Heavenly Father,

The other day I helped my adult daughter cut a 4-foot-tall hedge down to about 18 inches tall. The tall row of “Dwarf” Yaupon Holly bushes was lush and green and thriving, but it was not serving the purpose it was needed for. It completely blocked her front porch and had grown out over the front sidewalk to cover over half of it—making the walkway to the front door almost unusable. She talked to me about taking the huge shrubs out, but that was going to be a back-breaking job, so I suggested cutting the shrubs way back. I told her it may look a little ugly at first, but it would send out beautiful new growth quickly and she could keep it trimmed down low from now on.

We went to work cutting off big limbs and branches. For the passer-by, it probably looked like we were killing these beautiful shrubs. It took a lot of whacking, cutting and sweating to do away with years of growth. The pile of bulky branches covered in lush green leaves grew higher and wider while the row of cut down stubs grew smaller, and revealed a wonderful view from the bench on the front porch. There were already enough green leaves sprouting out of the short stubs to make it appear alive and growing. It will give a much more welcome entrance to their home. They can now use their front walkway and see the front of their house! What a transformation that came out of all that cutting!

Father, I think of all the times in my life that I have felt like I had finally grown to fulfill my purpose. My life seemed like it was set and doing well, when You come along and do some heavy-duty cutting away of what might appear to be healthy growth. Maybe You have a new purpose for me. Perhaps You are preparing to transplant me to a new place. You know that as long as I am rooted in You I live and thrive no matter how much pruning You allow me to go through. The branches that are cut away may look good for a while but without roots, they will wither up and die.
Lord, as Long as I stay rooted in You, Your Spirit flows in and through me causing life and new growth to come out of me. No matter how hard I try, I can never produce that life on my own. I might as well be like those big branches of lush growth we cut off. They may look good for a little while, but they will wither up without roots. Lord, I come to You—putting my roots down deep into You. Let me soak up Your Life-giving Spirit so You can produce new life in me and fulfill whatever purpose You have for me.

 

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Jesus tells us in John 15:1-6: “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. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers…”

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, am I rooted in You, letting Your Life and love flow through me?

photo by my brother Rodd Moesel

Heavenly Father,
As I sit outside in Your glorious world that You created for us, my soul knows You are with me. I long to sing of Your beauty and majesty but my voice is so inadequate. Yet my spirit intermingles with Yours and love spills out and lifts me to You. Words are often how I best express my heart yet words are too small…yet Your Word is in me, around me and flows through me. I long to say I love You in a way that truly communicates what cannot be put into a single phrase…so I am quiet and realize that You sent Your Word of love through Jesus. There is, was and never will be a better expression of love!

You sent Jesus to be Your presence with us-even though we are sinners. He lived as one of us yet He is the Messiah which literally means “God with us!” He lived in this sinful world among a sinful rebellious people yet He was without sin so He could die to pay for our sin—to make us holy—to free us from the horrible separation from You. He rose again and conquered death so we could live with you now and forever. This eternal life, this joy of intermingling with Your Spirit, this knowledge of Your Holy presence starts when we accept the lavish gift You have given us through Jesus Christ.

Far too often, I get too caught up in this world and take my eyes off You. But oh!! When I am still and search for You and Your presence, I find that You are faithful to me. You are always right here with me, longing for me to know the joy of Your presence which never leaves me or forsakes me. Father, let me always run to You, stay with You, be with You, savor Your majesty and the miraculous way You love us back to You. As much as Your presence means to me personally, I know You offer Yourself to be present with every single person. How I pray we each accept what You’ve given us through Jesus…and we praise You in Your presence now and forever!

 

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“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him. And this is His command to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: we now it by the Spirit He gave us.” 1 John 3:18-24

 

“You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.” Acts 2:28. Psalm 16:11

 

“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

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die in my place so I can live unseparated forever with You…

Heavenly Father,
Yesterday’s sermon took me right back to something that happened in my early twenties. I was a young married mom, facing several extremely hard difficulties. They just kept coming and I thought I was the only one in the world who had to face so many challenges. So I went looking for my dad. I could usually find him watering in one of the family’s commercial greenhouses. I followed the water hose in one of the growing greenhouses where the public didn’t go. I was glad to find him so I could pour out all my troubles to him. He patiently listened and then told me to go home and read the book of James in the Bible. So I did. Almost the very first sentence said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance…” There was much more, but that made me mad so I stopped reading (at least for a while!)…

Since that time, I have faced many more trials (many which were even harder than what I was facing at that time). I have indeed learned much from each and every trial. My faith in You has grown stronger. You were already faithful—it just took me going through those challenges to realize just how wonderful You are, Lord. Now, I can understand. I really can consider it pure joy when I face trials—because You are up to something good! Each test has brought me closer to You! There is no greater joy!

Lately, some of my adult children and different friends have been facing some hard trials. I can even consider that joy because I know You are using those tests to help them see their deep need for You. Out of the pain will come eternal gain which can come no other way. From their weakness, You can give them Your strength. Most of the time I remember it is not my place to fix their challenges or take it away because their greatest growth will come from these trials. I can stand by them, listen to them, pray for them and lift them into Your faithful care. I can encourage them to turn to You in their trials. You know what is needed in their lives and what is required to eternally bless others through them.
Father, I pray for each and every person who happens to be reading this prayer to consider it pure joy when they face the trials they are going through. You are up to something good! Help them persevere in You!

 

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you can be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-3

 

“Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7-8

 

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” 1 Peter4:12-13

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, let me tell You of my troubles and then trust You with joy with what is coming!

photo by my brother Rodd Moesel

Heavenly Father,
Many people are enduring multiple storms right now. There seems to be a path that just keeps pounding the same areas over and over with tornados, hail and flooding. The pictures and videos of entire Oklahoma towns and farms under water along with homes destroyed by tornados are difficult to see. I am so grateful that most of the tornados are small and do not stay on the ground for long. There is more severe weather predicted today. These series of storms remind me of all the storms I have endured in my life.

When I was a young mom, we moved into a single-wide mobile home out in the middle of a pasture with no trees to block the wind. About a week after we had moved in, everyone was sound asleep when I was wakened by a powerful gust front that was blowing our little home with such force that I knew the next gust would literally blow it apart. I didn’t have time to wake my husband lying next to me or my two small children at the far end of our vulnerable home. All I could do was cry, “Jesus!” You immediately calmed the wind so there was not even a breath of it blowing. It was a calm beyond any calm I had ever known. I will never forget You calmed the wind for me! Everyone else slept through it.

I have been through hundreds of raging storms since that time long ago—some weather-related; others were financial, fire, suicide, health, life and death, relationship-related… As amazing as the time You calmed that dangerous wind for me long ago, it has been even more amazing how You have given me Your incredible peace through the midst of short outbursts or long-enduring turbulent storms which seem to never end.

It is a peace that comes from knowing You are with me—no matter what—through beautiful calm days and every kind of storm. Lord, I pray those in the storms see that You are with them.

 

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“A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was in danger of being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke Him (Jesus) up, saying ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided and all was calm. ‘Where is your faith?’ He asked His disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, ‘Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him.’” Luke 8:23-25

 

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 127:28-30

 

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

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, help me to call to You in this storm I’m facing…

Heavenly Father,

My grandkids love to dig for treasure. Many times they have dug a hole large enough to sit in—in my landscaped back yard. I finally got smart enough to make a digging area. They can only dig in that area with boundaries created from big logs. I remember the time one creative grandson snuck in the house and found a few fake gems to inconspicuously drop into the hole they were digging. He thoroughly enjoyed the delightful squeals of discovery from his cousins and siblings. They still do not know how that treasure got there!

Ever so often I watch a show where people have dedicated their lives to digging for treasure. Supposedly, someone hid this fortune so well that people have been searching for it and even dying in the effort to find it for years. These treasure hunters have spent millions of dollars and hours looking for a treasure that they will not be able to take with them upon their death—just like those who hid it could not.

I love to search for treasure, too. It’s just that my idea of riches might be just a little different than other treasure-hunters. There’s a song that has been going through my mind lately (thanks to my husband’s singing!) It’s got a line that goes, “I wanna dig a little deeper in His word…” Lord, Your word is so full of treasures that I am constantly finding more every time I look in the Bible. There are new treasures even in the places I already thought I had discovered all the riches.

Not only in Your word, but each time I spend quietly in Your presence, I find new spiritual wealth. I walk outside and I am blessed with beautiful gems of flowers, breath of gentle winds on my face, peaceful skies that can also transform into raging power…I am surrounded by people who are each a treasure to discover. Every single person may take a little digging but each is a rich gift from You.

Father, You just keep on blessing and blessing me with new discoveries of riches every single day. Sometimes You just drop them in front of me and delight in me finding them; other times You know I will appreciate it more if I have to dig for what You are wanting to bless me with. I am incredibly rich thanks to You. The best treasure of all is Jesus. He is with me always, showing me more of the true treasures of life—the riches I can enjoy now and the ones I will be treasuring and sharing for all eternity!

 

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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.” (Jesus’ words in 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.” (Jesus’ words again in Matthew 13:44

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, show me where I am digging for treasure…

Heavenly Father,
Today at my sweet granddaughter’s PreK graduation program, each child took a turn at the microphone and told what they want to be when they grow up. There were some great answers such as: a nurse, doctor, teacher, Captain America, a mom, rock star… I couldn’t wait to hear what my just-turned-five-year-old girl would say. On her turn, she shyly said she when she grew up, she wanted to be a princess. (Of course, that’s what she would say. She is obsessed with them and her daddy treats her like one!)

During the cookie and lemonade time after, I asked her what a princess does. She said, they wear their tiara and sit on a pretty chair. Her daddy reminded her that he was the king. It got me thinking…I’ve never in my life thought of myself as a princess, but it took me being a grandma to realize that I absolutely am. Just before I left for her graduation program this morning, I happened to read something about the rights and responsibilities of the members of a royal family. Then when I got home, I was reading my daily devotion, which “just happened” to be concerning our rights to use our position as Your child to ask for things for Your kingdom and trust that You will supply the best for Your children and Your kingdom. Many times, I have watched You answer my requests.

Yet being a princess is not all about simply sitting around looking pretty. There is a lot of responsibility that goes with it. It means enjoying life with my Daddy King. It also means living for Your Kingdom, Lord. It means loving goodness, righteousness and truth like You do, Lord. It means loving Your people—encouraging, praying for, sharing with, and blessing Your people with Your treasures. That doesn’t always mean worldly riches—but Your treasures of peace, hope, faith and love…and the most precious treasure of all—Jesus!
Father, I am so glad our little girl already knows she is a princess. I pray that she grows to fully realize she is a princess because she is Your child. I pray that You help us both use our rights and responsibilities as Your princesses to bless You and Your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.

 

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“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba,’ Father. The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 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.” Romans 8:15-17

“He (Jesus) called a little child and had him stand among them. And He said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” Matthew 18:2-4

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, do I fully realize my place as Your dependent child…with all the rights and responsibilities that go with that?

Heavenly Father,
I am learning to slow down and enjoy You and this life. We can be so driven and busy that it can easily stress us out. There are spoken and unspoken messages everywhere that tell us we need to be doing more. We are constantly hearing voices that tell us we need to be cleaning our house, cooking, mowing, driving, shopping, making contacts, phone calls, texts, projects, chores, excel at work, get involved, speak out, keep up with latest entertainment, stay in shape, get healthy, manage our money, volunteer…

We all feel the pressure of this world…but I have learned to zealously guard the peace You offer. Like most people, I have lived through many extreme challenges. I learned to pray my way through each one. It is in that precious prayer time with You that I find one of Your most priceless treasures—Your peace. It is not the kind of peace the world offers—sitting on a tropical beach or a hand sign to be thrown around or even lack of war. It is Your peace—found in trusting You—our Lord God Almighty. It is the peace that comes from Jesus Christ who never leaves us or forsakes us. It is a peace, knowing that You are God and all is well.

This peace does not come without a battle. I have had to fight to find it, wrestle to hold on to it and jealously guard it. This world (and even well-meaning people) want to rob me of my peace. I will not give it up. It is mine—my gift from You. Your peace is given to me in the midst of this crazy world with all its difficulties, disappointments, attacks, wounds, pain, evil, darkness…
My peace is found in You, Sweet Lord. The very moment something or someone tries to steal my peace, I run to You. I sit in Your presence and bask in who You are and savor Your love for me. All is well. You are with me. You don’t pressure me or stress me out. You love me to simply come and sit with You and soak up Your peace. Then You send me out full of Your peace. You can accomplish more in and through me as I rest in You in one moment than a whole lifetime of me being stressed out, trying to do things on my own power.

Lord, help me recognize as soon as my peace is threatened to run back to You for more. You love to share Your limitless peace with me so I can share it with others.

 

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“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“I 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

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, I need Your peace…

 

Photo by my brother Rodd Moesel

Heavenly Father,
Nurses have been incredibly important in my life and this happens to be Nurse’s Week so I want to stop and pray for the nurses I love and the ones I haven’t met yet. Nurses were there at the beginning of most of our lives, and more than likely—one will be there when we pass from this life to our eternal life, Lord. Like any other profession, there are some who are not necessarily in it for the right reason…but most of those with more selfish motives do not remain a nurse long. Too much sacrifice is involved in nursing. Only nurses or those who have watched dedicated nurses in action know what it takes to pour out their healing gift to those they serve. Nurses are amazing people!
They are extremely overworked especially in hospitals and nursing homes. They have for too many patients to care for like they really want to. They are often asked to do the impossible but they say a quick prayer—and it is incredible what they do for so many. Many nurses work unheard of hours under stress most people can’t handle. Situations are often life and death. They are first to notice life-threatening changes. They are the ones who call to let the doctor know. They are the ones who hold the patient’s hand when family members are not there (or far too often when families explode in drama while the nurse tries to keep things calm for optimum healing.)
Nurses often forgo lunch or bathroom breaks to calm someone’s fears or to try to restrain a combative patient who has slipped into fight mode. Nurses work hard to save an addict’s life often to see them back in the same situation a month later. Nurses cry with young parents when their baby dies and rejoice with patients when they witness miracles. Nurses end up at the end of their shift with all kinds of bodily fluids on them and can’t wait to shower all the strange germs off so they can hold their own children. What an incredibly stressful job to continue day in and day out, but what else can they do but fulfill the calling You have placed in their innermost being, Lord!
Lord, renew, refresh, lift up, and fill up all the nurses I love and those who I have never met. Let Your healing power flow through them to do what is impossible on their own. Encourage nurses to not grow weary but to trust in You as they keep on nursing.

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“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church, God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing. Those able to help others…” 1Corinthians13:27-28

“Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from that Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:7-9
“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, let me pray for encouragement for these nurses today…

Heavenly Father,
I was listening to the news and was a little overwhelmed by images and memories of the trials, horrors and tragedies in this world- deadly severe weather, Holocaust Remembrance Day, mass murders, drug addiction, children lured into or sold into sex slavery, growing immorality, terminal illness… My soul was heavy and it was tempting to give in to despair. Then I took a quiet walk outside in my garden…with You.
Within a few moments, my spirit was lifted just by being still with You, Lord. As I gazed at a plant that had been left for frozen, I saw a new beauty developing and flourishing that never would have made it if it hadn’t rescued it from the rack headed for the trash. I noticed a huge hanging basket of Airplane plant that I have wintered over for years in my family’s greenhouse. I can’t even begin to count how many baby plants have been given away from that old plant to family members, co-workers, preschoolers, neighbors. It was severely knocked back by a freeze and has no babies now, but it will! I walked past a 5 ft tall Norfolk Pine I grew from a 3-inch-tall starter. It also was in the greenhouse where things were frozen. It is still alive and the new growth is beautiful. It will completely change its shape but I am certain it will be renewed and refashioned by its circumstances… and You.
I always learn so much just walking in the garden with You. Yet, I make that trek every day—not so much for what I will learn but because I savor Your presence. My soul is refreshed and remade. The world can seem cold, harsh and mean, but if I take my walk with You in the garden, new life springs forth. I can take You out into that dark world and brighten it with Your Spirit which flows from You into me and through me. I may not even be aware, but Your life springs up and brings out the beauty and loveliness that can only come from You. This world begins to change from the dark hopelessness to a lovely garden where I am simply one little tiny plant with Your love flowing through me to brighten the world. I wish I could take others for a walk with You in the garden…

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“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. (Sin happened) Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 2:8 (Sin happened) 3:8

“I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.” Leviticus 26:12

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary. they will walk and not grow faint.” Isaiah 40:31

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Your Prayer Peek-
Lord, help me meet You in the garden…

Heavenly Father,
It seems like everyday I have to struggle in some form with this question. As I bring all my hurts, plans, dreams, mistakes…As I come to You in prayer letting You know how I feel about whatever is going on, I have actually found I am wrestling with the same issue: Is this part of Your will or mine?

Hurts– Lord, You know me better than anyone. You know how easily I get wounded. It is easy to come running to tell you about my latest encounter with someone who knew or maybe didn’t now how badly they had hurt me. How easy it is to spout off the pain that was wrongfully inflicted. How tempting to stay in that hurt and let it escalate out of control. You patiently listen to me spew about my very real hurts…then You remind me how Jesus reacted when He was hurt by His friends and enemies. He forgave them and prayed for them. Lord, perhaps these very hurts I want to wallow in are an opportunity You can let Your Holy Spirit show through me. Perhaps it is Your will to let my response be through Christ to draw someone closer to You…

Plans– Father, as I plan out my day and try to accomplish everything as quickly as I can, I have to fight against feeling resentful when an interruption comes. Don’t they realize what important things I have to do? When I stop to listen to You, Your Spirit gently reminds me that my plans will accomplish little, but Your plans make a difference eternally. My plans may seem critical- but Your plans are life-changing. Let me be ready and willing to drop my little plans for Yours.

Mistakes– Lord, You know I hate it when I realize I have made a mistake; when I missed an opportunity; when I reacted wrongly; when I misjudged someone’s motives…Lord, it is all too easy to beat myself up and want to quit trying so it won’t happen again. Yet, how often my mistake has resulted in a new awareness of how weak I am; how much I need You; a new humbleness before You and others. You make no mistakes, Lord, yet You take my mistakes and turn them into something new and glorious as I bring them before You.

Dreams– Father, I think of the dreams and goals I have had in my life. They seemed so great and lofty at one time. You have taken my huge visions and whittled away all the empty fluff. Lord, as I try to live by Your mission for my life (to love You and others) it is amazing what incredible power there is in doing little things with You- like enjoying You on a quiet walk, a spontaneous loving conversation with a stranger in a check-out line, dancing with children, hugging and praying with someone hurting…

Lord, it is a good fight. Help me keep dying to my own will and truly be willing to do Your will with rejoicing.

 

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“Going a little farther, He 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

“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 23:37-39

“Then He said to them all: ‘IF anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Most Holy Father, what of my own will do I need to let go of today?