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…

 

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?