Heavenly Father,      Surrender may seem like an action of defeat to the world, but I am learning that it can be the very moment of victory! Most of the time, defeat is pictured as someone who is beat down and helpless in battle and there is no way out so they must raise a little white flag in hopes that the enemy will be merciful. I am trying to surrender before I get so beat down and hopeless—trying to fight battles on my own that You never designed me for. I have definitely lost those battles I tried to take on with my own strength.

                Many times, I have found myself down in the trenches with attacks drilling me from every direction. There was no way out until I held up my little white flag and surrendered –not to the enemy—but to You, my Savior. It is so freeing to discover the peace and joy that comes from not trying to handle things my own way but by surrendering to You. You are always ready to lift me up and renew me. You always have a plan that far exceeds my own silly little schemes. I have always been awed by how You turn the battle completely around when I surrender to You, Lord.

                It’s funny how many times I have sung one of my favorite songs, “I Surrender All.” I really mean it when I say it. I believe I am surrendering it all to You. My hands are raised as I lift it all up to You. The burden becomes light as I trust You to take whatever it is and have Your own way. What joy there is in knowing who my King is, and the power He holds over anything I can possibly face. Yet, over and over I find myself surrendering a new area in my life (or even at times the same area again and again.) At different times, I have surrendered my dear family members and friends one at a time to You, my health, someone else’s health, finances, work, pride, writing, earthly stability, my future, hurts, mistakes, misunderstandings…The list goes on and on.

                Here I am again today, surrendering to You and trusting Your infinite love for me and others. Let Your will be done.

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“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:36

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.”  Psalm 69:1

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, what do I need to surrender to You today?

 Heavenly Father,              I was all settled in my cozy precious quiet time with You—ready to share with You, my nearest and closest companion who has always been with me and has never left me…when I was overcome with WHO YOU ARE!!

YOU-who created the galaxies near and far which seem to go on forever- the more we discover, the more we discover Your vast presence and power!

YOU- who made and tenderly cares for that tiny little bird outside my window who sings for joy in the middle of winter!

YOU-who makes the sun rise and set on us, who gives us air to breathe, water to live and hearts with the capability to love.

YOU- who reigns over all heaven and earth, the One whose holy kingdom endures and is victorious over all kings, presidents, wars, genocides, disease, death and the power of evil and hell.

YOU-who has all angels, spiritual beings and every living thing under Your control yet created us to have the choice of whether to love and worship You or not.

YOU- who though every single one of us sin and rebel against You, sent Your own Son Jesus Christ to live a holy life here as one of us—yet without sin—so HE could die for our sins- the only One worthy in all history to save us.

YOU- the One who waits patiently for us to personally accept Jesus’ life, death and resurrection so we can only begin to know who YOU really are!

YOU- the One whose spirit lives in me because of Jesus, who I can share life so intimately with; who I can share my thoughts, fears, joys, requests knowing YOU are with me, leading me!

YOU- the ONE I am overcome with—How is it that You would care about me?! That YOU would love me enough to humble Yourself and die for me so I could live with YOU forever! And not just me…but each of my family, friends, co workers and every single person YOU ever created!

Most Holy Father, I choose to come to YOU in worship and love today because YOU love me and because of who YOU are!

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“Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol Him, all you peoples. For great is His love towards us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!”  Psalm 117

“I will exalt YOU, my God, the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise YOU and extol Your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.”   Psalm 145:1-3  (Written by “powerful” King David)

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, give me the eyes of Jesus to see who YOU are…

Heavenly Father,

My friends who are missionaries in Cameroon (Africa) are so torn. They are safe back here in the states but their hearts are still with their beloved people who are being killed in a bloody civil war. They had to come back with their young children but have been keeping in close contact with their fellow believers who are trapped in the middle of this war. It has affected the children in their home town in Cameroon being able to go to the school they founded, the families’ and teachers’ safety. Since they are back here in the states, it is so hard on them to hear of the escalation there in Cameroon. Today they found out a young missionary dad was killed in the crossfire.  He was “killed in action”—on the front line for You. He was father to eight young children and their family had only been there one month.

Father, I know from reading Your word that there is a special place for those who lose their lives for Your sake. I know this dad is safe with You. Will You comfort and protect his family. Will You rally the believers there as they see this man’s and their family’s sacrifice? Will You comfort and strengthen this young widow and her children with the truth that You are with them and will never ever leave them (even though their earthly protector had to leave them). Your ways are so high above our ways, Lord. It is happening now around the world. I have no doubt that Your plans will prevail. I know that this dad is experiencing victory now. I know that You will lead his wife and children to victory. I know You are at work in Cameroon and other places—no matter how things look to us.

I think of all our missionary friends and relatives around the world who stepped out in faith to give up the comfortable lives they could have had here in America to go out on the often lonely battlefield. Yet I also know You have called each of us who have surrendered our lives to You, to be willing to give up our own lives—no matter where we live. That looks different to different followers. These children and wife who lost their dad and husband have had to give up their security in him and will need to trust more fully in You. My friends who came back from Cameroon had to leave the field when they didn’t want to, yet they are ready for action wherever You lead. Some other friends of ours are presently in a whole different culture and have had to give up comforts and conveniences found here to live among a lost people. Our brother and his wife have left all their family to reach a difficult people in another land. Father, all I know is that I hope and pray that whenever and however my time comes to go Home with You, I will be found doing what You want me to be doing. Let me be found “in action for You” when You come to take me home.

 

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“This is how we know what love is; Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”   1 John 3:16

 

“”Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”  Matthew 25:13

 

“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”  Matthew 24:44

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, am I truly ready? Am I in action? …

Heavenly Father,

Real relationships are a struggle. It takes a lot of work to truly try to get to know the other person’s inner soul and for them to understand who you really are. The struggle happens no matter what the relationship is- husband/wife, parent/child, siblings, friends, neighbors, coworkers, fellow believers, teacher/student, boss/employee…the list goes on. Time, energy, patience, kindness and understanding are all parts of building love relationships with those around us. It is a two-way street, but we only have power over our part of the relationship. Yet, our part with Jesus in it covers more than we can imagine.

At times, it may seem easier to have a pleasant short “relationship” with strangers because it doesn’t involve the struggle of going deeper. But it’s worth the struggle to go deeper—to love those who are a part of our daily life in a deeper more eternal way. I’ve been going through a struggle lately that has involved several relationships. Each of those was important enough for me to wrestle through. I have been bringing them to You, Lord. And as always, You help me through my growing pains.

When I explained to You how I’ve been working so hard to love them but they don’t seem to understand me, You gently showed me how I can understand them more. When I whined that no one understands me, You tenderly reminded me that You “get me” better than I even understand myself. You pointed out that it was just as important to share my soul with them as to understand theirs. When I complained that it seemed as though they didn’t even want to try to know me better, You didn’t say anything…

Your silence reverberated in my soul. How often do I truly try to get to know You better—to understand You—to get to know Your heart? How often does it seem like a one-sided relationship to You, Lord? You do all the giving and the loving, and we just want more. Father, it is worth the struggle to me to go deeper in my relationship with You. It is worth it to discover more of Your heart by reading Your word, by spending more time just listening to You, by keeping my eyes open to see Your glory all around, by thanking You for Your indescribable love and blessings, by worshiping and praising You in and out of church, by writing and singing to You, by learning from You, by following Your lead every single day. You gave Your all when You sent Jesus to die and rise again for us. There was no way we could ever have eternal life with You or even begin to understand You without You giving everything. It may take a struggle on my part to keep seeking to know and love You more deeply but it is so worth it.

 

*****

 

“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, nor 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. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”  1 Corinthians 2:9-12

 

“How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake I am still with You.”  Psalm 139:17-18

 

“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:12-13

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, I want to seek more of You…

Most High God,

There are times I fit all too well into this world…and there are times I feel completely out of place in this world. This morning I seem to be out of place. As I hear things that are dishonoring to You, it hurts my heart. How can people live their lives without any thought of You—the very One who created them and gives them life? They live their lives with no thought or acknowledgement of Your sovereignty. Worse yet, is the mocking, downright rebellion, rejection and haughty attitudes that spit in Your face—the very One who knit our DNA and cells into existence—the One who created all the beauty and wonder and miracles to give us breath, life and everything we need.

I hear young children use Your Holy name like a flippant curse word; I hear older people who should know better say Your name with vulgar ugliness spewing from their hearts. It seems fewer people honor You with their lives, actions and words. It seems like there is more honor for the latest movie, sports team, lottery, manmade achievement, political party, paystub, vacation spot, musician, Hollywood star, house, car, animal, biggest TV, latest tech gadget—pretty much anything other than You and Your Son Jesus.

Yet You knew all this when You sent Your Son Jesus to be born as one of us (yet holy and without sin) for the sole purpose of taking our eternal punishment. Not one of us is without sin against You (including me). We have all dishonored You—yet You love us and desire that we will choose to accept the great honor You have given us through the sacrifice of Your Son even though we are definitely undeserving. It is Your great desire to have us live with You forever in perfect peace. It is Your desire that not one should perish but have the eternal life You long to give us. The day is coming when every single one of us will see You in all Your glory and realize who You are.  Father, thank You for the way You honored me with Jesus’ death and resurrection—though I do not deserve it. Help me honor You more and above all in this earthly life and forever.

 

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Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they ae doing.’” on the cross, Luke 23:34

 

“’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.” Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-38

 

 

“Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and worship Him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being.’”  Revelation 4:9-11

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me what I honor above You…

 

Heavenly Father,

I cannot tell you how many times as I have cared for children that they ask me a question and I answer. Within a few minutes, they ask me the same question—I answer again. A few minutes later, they ask me the same exact question. I finally point out that I have answered their same question every single time they have asked me. They ask; then go about their busy play—not even waiting or listening for an answer.

Lord, how many times in my life have I done the same thing to You? I make a big deal of asking You for something or for guidance in a situation; then it’s like I forget that I asked—or I don’t even bother to wait or listen for Your answer. I know that You hear every single thing I bring before You. My prayers are precious to You (even if what I ask for is not always so precious).

I’m learning to listen for Your answer after I ask You something. I’m learning to be patient and wait to see how You are working on whatever I have brought before You. There are many times, as I go on about my busy day that You quietly point out that “This is the answer to that prayer.” You work so much differently than I do. Your thoughts and ways and plans are so much higher than anything I could ever scheme up. Your ways are always so much better—even if I don’t see it at the time.

How I thank You for all the big and little ways You have answered every single one of my prayers. I can think of prayers that were answered immediately (sometimes before I could even voice them) and others which You answered, “Wait” and it took 34 years to see the answer. It was so worth the wait! Lord, help me continue to bring every little and big thing before You, and then listen and watch for Your answer. Thank You for listening to me, Lord!

 

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“They have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations; so I will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring upon them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke no one listened. They did evil in My sight and chose what displeases Me. Hear the word of God, you who tremble at His word.” Isaiah 66:3b-5a

“He (Jesus) came and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. And when He had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are all the prayers of the saints.”  Revelation 5:7-8

 

“He answered their prayers because they trusted Him.”  1 Chronicles 5:20b

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me listen to You, watch for You, and obey You today…

Heavenly Father,

If you ask a child or teen what they want to be when they grow up, I don’t believe there is anyone who would say, “I really want to be a servant!” We are taught to have “higher aspirations.” My husband is reading an intense series of historical books on the American civil war right now. Thousands of people were killed over the issue of slavery. That wasn’t that long ago in history that a whole people group was kidnapped and sold as slaves against their will. There are numerous historical accounts of groups held as slaves against their will including those listed in the greatest most accurate history book ever—the Bible. There are many forms of slavery today around the world—including those sold into the sex trade.

The older I get, and the longer I walk with You, Lord…I am finding I truly want to be Your servant. You have been showing me what it means to be Your bond servant. I have been freed from the slavery of sin through the sacrifice of Your Son’s innocent blood. Sin held me captive, but through Jesus Christ I am FREE indeed! Now I find myself wanting to freely offer my life to serve You. As I understand the earthly meaning of a bondservant, it is when someone has a debt they cannot pay and offer themselves freely to be at the beck and call of the one who they owe. I certainly can never pay the debt I owe to You for saving me through Jesus, for creating me, for giving me eternal life with You, for never leaving me or forsaking me, for giving me breath, rest, strength, peace, joy, love and a beautiful world in which to live until I am home with You.

I believe in Your divine purpose for me and for others. I trust in Your plans and perfect will. I have no doubt that Your motives are pure and holy just as You are. I believe in Your kingdom and am honored to be a part of it. I want to offer my life to be used for Your glory and to enlarge Your eternal kingdom. You ways are so far above my ways that I humbly bow before You , ready to go where You want, say what You want me to say, do what You would have me do, and be who You designed me to be. I know I cannot do this on my own. I’m fully aware I need Your help. You are not only my Master—You are my Savior, my Counselor, my Life, my Love, my Purpose, my Best Friend, my Strength, my Peace, my all-in-all.  I stand ready to serve You. There is no greater joy than getting to share in Your joy as You send me to do Your bidding.

*****

 

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”   Matthew 25:21

 

Jesus said in Mark 10:43-45: “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

 

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”  Philippians 2:5-8

*****

Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, who is my master?…

Heavenly Father,

Prayer in schools can never ever be outlawed as long as there are students, teachers, moms, dads, grandparents, churches, school staff and administrators who are praying. There are prayers lifted before You, Lord, all over our land as schools start back after summer break… fervent prayers by first time teachers, parents entrusting their precious children to teachers they don’t know, parents who suddenly have a high school student or college student, prayers by custodians who are prayer warriors disguised as janitors, cafeteria workers who pray as they cook, clean and interact with children, prayers by administrators who realize they cannot handle the responsibility on their own, prayers by teachers who have seen it all and impacted hundreds of students in their lifetime.

Twenty-five years ago, I started praying with a small group of moms for our kids and their schools through Moms In Touch (which is now an international group of small groups of moms praying in homes all over the world for students, teachers and schools because as the founder Fern Nichols always said, “If we are not praying for our children, who is?”) Since then, I’ve heard of parents stopping during the parent/teacher conference to pray for/with their teacher, churches adopting a nearby school to pray for, community prayer walks around a local school to pray for the specific needs, children and staff of that school…Tomorrow, my van will be filled as a bunch of our family- including moms and kids do a drive-through prayer around our grandchildren’s schools! What if everyone prayed for a school as they slowed down to pass through a school zone?! Or passed the school supply aisle?

Father, I know You hear our prayers. We lift up our schools, students of all ages, teachers, professors, administrators, staff and families who have students in school. Father, hear our prayers and protect, bless, guide, lead, bring divine inspiration and curiosity and love for learning. Bring about a spirit of respect, kindness, safety, encouragement…Encourage families to start the day off before school with prayer every single day before they leave home, or on the way to school while everyone is together and buckled in. That would start every day focused on You.  Lord, You have all authority above all earthly authority. We ask Your will be done in our schools and in our young people in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

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“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous (through Jesus Christ) and His ears are attentive to their prayers.”   1 Peter 3:12

 

“If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven  and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”  2 Corinthians 7:14-15

“ ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.’ ”  Jeremiah 29:13-14

 

*****

Prayer Prompt-

Father, let me teach my children to pray by praying for ….

 

Almighty Father,

There have been multiple deeply painful situations stacking up lately that I would not have chosen: a young mom who has struggled much in her life who just gave birth to a baby only to have that little one taken away and placed in another home before she even left the hospital…A dear friend, who loves You with all her heart, facing the same horrible illness that my first husband died from…three young brothers, who have dealt with much already in their lives, now having to learn to live without the loving adoptive dad who took them into his heart and home  when he recently passed into eternity…precious friends facing cancer…

As I pray for those involved, I can think of ways I believe these situations should work out. I can pour my heart out to You and I absolutely believe You hear every single prayer. Lord, You are so gracious that You even listen to my suggestions…yet You see and know all things. I humbly admit that You know better than I do what needs to come out of each situation. As I continue to come to You, You have a way of helping me trust in You—Your will, Your plans, Your love, Your knowledge, Your goal, Your desired outcome… It is hard to see people suffer. If I could, I would take it away. Yet, You know there are times when far more glorious things will happen even through suffering. You know the final outcome.

You, alone, know when the time is right for healing, reunification, and the greatest victory. You, alone know who all will be drawn closer to You as a result of temporary trials—no matter how huge they may seem. You, alone, know when to answer the prayers the way we see fit or the way You know is best. I will continue to pray in all situations. I may even pray for specific things to happen…but those times I don’t see You answer them the way I think, I will still praise You! I know You are good. I know You work in ways that are way over my head. I know You are always up to something wonderful as Your final outcome. I have seen You work miracles through some horrific circumstances. I know that it is Your desire that no one should perish but have eternal life. I know that it often takes suffering to draw some to You. I realize I may not always see the final victory in this life…but I will keep on praying. When my prayers don’t get answered when I think they should or as I think they should, I will still praise You—for I know Your will is far better than mine. So, Father, as I pray—please line my heart up until I can truly want Your will instead of mine.

 

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“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 suffering of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.”   1 Peter 4:12-13

Jesus in the Garden before going to the cross: “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.’”

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me trust You with ….

Heavenly Father,

About four to five years ago, You put on my heart to host a Ladies’ Retreat. I started praying about it, not wanting it to be my planning but Yours. I wanted You to completely lead in every single aspect of the conference. I really wanted every single decision to be led by You.  I asked a group of my sisters to join me in prayer. We all prayed for two years before it was obvious You were ready to go forward with it. As it entered the organizing stage, we prayed for every single aspect from the theme to those leading or sharing testimonies to the bags distributed. It was incredible to watch You do things we could never dream of or plan. Two years ago, the event was a spiritual success in more ways than we could ever know! (Including large numbers of women involved!)

Ever since, I have tried to simply follow Your lead instead of coming up with my plans then asking You to bless them. It’s been an adventure! This past weekend, I was sort of “in charge” of our little church’s very first Parent’s Night Out. Once again, I wanted You to lead every part of the way. The same thing happened; You picked out people to serve in different areas which were a surprise to me. Everyone involved was excited and “on fire” to be a part of something that would serve children and their families around the church neighborhood. Friday night, we had about thirty volunteers ready to serve whoever came. They had each poured their hearts into their part. Four children showed up! I was more disappointed than anyone. Not one of the other volunteers let it dampen their enthusiasm. We went through the evening with those four kids getting a lot of love and attention. Most every one of the volunteers asked when we were going to do the next one!

When I got home, I looked at the one good picture I got of the evening. It spoke deeply to my soul of the success of the evening. There was someone I never expected to volunteer reading a story of the miracles of Jesus to two of the kids. Later, You woke me up from a deep sleep and spoke to my still disappointed spirit. I thought of all that went into preparing for that night and the four kids who came. I thought of all the prayer and work which went into the Ladies Retreat and how You used it to affect so many lives. Then You spoke to my heart, “Just look at what I will do for even one!” Lord, my job is to follow Your instructions. The results are up to You. You will go to amazing lengths to reach even one single person. That’s success to You! Thanks for letting us be a part of a miraculous evening!

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“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father in heaven. What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about the one sheep than the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”  Jesus said in Matthew 18:10-14

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7  (thought- not one of us is righteous apart from Jesus Christ.)

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, I admit my great need for You and the great value You have placed on each person…