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…

Glorious Father,
There are times that suffering feels like the life is being squeezed out…when it seems more than we can handle…when pain, grief and sorrow threaten to drown us—but even then, You are right here. Lord. You are closer than anyone else could possibly be. You truly never leave us. We can count on You and Your goodness. Last night, I felt the suffering trying to overtake me once more. I knew I needed to be still in Your presence and look to You instead of the suffering. So much pain, tears, sorrow, suffering all around… I need You, Lord—and Your hope.

Less than a week ago, our precious tiny granddaughter died in her mommy’s womb. It has been so sad. I couldn’t share it with the grief group that I host until our grown children decided how they would handle it. I couldn’t ease their pain no matter how hard I wanted to. There have been so many others who are suffering lately…and yet I see how You turn that suffering into something beautiful.

Life keeps going despite our suffering. Several of us go into a neighborhood once a week to leave gospel tracts and pray with people who want it. The day after our granddaughter’s death, I asked You to use my suffering… and You did as I prayed with three different people I had never met about the preciousness of life. I believe it had eternal impact. My sweet daughter-in-law is a NICU trauma nurse. I can’t even begin to imagine how her suffering will impact her future compassion and ministry to families. I see You at work in our son and 4-year-old grandson. There are more ways You will use this suffering than any of us can comprehend right now.

Jesus was with You as You made all there is. He holds all power and authority–yet He knows all about suffering. He was willing to suffer unjust punishment, judgement, desertion, mockery, bullying, physical, mental and spiritual abuse—even unto death so we could live with You for all eternity. He knew His bitter suffering would result in the sweetest gift ever given- eternal life.

 

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Isaiah 53:3 says about Jesus “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. “

 

“And we hope in the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:2-5

 

“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 our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:17-18

 

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Your Prayer Peek-
Father, what suffering do I have to offer to You?

Heavenly Father,
I am increasing in weakness…and that is good! I used to be really strong for a woman. I grew up carrying heavy loads in our family greenhouse and grew strong from heavy physical labor. I have also been told throughout my life that I can do anything and become anything. I am finding out that is not true…and that is good! I continually hear from society that it is all up to me to make something of myself—that I am the master of my own life. As I grow older, wiser and weaker, it is such a relief to know that my strength is failing. How freeing it is to realize how very weak I really am. The crazy thing is the weaker I realize I am, the more I realize I need Your strength.

I wouldn’t exist without You; I would never have been born except for You. I could never breathe or live without You. Even when I was young and thought I was so strong; even when I didn’t fully realize how much I need You—You were my strength. Lord, You knit my cells and DNA together to form me out of nothing at all. You linked a nervous system to my muscles and told them to move me. You fired off brain cells and began my physical life that included the ability to think and choose for myself. You placed me in a world which was totally created by You for me to have a safe, lush, lovely world surrounded by everything I could possibly need, including other people to love. Forgive me for thinking I could ever live independently from You!

You have allowed me to face challenges in my life that have threatened to overwhelm me because there seemed no way out or no way I could handle the burden. How I thank You for those times when I have realized my weakness. That is when I have experienced Your strength! I need not try to prove my strength to You or anyone else. You made me and know I am weak. You created me to need You. You designed me to be strong as I yield my life to Jesus. Then His unseen strength flows with a powerful force to overcome anything that comes up. I truly enjoy being weak and letting Your strength flow in and through me! I am weak and You are strong! You are my strength!

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“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord, and may please him in every way, bearing the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power. according to His glorious might so 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 the light.” Colossians 1:11-12

“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, help me see my weakness with out You so I can submit to Your strength through Jesus…

This prayer was posted with permission from parents…

Heavenly Father,
You are knitting another grandchild in the womb of my sweet daughter-in-law. This precious baby is due right around the first of the year. Even before this tiny little girl was conceived, You already knew her. You knew what Your plans are for her, how she will impact Your kingdom, her parents, grandparents and her entire family. There is not one baby who is conceived who is not fully known and loved by You. Nothing that lives has life without You. You are the giver of life. So even though our son and his wife found out (on their anniversary) there could be serious problems for this precious little baby, we can rest in assurance that You love her more–and have created her for specific purposes.

Perhaps these purposes include a perfectly healthy baby despite what medical technology shows…perhaps it includes us loving a perfect baby with Your perfect love despite what the world might call defects…maybe it includes trusting You no matter what the circumstances look like…it could mean a long blessed life or a life that gets a pass on this earthly life and goes straight to You. It could mean a life of suffering for this sweet little baby.

Lord, whatever purpose You have in mind for our sweet little girl, we thank You for the honor of loving and praying for her now (even before we know what she looks like or what her life entails.) We have had miscarriages and babies who passed shortly after birth in our family. We are also blessed to have a huge family filled with healthy children. Each one is so precious and unique. There has never been or will there ever be another just like them—including this one in the womb.

Father, You know what we would like—to have a healthy baby. We are asking for that in Jesus’ name because You told us we should ask. We have no doubt You can make that happen. We also know that You have given us a love for this sweet baby no matter what. Lord, I pray for Your perfect peace to hold the parents and family of our little girl. I also ask that You help us to trust You and Your absolute goodness no matter what. We hold this baby, her parents and family up to You, and trust Your perfect care. We love You, Lord, and this little miracle You have given growing inside her mommy.

 

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“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11

 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1:5

 

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

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, I need to trust You for my situation though I do not know the outcome….

Heavenly Father,
Two days ago, three of my grandkids were playing in my back yard when my six-year-old grandson come running to show me a huge emergency. A tiny baby bird had fallen from its nest a little too soon. It was chirping frantically for its mom and some food. The wings were flapping but appeared to be a ways off from being strong enough to fly. My grandson was near tears, wanting to help the fragile little baby. He has an extra tender heart towards the young and suffering since he is adopted into our family and experienced a lot of trauma in his young life. I told him we needed to leave the bird alone to see if it could get strong enough on its own. My grandson’s heart spilling out of his eyes made it extra hard to do that…

The first thing we did was to pray for the little baby. I thought it best to prepare my grandson that it might not live so we put the frail little bird in Your hands, Lord. I remembered in my prayer that not even a tiny sparrow falls without Your knowledge and if You thought best to take it home to You or help it live, we would trust Your perfect care of it. We left it alone and checked on it later. Our little friend the bird was breathing hard and not making a sound. It was no longer opening its mouth. We got a flat plastic lid and put water in front of the tiny creature and dropped in a few of the tiniest bird seeds we could find. I attempted to get water on a stick and hold it to its closed mouth, but by this time I didn’t think it would make it. My grandson spent the night and the first thing he wanted to check on the next morning was our bird. I stalled him, concerned he would find a half-eaten baby. We couldn’t find it anywhere. My grandson was convinced it flew away or that his mommy came and got it. I was pretty sure a predator got it.

My grandson went home and I went out to water that next evening. There was our baby bird, looking stronger than ever, flapping his wings and half-flying/hopping to get around. I was praising You and called my grandson to let him know! We were giddy together over Your care of this tiny bird. Lord, if You care so much for that one tiny bird out of all the galaxies You’ve made, I know You care for my grandson. Who, but You, knows the ways You will work in his life and the way You will weave even a tiny baby bird into his ever-growing faith in You. I love being surprised by the ways You are forever involved in the smallest details of our lives! I love You, Lord!

 

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“Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near Your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.” Psalm 84:3

 

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-30

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, help me to bring even the smallest things to You in prayer…

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,
I’m sure You could tell me how many times I’ve prayed for You to “take away” a hard trial or uncomfortable situation. Many of those prayers have been for situations I’ve been in. Probably, there have been just as many times I asked You to take something away that seemed too hard for my children when they were young—and even now that they are mature and have families for me to pray for. I know I have prayed this prayer for those I have cared for as they have suffered physically, emotionally or spiritually. What about all those times I have stood by those who have grieved deeply? It is so hard to suffer–and watch others suffer…

I have prayed the “take this away” prayer often enough now that I have finally found true comfort in the second half of the prayer Jesus prayed—“Yet not my will, but Yours be done.” I have watched You bring about incredibly good things from the hardest times. I can even thank You for not always answering my “take-this-away prayers.” You knew something much better would come from going through it. I can look back and see how my trust in You has grown as You held me through a challenge instead of taking it away. It has even affected my prayers for others undergoing a hard test.

I still ask to have the hard thing removed, but I know it is better left in Your hands. What if I was to take away the very thing which will produce the greatest blessings? The hard trial might even bring someone to a saving relationship with You, a deeper trust of You, a new ministry, an incredible testimony which will draw someone else to You! Lord, I have seen You miraculously take something away that I have prayed for and I have seen You miraculously use the fire to burn away all the unimportant things in life. Lord, You know I will keep on praying but I believe in Your all-knowing wisdom to trust You for the best answer. It is enough to know You will never ever leave me—or the ones I pray for. No one can ever take that away!

 

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“Going a little farther, He (Jesus) fell with His face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.’” Matthew 26:39

 

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God.” Isaiah 43:2-3

 

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, am I really ready to trust Your goodness no matter what?

Most holy Father,
Yesterday I attended the graveside service of a young beautiful 42-year-old woman. She was the daughter of a dear friend and co-worker. As I waited for the service to begin, I was thinking how short this life is. There were four drownings this weekend (two of which were four-year-old children). Whether we live just a few minutes as my nephew’s little 1 ½ lb baby did or 93 years, as my grandmother did, this physical life is short! Especially compared to eternity which is really what life is all about. That’s exactly what the humble man spoke about at the service- the brevity of this life!

Since I have dealt with living and dying all my life- but most certainly in the past 25 years as I have encouraged those who are grieving, I may be more aware of the brevity of this life. I have had the often-painful honor of hearing the stories of the broken-hearted who are missing their loved ones. It is so hard to be walking in life next to a loved one and then to have them gone in the twinkling of an eye. It can be very painful to be the ones left behind to finish out this life without them. Yet it is also a reality check of how very real the end of this age is. If we already know and trust You, Lord, we get extra homesick for our eternal lives with You and our loved ones. Even if we do not know You yet, we realize we all will die at some point and it could be today. It is an important time to struggle with what this life is truly all about. It is about You, Lord and our relationship with You!

As painful as death is on this side, I have also had the honor of seeing glimpses of life in the next chapter that never ends—people on their death beds seeing You and Your glory calling them home in one way or another! Father, You do not leave us alone as orphans to face this world. You sent your pure and Holy Son Jesus to guarantee our place with You forever. All we have to do is confess we need Him and ask Him to be Lord of our lives. Then He sends the Holy Spirit to live in us—to comfort, guide, lead, encourage, correct, refresh, and strengthen us in this life and forevermore. We can live with the joy of Your presence in us—even in this earthly life.

Life here on this present earth may be brief, but we never have to walk through it alone. We can begin our eternal life with You now and know that we will live with You for all eternity. Thank You for loving us so much that You want us to spend forever with You!

 

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“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Jesus promising us the Holy Spirit in John 14:18

 

“You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes…” James 4:14

 

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

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, my life is nothing without You. I have sinned against You. I need Your Son Jesus to save me, live in me and give me eternal life…

Heavenly Father,
This weekend I silently cheered my husband on during a state Chess tournament. It was his first tournament so he was hyper focused for about a month before the event. Extra games were played, tactics were studied and games were analyzed—all in preparation. Being a non-Chess player, I went along to see what all the fuss was about. There were about 60 players in one large room. Even before the clocks were started, there was barely any talking as they set up their games. No one hardly looked at their opponent. They were intensely studying the game in front of them. I sat quietly watching as I could almost hear sixty brains all working at once. Most of the games lasted 3- 4 hours. There were some focused minds in that room.

Lord, why is it so hard for us to focus even half that much on You? You surround us with all kinds of cues to worship and thank You. All we need to do is be still and consider who You are. You set galaxies in motion and placed our sun and moon in the perfect place to sustain us here on this incredible lush garden we call earth. You place us in families, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods filled with people to love and be loved by. You give us everything we need and so much more. Everything—even our challenges—point us toward You… and yet we let so many things distract us from the most important relationship of all. We need You more than we can possibly know. You love us more than we can ever comprehend.

If I can learn to focus more fully on You, I will know when to be still and when to move. You see the entire plan not just one little move in front of me. There is no way for me to calculate or predict life ahead. What a relief to trust You for today- just the next play. If I focus on You and ask, You will let me know each move one at a time in Your all-knowing plan. Focusing on You and trusting You with each step in my life frees me up to enjoy Your presence and those around me! Let my eyes, heart, mind and soup be attentive to You, Lord!

 

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“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2

 

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:41

 

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7

 

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Your Prayer Peek-
Father, help me focus on You today…

 

Heavenly Father,
It is almost as hard to make quiet time in this world as it is for a rambunctious preschooler to play the Quiet Game. We wiggle. Our mind wanders. We think of all these things that we NEED to say. It can seem almost impossible to just be still and quiet. It is becoming a lost quality. There is so much noise in the world right now. We don’t even realize how noisy it is. There is always some kind of babbling sound going on in the background (music, TV, videos, games, playing, fighting, sirens, honking, machinery, traffic, news… We have become so accustomed to it to the point we are often uncomfortable with silence.

Quiet time is critical to our spiritual life with You, Lord. How else will we hear Your still small voice unless we tune our ears to listen for You in the quiet? You do not compete with all the clamor of this world. You do not need to. It is up to us to get away from all the noise and be still with You. It is our choice to step away from earthly advice, attitudes, knowledge, commercials, entertainment, and all the noise. I have read some studies on noise pollution and how too much prolonged noise damages our ears. I think it damages our soul and ability to hear and recognize Your voice, Lord.
When we are just meeting someone, we might feel uncomfortable with silence around them. We tend to talk just to fill the silence without being quiet and listening. Yet the deeper the relationship, the more we can simply be quiet and still so we can savor their presence in quietness. We learn to hear the very heart.

Father, let me make time—let me thirst for quiet time with You. Help me stick with it until I can’t wait to be still and quiet in Your presence. Let it become such a part of me that I can take Your quiet sweet Spirit with me out into the noisy world and give others a taste and a longing for their own quiet time with You!

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“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’” Isaiah 30:15

“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

“…the sheep listen to His (Jesus’) voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know his voice.” John 10:3-4

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, help me learn to be still so I can hear Your voice and follow it…