left home!

As time has grown closer for our departure, we asked the head of the college we will visit what he believes is our main purpose this trip. He told us to encourage the young people who have traveled from all over India on foot or on the back of trucks that happen to be going that way. These young people are coming to study so they can go back to be Christian leaders in a country that is full of hardships and persecution for believers. We were immediately humbled. How can we encourage them when they face so much more than we do? But You have been faithful to prepare each of the six going as we have faced challenges, health issues, family who are very adamant about their loved one not going…We knew we would face opposition but it is all turning out for good so we will be more prepared to encourage those we will visit.

The finances seemed overwhelming, but You supplied in the most unusual and incredible ways from airline tickets to pumpkins. We just keep thanking You for preparing and leading the way! It has been inspiring to see how You have involved so many other people who are not going but have become part of the team through gifts of prayer, money, soccer balls, eyeglasses, pumpkins and hay, luggage organizers, power converters… Relatives, various churches, and long-time friends have jumped on board. People who know nothing of missions have become involved and want follow up reports. A dear younger sister-in-Christ has organized a prayer team scheduled to have different people praying for this mission each day at the same time until we return. A non-believing customer who bought pumpkins and mums at our fundraiser kept coming back to ask more questions about Jesus, the church and what we are doing. He initially told his wife not to spend very much but ended up donating the largest amount that day. How I praise You, Lord! Our preparation is to turn to You and let Your Spirit lead. Just the preparation alone for this trip has done more than we could ever ask for or imagine. May You keep preparing us and everyone both here and there who are somehow touched by You. You do great things, Lord!

 

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“In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the Glory of the Lord will be revealed.” Isaiah 40:3-5

 

“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-11

 

“It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, help me prepare by coming to You—so You can prepare me for Your perfect work…

Heavenly Father,
There seems to have been a flood of deaths around me lately. Some of them have been very close to me and others involve relatives or friends of those I am close to. Death is never easy- no matter the age or circumstance of the one we mourn. My forever Pastor Jerl, who just died, enjoyed teasing and called me “a grief guru” because he knew I would protest! Who wants to be associated with death and grief? I would much rather deal with life than death! Yet they go together…

Those dear ones who just left this life—the two young football players, the young man in his twenties, the little girl everyone loved, the beloved husband, and our amazing pastor friend, Jerl are more alive than they have ever been! They had to die from this life to fully experience eternal life with our Lord! Before this, they had to die to their own will and surrender to Jesus as their Lord to receive His life and all the inheritance His life offers. You sent Jesus to die for us so that we might have eternal life! Jesus’ death was the only way to give us the gift of life with You, our Father. Jesus’ death brings us TRUE LIFE which can never ever die or be taken from us.

Father, how I pray for those who are left behind; those who are grieving the death of their loved one. I know they feel surrounded by death. I realize they feel overwhelmed by death…yet I know that You are with the broken-hearted, tenderly calling them to a new deeper life with You. You will never ever leave them or forsake them. You know they must go through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but You have much more life ahead for them to live—both here on earth and for all eternity.

Lord, as much as I would love to take away the taste of death from those who are hurting, I know even as I pray that You are bringing life out of death. You are the expert on birthing life from death! We wait upon You! We look to You, the Victor over death and the gracious Giver of Eternal Life!

 

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“Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves Me must follow Me…’” John 12:23-26

 

“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13

 

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning, or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who is seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” Revelation 21:4-5

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, help me to trust You to bring life even through death and grief…

Heavenly Father,
Thousands of teachers are starting a new year with a fresh crop of students. Why do they place themselves in classrooms overflowing with young minds, crazy emotions, wiggly bodies and loud voices which have a hard time containing themselves? It has to be a calling of love to subject themselves day in and day out to this organized chaos. It’s true—teaching is a gift. It can also be a stressful calling. That’s why they need our prayers.

Father, since I’ve been an early childhood teacher a lot of my life, I know how hard it can be. Yet whether students are infants, kindergarten, elementary, Jr High, Highschool or college, teachers are investing in the lives of their students. Most teachers have their students for one year before they pass to the next teacher. That is one year, or less, to try to make sure every student is learning all they need to, while on their watch. Most teachers are fully aware that they are not simply teaching reading, writing and arithmetic (although that is what their students and they are tested on). So many times, they are teaching far more important lessons, like: kindness, cooperation, confidence, perseverance, leadership, listening, respect…There are times, they know they may be one of the few positive influences in a young person’s life. Teachers need to be able to look past the stack of papers that need grading to a young person’s soul to make the most lasting impact.

Lord, with so much emphasis on testing and curriculum these days, I pray that You give each and every teacher a selfless love for the students You have placed in their care this year. I pray that they each get all they need from You to do what seems impossible. I pray when their energy runs out that they run to You to be revived and refreshed. Lord, help them to have sensitive eyes to see the child that needs tender care, extra patience and love for the one who loudly demands attention, encouragement for those who are uncertain… I pray for innovative ways to engage young people to use their minds to solve problems, have curiosity for how things work, opportunities for learning to work cooperatively with others, and ways to fan the flames of Your love and a desire to make this world a brighter, more hopeful place.

Teachers have a huge challenge because young people have so many fears, distractions, and obstacles at home and in the world…but nothing is impossible with Jesus to strengthen them. We lift up teachers before You, Lord. We also ask that You help make each of us better teachers—in whatever setting You have put us in. Lord, You are the Ultimate Teacher. Though You created each of us, You never leave us. Other teachers come and go, yet You are always with us and have given up everything for us to live and learn in You.

 

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Jesus teaching on teachers:
“A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant to be like his master.” Matthew 10:24-25

 

“Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be called your servant.” Matthew 23:10-11

 

“You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so. For that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:13-15

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, what teachers can I pray for? How can I teach others about You?…

Heavenly Father,
I was settled in my chair with my coffee in the backyard having my quiet time with You, Lord, when my neighbor of twenty-four years called to ask to “borrow a cup of coffee.” I have been extremely busy lately and this was actually Your perfect timing for a relaxed visit. I know You love our quiet time together as much as I do…but You don’t mind sharing it! Especially since my neighbor is preparing to move to a new state. We have gone through much together and I will so miss her impromptu visits and little surprises she leaves on our doorstep! What a precious divinely planned “coffee break” we shared this morning!

In my younger years, I might have been very distracted thinking of all I needed to accomplish, but my neighbor and I have been through enough trials in life to teach us both that people are so much more precious than tasks. How I thank You, Lord, for the deeply painful ways we have each learned that lesson. Her husband, also our beloved neighbor, endured severe heart issues ever since I knew him. We watched him get a heart transplant from a young man killed in an accident. My daughter was his nurse on repeated hospital visits. In fact, she was with them when he graduated to be with You. My first husband had also suffered a traumatic illness and died, so we had a connection through many critical situations.

We have borrowed sugar and eggs from one another, prayed together, seen miracles together, searched for keys, given rides, gone to church together. We share the love of grandchildren, flowers, writing and reading. We have prayed for one another’s families and we love giving one another reports of how we see You at work- which is all the time! Oh, how I will miss my sweet friend. I know You have a plan to bless her (and others) by having her move to be with her daughter. I have had a lot of dear friends in my life and it is always bittersweet when You move them (or me). Yet, when we both belong to You, I KNOW we are forever bonded and will be sisters and neighbors for all eternity. There will be so much to catch up when we meet again!
What a joy to share my life with You, Lord! What a joy to share Your love with others! The coffee may run out—but Your eternal love never will!

 

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“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?’ Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:36-39

 

“Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10

 

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command.” John 15:12-14

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, help me make time to spend with You to form an ever-deepening friendship and also with my neighbors…

Heavenly Father,
Thank You for the timely phone call from a “Forever Sister” who called this morning. I was spending some quiet time with You when the call came. I didn’t recognize the number and started to ignore it, but there was a quiet nudging that said to answer. I answered it, half expecting a pesky sales call…but instead heard a familiar perky voice. This particular friend changes phone numbers almost as often as I change clothes so I did not recognize the number. I usually have to wait for her to call me (which is now about twice a year!) She was just one of a small group of ladies who met twenty years ago once a week to pray together.

We prayed during the attacks of 9-11 on our country (there is an awesome story about that!) We prayed for our children, most of who were still living at home. We prayed through heartaches, joys, challenges. We praised You, Lord! We prayed for one another, for our churches, our neighbors, our husbands, our families; we prayed for Your wisdom, patience, guidance, knowledge, healing; we asked for forgiveness and thanked You for blessings too many to list! We also learned to listen and pay attention to what You said to us through our prayer times. That ragtag group of women are forever bonded through our faith in You, Lord—though You have since led us each in separate ways.

Though we each miss those incredible times of coming together to You in prayer, we know full well that You are still answering those prayers we prayed to this day. In fact, today’s phone call was a yet another report on more of Your eternal healing we prayed for. Most of our children are grown and on their own and we see answered prayers through them and even in our grandchildren. You are using each of these willing women in so many ways today—though we are scattered.

As always, this ordinary phone call was such an encouragement to me. She reminded me how her life was changed because I prayed while putting out a sign in front of the church to come to a “Ladies’ Night of Encouragement.” Her life was changed by Jesus Christ because of that one prayer. Now there is a new group going out into another neighborhood placing gospel tracts on doors. I pray as I place each and every one. Someday, I know there will be another report of someone whose life is eternally changed. We are forever bonded through Jesus Christ! The day is coming when we will no longer be scattered but will be bonded in Your Holy presence forever!

 

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“Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Revelation 5:8b

 

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone…” 1 Timothy 2:1

 

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, forgive me for my lack of prayer. Help me to start anew today…

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…