Heavenly Father,

I miss my Wednesday night Forever Sisters! For years, we opened up our Bible study with reports of ways we had seen You work during the week, Lord. I still recall the panic on certain faces as the testimonies were shared around the group and their turn was approaching. New people didn’t know what to do or say so we let them off easy at first. Girls who were regulars came to love sharing what they had seen! In fact, if they had to miss or on rare occasions when we skipped a week, they couldn’t wait to text or Facebook everyone with what they had seen You do! Some of these were the very same ones who dreaded speaking at first! Our group of sisters-in-Christ prayed together, cried together, rejoiced together, studied Your word together and simply loved one another. I think one of the favorite parts was this sharing of reports of what You were doing in everyone’s daily lives.

Because they knew they were going to need to report something, they began to look for ways You were at work. Some were better than others at seeing You all around. Sometimes it would be as simple as You helping find a set of keys or as impressive as seeing a former Satan worshipper that we had been praying for give their life to You (and then being baptized at our church). Seeing and hearing of all the things we each saw You do during the week (over months or even years) built our faith in You even more. If one came feeling weak or defeated, these reports renewed their faith. We shared in many victories and answered prayers…because we were looking!

Father, there are so many things we miss, because we are not looking. I believe and hope that this habit of watching for You at work continues in the lives of those I no longer meet with every week. I recall one of the moms telling how she had started the nightly habit of having her kids tell what they are thankful for or how they had seen You work. Maybe each of those sisters have started sharing with others how they see You at work in their daily lives! It’s time for me to start with a new group. They may be shy at first…but I know what happens when we open our eyes and start looking for You! We find You…everywhere we go!

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“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

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparable great power for us who believe.”  Ephesians 1:18-19

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, open my eyes and help me see….

Heavenly Father,

I know how the women who went to Jesus’ tomb felt. I vividly recall going to sit by myself at my first husband’s new grave. Without the kids with me, I gave into deep wailing sobs as I thought of his poor body buried beneath the cold ground. My soul was overcome with anguished sorrow and hopelessness. The whole world seemed dark and scary as I sat alone in despair. That’s when an unseen hand tenderly lifted my chin to look up at the heavens. The skies were gloriously blue and full of hope and peace. I was reminded that my husband was not in that grave but was ALIVE! He was with my Lord Jesus who was also more ALIVE than I could imagine! Nothing had changed…yet everything had changed. It all depended on what I was looking at- death or life!

That’s why the angels asked the women “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” Jesus may have died on the cross, but He was anything but dead! It may take us a bit to believe in what we cannot see…but it all begins when we believe that You sent Your own Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sin and trust that He is now ALIVE. That’s when we begin to experience the change in ourselves from death to life. That’s when we change what we look at. There is still death all around in this world- not only physical but more devastating spiritual death. Our world is full of hopelessness, despair and darkness which pulls us further toward death. Praise You, Lord God!!! For sending the light of the world, our Savior and King Jesus! When we look to Him and let Him rule in hour hearts, everything changes!

It matters not how horrible the sight looks before me here on this earth, when I look to You- You make all things new, glorious and full of hope. Jesus, You are ALIVE and always at work making things new. You will never leave me or desert me. When I look, I see You every single day. It might be in a scripture, a song, a divine encounter with a stranger or friend, a holy moment, a flower, a sunset or sunrise, a breath of wind, a dove perched right above me, a touch of Your healing hand, a soft eternal whisper… Father, help me to be watching and sensitive to Jesus who is ALIVE! Help me keep my eyes on His LIFE! When I see Him, let me call out in loving recognition, praise and love, “Rabboni!”

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“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightening stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here: He has risen!’”   Luke 24:1-6

“’They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put Him.’ At this she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize it was Jesus. ‘Woman,’ He said, ‘why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’ Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.” She turned towards Him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!” (which means  Teacher.)…Mary went to the disciples with the news: ‘I have seen the Lord!’” John 20:13-16,18

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”   John 11:25-26

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, trusting in Jesus, help me look at Life right now…

Most Glorious Heavenly Father,
               Who am I…that You would know me out of all the millions of people in this world at this time? Yet You knew me before I was born. You know my every thought, dream, desire, secret…You know me far better than I could ever know myself.
               Who am I …that You would even look at me? I am nothing compared to Your goodness and majesty. Even my very best is filthy compared to Your Holiness and Pureness.
               Who am I …that You would love me with a passion which can never be measured or described. Who am I that You would send Your Son to die for my sins so I could live with You for all eternity?
               Who am I …that You continually watch over me and guard me with Your awesome presence. You are always thinking of me. No matter how hard I try to keep You on my heart and mind at all times, my mind wanders. Yet Yours never does. You are forever faithful.
               Who am I…to think my plans and ideas could ever be better than Your ways? Forgive me when I try to get ahead of You; when I try to push my way through; when I have the audacity to tell You how something should be done.
               Who am I…but a short breath of air on this earth; here today and gone tomorrow. Who am I that You would chose to use me for Your kingdom work despite my weaknesses, limitations and shortcomings?
Who am I…that You would comfort me with Your Spirit when I am hurt; that You would revive me when I am weary; that You would guide me when I am unsure; that You would cleanse me when I am dirty; that You would make me bold when I am full of fear; that You would make me speak when I would rather be quiet; and that You close my mouth when I would rather speak?
Who am I …that You sing songs over me? That You never let me go? That You are continually making me new? That You are so patient and merciful to me? That You have promised to always be with me?
Who am I …that You would hear my prayers before they are spoken; that You created me to follow You, to obey You, to listen to You, to shine out for You?
Who am I…? I am but one miniscule person made by You out of all that has been, is now or ever will be. I am Yours and You are mine- though You are Lord God Almighty and are the Most High and Holy! Who am I…just one among many who serves, worships and adores the Great I AM!
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“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 should care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”  Psalm 8:3-5
“What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  James 4:14b
“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 sand. When I awake I am still with You.”  Psalm 139:17-18
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Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, who am I…and who are You?

 

 

Heavenly Father,

The last few months I’ve been doing a lot of pruning on trees and bushes. I grew up watching my horticulturist dad prune. He taught me well. If someone watching me didn’t trust my pruning abilities, they might think I was butchering if not killing the poor tree. If the tree could talk, it might be screaming out- not understanding what the beloved gardener is doing. It appears to be harmful when the cutting starts, but pruning in the hands of a gardener who knows what they are doing is an art. There is a vision of what that tree is capable of becoming. It may be the same tree, but the pruner sees a new creation in an ever-better form. The selective surgery is done, knowing it might take seasons (or perhaps years) to fully develop into the design the gardener has in mind. But the gardener is willing to wait for it to grow into its design.

Father, You are the Master Gardener! You have been doing some major pruning lately. Though it might hurt for a while, I trust what You are doing. I trust the fresh strong growth You are bringing out. I submit to Your design for my life and those who I care deeply for. There are times You cut out a perfectly healthy branch because You know another new fresh branch will come out where the other was cut away. You cut out the dead wood that’s just taking up space and not producing any new life. You cut away one branch where two are rubbing against each other. The constant friction will rub open wounds on both branches, giving entry ways for all kinds of diseases and insects. Then there are times You simply dig up a shrub after pruning and move it to a new location where You need it         to flourish and produce.

Lord, though I may squirm or even wrestle under Your pruning; though I hear the cries of those I love who are undergoing pruning- I am already seeing new shoots of life coming out where the pruning took place. Those new buds will make strong branches which will produce much fruit in Your kingdom. Thank You, Lord, for the loving way You tenderly prune with such beauty and purpose in mind. Let me submit willingly to Your Master hand. You made me and You know what You designed me and those around me for. Let us flourish and blossom under Your all-knowing care. I love you , Lord, even when there’s pruning!

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“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”   John 15:1-5

“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way; bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”   Colossians 1:10-14

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, where are You pruning me? Help me submit to You loving design…

Heavenly Father,

Today marks the next step on an incredible journey with You, Lord. What a joy to go to sleep at night and know that not only will You be with me all night…but You already have this day and all the rest of my days covered as well. I can truly relax and enjoy the adventure. I know I haven’t always trusted You as much on my journey as I do now…and I’m sure my trust will continue to grow as we continue on this expedition. I can remember many times of panic when I came upon a deep pit in the road. I couldn’t see the bottom of that hole and there seemed no way across it or around it…but over and over again- You have made a way where there was no way. There have been times I stood at the base of steep cliffs or a treacherous uphill climb. You know I’m terrified of heights; yet You tenderly encouraged me to start the climb, one step at a time when I could not even see the top of the mountain. You have helped me do what was humanly impossible to do on my own.

What a thrill to make it to the top of arduous climb, trusting You one foot hold at a time. The view at the top showing both how far I had come- along with a peek at the road ahead was breath-taking. You have led me through valleys with the shadow of death darkening my way only to bring Your glorious light for every step the way. You have arranged for me to lie down in lush green pastures with You when I needed rest and recuperation more than I knew. You have been my oasis in the desert when there was no relief of shade or drink in sight and given me living water to restore my soul so I could tread through the desert one step at a time.

The times I have kept my eyes on You instead of the obstacles, You have pointed out beauty all along the journey- sights I might have missed or taken for granted if I wasn’t following Your lead. Not only have You shared magnificent sunrises and sunsets at just the right time; You point out babies’ first smiles, sweet moments with friends and family, divine encounters with strangers, doves sitting above me, children running to hug me, love in the eyes of my grown children for their spouses and children, strength in the weak, hope in the weary, new life in those left for dead, peace in last breaths, the surprise of Your presence at every turn in some new way. I love the journey with You…most of all- because You love me and I love You. So I find joy in Your presence! Hmmm…what will today bring? More of You.

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“Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:5-6

“Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.”   Psalm 25:4-5

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me keep my eyes on Jesus today as we go…

Heavenly Father,

I’m not coming to You because I want something from You…I just want to be with You, Lord. There is no one else like You. You, together with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit…reign above all. Your power is fearful and ferocious. Who else can call out or tame the mighty winds and raging ocean? Who else can place galaxies into orbit and place them spinning in magnificent patterns throughout centuries? Who else tells a tiny seed when to crack and grow into a mighty oak? Who else can squelch armies and kingdoms and allow earthly authorities to rise and fall? Who else can cause mountains to rise up, erupt and be thrown into the sea? Who else holds the seasons in check and sets boundaries which cannot be crossed? Who else rules supreme over all that is seen and unseen? With all Your power and glory, who else takes time for me? I am nothing in the scheme of things yet I am everything to You! Who else is like You?

Who else holds back on their immeasurable power to show such amazing patience and restraint out of love for us? Who else notices when a tiny sparrow or a faithful pet doggie falls? Who else can knit together a one-of-a-kind human being inside the womb of a mom and invites us to share in creation? Who else loves to share peeks of His glory through incredibly beautiful sunsets and the tiniest of colorful flowers bursting from nowhere? Who else has created so much that we will never be able to discover it all? Who else has all truth and knowledge and wisdom yet delights in sharing it with us- a little at a time as we can bear it? Who else overcomes all darkness, evil and destruction with the unmatchable power of His love?

Who else would show such tender mercy by sending His very own Son Jesus Christ (God with us) to be born, live and die as one of us- yet without sin? Who else would be willing to sacrifice His holy Son for us when we have sinned against You- the very One who gives us life? Who else would freely give us a choice in accepting Your forgiveness or rejecting it? Who else loves us no matter what? Who else desires our little love in return for Your eternal indescribable love?

I want to come to You out of love for You- not for what You can do for me…although I am not ashamed to say I need You. I know You will give me everything I need and desire and much more. Yet, it’s not the blessings or my will that I come to ask You for. I come because of who You are. You have gone to such lengths to be with me. Who else would I go to?

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“Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. Glorious and majestic are His deeds, and His righteousness endures forever.”  Psalm 111:2-3

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever! Amen.”   2 Peter 3:18

“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him the glory!” Revelation 19:6b

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, Let me come to You for who You are…

 

Heavenly Father,

We’ve had a fire going in our free-standing metal fireplace for almost three days now. Warnings of a major ice storm prompted us to store up a large garden wagon of logs for our fireplace in our garage. There is something so mesmerizing and cozy about watching a fire roar. It makes me just want to slow down and enjoy the warmth. I’ve enjoyed the benefits of our well-used fireplace for over twenty years now. There can be 3 feet of snow on the ground, freezing rain, or blowing wind outside but as long as we have wood to burn, we know we have what we need in front of those glowing flames. One year, a major ice storm with high winds caused major tree branches to continually fall on our roof all night long. Our power was out… along with another family staying with us who had lost their power. Though we had no electricity or heat, the fire provided warmth and light. Adults and kids were camped out all over the floor in front of our fireplace.

Tonight as I savored the dancing flames and occasional crackle, I thought of how we are drawn to the warmth of fire in the cold seasons. Father, it doesn’t matter what storms rage outside. When I sit down in Your presence and soak up Your warmth, I know all is well. The storms will pass. You are with me and You will never leave me. I can sit calmly in front of You whenever I am still in Your presence.

When I stop and am still before You, my spirit is soothed before Your calming power and tender warmth. When I turn my gaze towards You, I know Your peace. As I sit before You in quiet, You lay Your lovely thoughts upon my soul. You guide me. You love me, You restore me and warm me. The glow of being in Your presence enables me to carry that warmth of Your glowing embers out into the dark cold world. I can come back into Your presence at any time. I can share the fire You place in my soul with those who are out in the cold and do not realize what they are missing.

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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

“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”   Exodus 13:21-22

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”   John 8:12b

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, burn away all that is not needed and set my soul on fire for…

Heavenly Father,

I am not known for my lovely singing abilities (except by You!) When I was a busy mom driving around a van load of kids, I used to turn the Christian praise songs up and blast away at the top of my voice. Fairly often one of the kids would reach over and turn the station mid song…and I’m positive it wasn’t because of the song but the wanna-be singer! That’s OK! One time in my life, I sang a beautiful Amy Grant version of “Thy Word” along with my husband in front of our whole church. It was beautiful! That’s because I can actually sing in Amy Grant’s range and I had sung along thousands of times in my van,  and because my mom-in-law accompanied on the piano and she can make anyone sound good…and because I had told You I was willing to make a fool of myself for You, Lord!

I still sing to You all the time, Lord…just along with a crowd or when I’m alone by myself…and sometimes in front of infants and preschoolers (they haven’t developed their music critique yet!) Most of all, I love to write You songs that flow from my heart. I know You adore my songs. No one else can sing the song I sing…because no one else has all the unique history and experiences I’ve had. I am Your one-of-a-kind daughter. Even if I sing a well-known song (one someone else has written) it is new and lovely to You because You see into my heart and know what flows out is unique and lovely because it has never been heard by You in quite that way by anyone else. We all have precious unique songs to sing to You every single day. I held my new 2 year-old foster granddaughter at our Christmas Eve service. Millions of people were singing “Silent Night” all over the world that night but the sweetest voice I heard was that tiny girl singing the tune though she didn’t know the words!

Lord God, let me always sing a new song to You every day, no matter what is going on in my life. We have all sung sad songs, dancing songs, cry-for-help songs, angry songs, songs of regret, praise songs…even songs that are too deep to be expressed in words. Let me always keep singing to You. My daily one-of-a-kind song is heard and cherished by You… yet it is also blended with angelic songs in heaven along with millions of other unique songs all over the earth to form the most glorious choir all sung to You, Lord! One of my most delightful discoveries was finding out You sing over us as well!

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“O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth! Sing unto the Lord, bless His name; declare His salvation from day to day. Proclaim His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples. …” Psalm 96:1-2

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a Mighty One, who will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will renew you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Ephesians 5:19-20

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Prayer Prompt-

Father God, today I feel like singing this to You…

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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,

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…