Heavenly Father,

I almost made a big mistake AGAIN! I know better. My horticulture parents have taught me well. I just got carried away cleaning out my flower beds, preparing for spring flowers. I was cleaning out dead growth from last year’s annuals…when I pulled up a dead looking stick. I had already pulled it up when I noticed a tiny sprout of new green growth. As quick as I could, I planted it back into the soft soil and watered it in. I think it might still make it. It was a perennial which dies down almost to the root and is always a little late sprouting out.

It reminded me how precious life is to You. Jesus told us to be careful pulling weeds…it’s hard to tell when they are still dead-looking or tiny sprouts exactly what they are. He told us to wait to see what that life might produce. That poor dead-looking plant I pulled without thinking will make a beautiful carpet of purple Verbena blooms all summer long. Lord, help me be even more patient with people and not just discard them without hope. The very ones who might appear dead and worthless could turn out to produce an abundant crop of flowers and fruit that will glorify You! All they need is some more time and newness of life that comes when they ask Jesus to live in them.

Lord, I think back to before Your life was born in me through Jesus Christ. I was just as dead-looking but new life springs up wherever Jesus lives. And He lives in me and with me! Thank You for not pulling me up and throwing me away. I am so grateful for Your eternal love and patience. Most of all, I am eternally grateful for Jesus’ life that runs through me and causes new growth to burst out of the fullness of my spirit. I cannot make it happen. Jesus is the life!

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“Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.  The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time, I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” Matthew 13:24-30

“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me be patient and pray for the “weedy” people in my life with the hope they will have new life…

Heavenly Father,

I’ve had the honor of witnessing a lot of “first few steps” since I’m a mom and grandmother to many…and a teacher in early childhood education. Some little ones wait a lot longer than others to attempt to stand and walk. They seem to be quite comfortable where they are being held, coddled, fed and “ooed and awed” over. They may even have to have a lot of coaxing. Some walk holding on to something forever before they let go to step out on their own. Other little ones can’t wait to start charging through life so they get up to take those steps earlier than most. Yet, it’s inevitable to have a lot of cheers when the first step happens.

There are also a lot of cheers in heaven when each and every soul takes that first step of fait towards You—when they believe in their heart and confess with their mouth that You sent Your Son Jesus to die for our sins so we can have eternal holy life with You. As glorious as that is, how sad it is when people take that first step and decided that’s all they want to do. They are content to stay babies in their spiritual life with You. Lord, You have so much more in mind for us all. You didn’t give us eternal life to simply stay in the same place and not grow.

Jesus calls us each to “Follow me!” He promises to be with us as we take the next step and the next. There is so much to learn, see and do as we follow Him. We are not saved to just keep on living life any way we see fit. We are saved to live with You and for You—to build Your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. We are always learning to love more, feast on Your word, practice Your instructions, and follow You into unknown places where we can’t always tell what’s up ahead. One thing, we do know—is after we’ve taken that first step to give our lives to You after You have given Your life to us—is that You are in the lead. You are the way. You will take us through any trials, hard places in the path and You will always be showing us greater things as we constantly learn to walk with You. Guide my next step, Lord.

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Jesus said in John 10:27-30: “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to ME, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

 

“Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?”  1 Corinthians 3:1-3

 

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature…Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:16-17, 24-25

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me take up my cross every day to crucify my sinful nature and learn to walk with You in the Spirit…

Heavenly Father,

Last night I woke up several times during the night. It was like You were knocking at my door wanting to be invited in. Please come in! I want to spend this time with You and You with me! You promised that if we seek You, we will find You. I started out this holy season seeking more of You. At the start of each Easter season (or Resurrection season) I always ask You to show me more of what You gave us when You gave us Jesus Christ. You always do! It seems if I ask You that for all eternity, You will still be showing me more—because there is no end to Your love.

This year, it seems You stand knocking at my door. I’m sorry to say I don’t always let You in. Sometimes I’m too busy to answer, or too preoccupied with things of this world, or too wrapped up in the latest challenge. Yet You still stand there knocking. You don’t barge in to dine with me. You don’t come where You are not invited, although You have all power and authority to do so. You wait for me to hear Your voice, to answer You and let You in. I think I am pursuing You, but You are always pursuing me first.

To get in the door to see an earthly king or president, I would have to go through all kinds of hoops just to get an invitation for a very short specific time (and I probably would never get that!) But You are God! You have all power and authority over all there is, yet You humble Yourself to send Jesus to knock on my door to ask to come in. You asked Jesus to take my punishment for my sin with horrendous beatings and to die on the cross so I could be free and holy. You sent Jesus to die for me so I can live with You forever! And yet, how often do I choose to live life apart from You? I settle for earthly pleasures when I can choose to have eternal company with You. Yes, Lord, today I open the door. Please come in and dine with me… and I with You.

 

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“I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”   Revelation 3:20

“This is love: not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”  1 John 4:10

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

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, let me be still enough to hear Your knocking…

My Lord and my God,

This season of the year is like a special get-away I love to take with You—like my husband and I sometimes need. We get so busy with all our daily responsibilities and activities that we live together and know one another better than anyone else; yet sometimes we need to purposely take some time alone together to purposely reconnect to fan the flames of our love. There are times my husband and I come back from a “get away date” and we realize once again just how glad we are that we share life together. Our love has been refreshed and renewed because we took time to put away distractions and simply enjoy what we have in one another.

 

Lord, obviously You do not need to fan the flames of Your love—but I sure do! I’m sad to say that I far too often take Your amazing immeasurable love for granted. Your love is unshakable, faithful, never-waning or lacking in any way. Your love is pure and unchanging. I know You are always here with me. I know You will never ever leave me or forsake me. There is no doubt that You are always involved in my life in ways far beyond my comprehension. On the other hand, my love gets side-tracked and distracted far too easily by things that sometimes seem important but when I stop to truly think about it—are so silly and fleeting. That’s why I need to fully take time to honor and appreciate the love You have given me—especially when You gave Jesus Christ to be a sacrifice for my unfaithfulness; when You sent Jesus to die for my sin and then raised Him victorious to give me eternal life with You that can never be shaken or taken away.

 

I want to purposely honor and cherish the eternal commitment You have given to me during this holy season leading up to Jesus’ suffering, death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Yes, Lord, I have received and accepted Your love sent to me through Jesus Christ and I have been given more than I could possibly imagine or hope for. That’s why I want to spend extra time with You to renew my love for You, to recall why I am more alive than ever because of my eternal life with You, to surrender and recommit my love for You because of Your great love for me. During this holy week from Palm Sunday to Good Friday to (Easter) Resurrection Day, help me cut out some distractions, set aside more alone time with You, read (in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) of Your greatest gift of love of Jesus’ life poured out for us, and sing of Your love that came to seek and save me!  Let me honor the anniversary of Your great love poured out by pouring some love back to You! Hosanna to my first love! Halleluiah to the One who loves me enough to die so I can live forever with You! I love You, Lord.

*******

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in His shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

 

*The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

 

“”I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”  Revelation 3:20

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord God, here are some ways I want to honor You during this special time…

Most Glorious Heavenly Father,

There are already many preparations going on for Easter. I see colored eggs, candy, bunnies and pretty dresses in every store I walk in. I often wonder how many people honestly think that’s all Easter is about. I am around a lot of children and some adults who have no idea this is the time Jesus came to give His life on the cross for our sins so we can have eternal life with You. That’s why I want to prepare for this special time. Since I have eternal life and realize (with my limited human understanding) what You gave when You gave Your Son, I want to set aside this time to thank You—to honor what You did for us through Jesus. I want to prepare myself to praise You with all my heart, mind and soul for Jesus’ death and resurrection.

This time of the year should not just go by without a deepening appreciation for the greatest gift You have ever lavished upon us. Lord, as I refocus on Jesus’ sacrifice for us, will You show me a little bit more of what You gave when You gave Your Son. I realize I will probably never comprehend the depth or the full measure of Your gift of Jesus…yet I am always finding more to this eternal life You gave us through Jesus. Lord, in preparation for this season, I may give something up that distracts me because I want more of You. As I purposely set out to honor what Jesus has done for us, let me sing more songs of Your mercies, read more of Your word, watch a movie about Jesus, spend more quiet time with You. I want to set aside this time and the gift You’ve given. I want to honor You by making it a holy season—because it is!

As You fill me up with Your presence, prepare me so I can be ready to share Jesus with others during this holy time. I know not everyone is ready to accept and believe what You gave us in Jesus Christ, but how will they know unless someone tells them? Father, use me somehow to tell others that You sent Jesus to die for our sins so we can have eternal life. That’s what makes Easter holy—because you sent Jesus to die on the cross and rise again so we could be holy!

 

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“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy because I am holy.’” 1 Peter 1:13-15

“We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  Hebrews 10:10

“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 3:16-17

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, the first preparation is to believe You sent Jesus to die for my sins. Am I prepared to receive what only Jesus can give?

Heavenly Father,

Like millions of people today, I am both happy and sad that Billy Graham left this world to go home with You. Our world will miss Him.  It is incredible how You used one willing humble man to lead so many to an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ. I’ve been thinking how grateful I am for my own connections with him and his wife. Not only did several family members walk down a Billy Graham crusade aisle to begin their life with You through Jesus, but his wife Ruth was personally responsible for telling the editor of Decision magazine to publish my first series on marriage. I never met or spoke to her, but her encouragement kept me writing for You.

My husband and I volunteered like so many others at the last Mission OKC revival for three nights. (Again, one of my stories was published in the special OKC issue of Decision magazine handed out at Mission OKC.) It took two men to hold Billy up as they walked him to the podium. It was disheartening to see him so weak—until he sat down to speak. Then the power of the Holy Spirit took over! He seemed like the most powerful man alive as he once more led thousands to a new life through Jesus. But one instance surrounding that same revival spoke to me of the man Dr. Graham really is.

The day Mission OKC was to begin, a young man who was a good friend of my son had taken off work to go fishing at a city lake. He had been severely stressed by finances and his wife’s health and desperately needed a break. As he was fishing by himself when he noticed an old man slumped over on some rocks. He went to see if he could help. The old man lifted his head and smiled that Billy Graham smile and told him he was just fine but thanks for checking. He explained he always finds a solitary place to pray over a city before he preaches. Then he began to ask my son’s friend about his life. He ended up ministering to this burdened young man for almost two hours. Lord, I thank You for Billy Graham who was always ready and willing to lead people to Jesus whether it was one at a time or thousands at a time. I look forward to meeting him and his wife—after I fall into Your arms!

*****

Quote from Billy Graham: “One day you will hear that Billy Graham has died. Don’t believe it. On that day I will be more alive than I ever will be.”

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. O Lord, truly I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have freed me from my chains.”  Psalm 116:15-16

“Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’”   Revelation 14:13

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Prayer Prompt:

Lord God, help me answer Your call to come to You just as I am…

Heavenly Father,

I love it when a certain sis-in-Christ calls me up and asks me, “Are you sitting down?” I am continually amazed at how different she has become since I first met her. We don’t get to see each other as often because You have us in new places, but she always calls to share some new major thing You are doing in her life. I was blessed by her call again today. Some of her phone calls in the past have been heartbreaking, but she is a new creation in You, Lord. She always makes a big deal of thanking my husband and me for sticking with her (which is totally embarrassing because we know we really had nothing to do with who she is today.)

I first met her about 17 years ago. I prayed in front of the church I was at, asking you to let at least one woman see the banner I was hanging publicizing a “Ladies Night of Encouragement.” She showed up that night and said she was walking by. When she saw the banner, she said, “I really need some encouragement.” We sure have been through a lot together since then. I have seen her lose her husband, her children, her home, jobs, every single possession…even her grandkids. I have seen her make poor choices and amazing faith choices. Not only has she been an encouragement to me since then, but I started praying for many more than one when I hang a banner since then!   I have watched her walk more closely with You during all those seasons.  I have watched You reunite her with her birth family she was ripped apart from at a young age. There are so many stories to tell about how You have worked in her life. You have healed her from the inside out! She has become an amazing woman who reflects Your glory.

Today’s phone call was to tell me that the church she has been quietly serving in surprised her with “the woman of the year” award because of her great faithfulness. Even through the phone, I could see her shocked face! We both shared delicious laughter because we both know who that award really goes to! Lord, only You can take two such different wimpy women and make new creations out of each of them for Your beautiful kingdom. Thank You, Lord! We are still being made new creations in You!

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“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

 

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’”  Revelation 21:5

 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come!”  2 Corinthians 5:17

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, I want to give up this old life and become a new creation…

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,
I recall waiting anxiously for my firstborn son to be born. I had never really been around babies and had many people try to tell me what it would be like. No one can tell you just how completely having a baby will change your entire life. No words can express the overpowering love that consumes you as you hold that baby who somehow came to life inside you. No one can prepare you for the life of sacrifice, tears, smiles, hugs and ever-growing love that is birthed as you embrace that tiny helpless infant. I’ve had the honor of giving birth to more than my fair share of new-born loves- some through natural birth; others through marriage; many through grandchildren; some through adoption—and many, many more through teaching and caring-giving.
There’s nothing like holding a little baby—and wondering what gift will be unwrapped to the world through this one little person as they grow. There’s nothing like watching those who I have held at a young age (in my arms and in my heart) develop into amazing people. Each and every single baby changes the world just by being who they are.
Yet, there is one baby who was set apart from all the rest, who was born in Your perfect timing, who changes everything forever. Father, You sent Jesus Christ to be born as one of us- fully human (ready and willing to endure everything as one of us in this harsh world.) Yet Jesus is You in the flesh! He was sent to bring us back to You—to be the way to eternal life with You. You sent Him as a frail human baby to overcome the world, separation from You caused by sin, and death itself. You sent Jesus to die for our sake so we might live forever with You. Jesus Christ, this little tiny infant, was born unto a virgin, to deliver us from evil, to live forever in our hearts, to overcome the world, to empower us from on high, to give us new life, to cleanse us, to save us, to change our lives forever! My life has been completely consumed by the birth of Jesus in me! I can never be the same again. He lives in me… and I in Him! How I adore this baby who grew to be my Savior and King! Father, I pray for more to accept and cherish the gift of Jesus Christ as they ask Him to be born anew in their hearts. He changes everything!
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“I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God…And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1,2,14
“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:23
Jesus said in John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.”
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Prayer Prompt-
Father, I accept and believe in Your greatest gift of Jesus Christ. Let Him be born in me…

Heavenly Father,

I was sent the cutest video of my little granddaughter taking some of her first steps! Since she lives out of state, it was a thrill to get to share in this special moment. And it came at just the right moment! Being a grandmother, I kept watching it over and over. Then You laid on my heart that’s how we look when we are born again in Jesus. We have to learn how to walk with You. When we turn to You for salvation through Jesus, we are humbly crawling to You to accept what brings You great joy to give to us. It is a whole new life in Jesus! Even if we are adults, we have to learn how to walk in You.

First, we simply crawl to You realizing we need You. As we learn to trust You more, we pull ourselves up and stand on Your Son, our solid foundation. What a joy to stand in You! It is good for us to stay put for a while and learn to simply stand still and hold Your hand. As we are fed on Your word, You eventually hold out Your hands and say, “Follow Me!” You expect us to step out in faith when we are unsure if our new legs will hold. When we keep our eyes on You, we gather enough courage to take a step; then two. We might fall down. But You are right there to pick us up and remind us that we can do it.  You wipe us off and urge us to try again. So we do.

What an absolute joy to truly start walking with You, Lord. That’s probably why my granddaughter’s face touched me so much. We know we cannot do it by ourselves, but You are with us. We don’t have to ever take a step without You again! We can walk! We can do things that we know are impossible on our own. We can walk on water! The thing is to keep watching You. When we look off to the side or realize we are doing what’s impossible, we fall down. But if we do, You are still there to help us back up…no matter how long we’ve been walking with You! Lord, I had a hard day yesterday. Something hit me hard and knocked me to my feet, but as I turned and cried to You and started praising Your sweet name, You picked me right up. I am walking with You again!!! And I love it! I love You! (I love my granddaughter, too!)

*****

“He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”    Micah 6:8

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, O Lord.”   Psalm 89:15

“He (Jesus) said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”   John 8:12

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Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, show me how to walk…