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Heavenly Father,

I’ve run out of gas. My energy is all used up. My body, mind and spirit are setting on empty. I don’t want to talk or move. It’s OK, though. I’ve run out of steam before. It’s not the worst thing in the world because I know where to go to get filled back up. In fact, I believe it may be good for us to experience our own weakness now and again. It is a reminder of how much we need You, Lord!

So here I sit, quietly in Your Holy presence holding my empty tank before You…

I don’t want to try to take another step, make another plan, or talk to another person til I am filled up again. If I try to go on an empty tank, I will just sputter and stop. It might even do more damage than good if I attempt to go under my own power instead of Your’s.

Even now, as I am still before You and thirsting for more of You, I can tell You are gently filling me up. Being in Your presence is refreshing and renewing. You restore me. I am not in a hurry to get going again. It is beautiful to be filled by You. I was made to be filled by You. We were all designed to be filled with You. My joy, my peace, my strength, my purpose are all found in You through Jesus Christ. Fill me up!

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“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.”  Psalm 23:2-3a

“I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them.”    John 17:26

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”   Romans 15:13

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Prayer Prompt-

Father God, I want to be filled with…

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Heavenly Father,

It started with prayer… and bags. Tomorrow is the day! For over 2 years, You put a vision for a Ladies’ conference on my heart- one that would reach out into the community and bring hope to those who feel alone and defeated in their daily life. It is turning our far better than I could have asked for or imagined! Over a year ago, I asked the ladies in our Wednesday night class to start praying with me about this. Then nearly 6 months ago, a sister-in-Christ stepped up alongside me and said, “Let’s do this!” I have planned many things in my life, but this particular event, I didn’t want to do even one thing without You leading it. So I just kept trusting in You to lead in every detail. After all that prayer, the actual first step was some bags on sale!

My sis-in-this has a special gift for shopping! It seems like You lead her to just the right items all the time. She called me up and said she found some bags she thought would work for the conference but she didn’t know if we wanted the saying on them for the theme. You put on my heart to say yes. The bags read, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 Little did I realize how much I would be encouraged to truly trust in You in every single detail!

Our main part has been to pray non-stop about this …and then be ready and willing to follow Your lead. Not one person was asked to do anything without lifting it before You. Not one decision has been made without Your quiet nudging to go forward. We have truly trusted You all along the way. Last night as we did a prayer walk through our building preparing for this weekend, probably 10 women came up to tell  me individual stories of how You have led them to trust You more through this! Lord, we are ready. We have been praying, trusting , watching, listening, and obeying. We absolutely know that every single woman and teen who comes to the WEEKEND OF ENCOURAGEMENT will grow in their trust in You, just as we have! The more we practice trusting You, the more encouraged we are to trust You more! We love and trust You because we know You love us.

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Jesus said in John 14:1: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me.”

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…” Psalm 37:4-7a

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13

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Prayer Promt-

Heavenly Father, help me trust you more by…

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Heavenly Father,

No written law can squelch what is freely done in the spirit! That includes praying for, about and in our schools. Young and old “Daniels” across our country are praying as this new school year starts. Though some written mandate has said we cannot have organized prayer in our public schools; thousands of prayers are rising up to You at this very moment. Millions of moms are lifting their beloved children up to You, trusting You to watch over them as they spend their days in an environment away from their motherly protection. Dads are sending their kids off to school emboldened by early morning prayer that lets their kids know they are never alone in whatever they face. Father, I pray for parents today to rise up and seek You in leading their children to live for You.

Teachers are praying as they prepare their rooms and lessons that You will help them give each child what is needed on this day. Teachers who know they are not capable of making a difference on their own merit, are asking for Your divine input and direction to reach and teach every single child- especially the ones who believe they “Can’t get it,” the students who come from traumatized households, the ones who are handicapped by shyness or confidence or natural academic talent. Teachers are asking Your peace and calm to reign over their classrooms as they manage so many young people in one room all day long. Father, I pray for teachers to depend on You to manage their classrooms…and that their prayers be far more-reaching into eternity than they can imagine.

There are many students of all ages praying right now. They are praying for the child they see picked on and those who are doing the bullying. Students are praying to learn a lot this year and do better than they did before. High school and College students are praying for wisdom to make choices that will affect their whole lives…and for discernment to not simply accept a teacher or professor’s explanation as the truth but to seek You as the truth, Lord. Students are praying, asking You to help them be the change in the world for good. Father, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ for students to turn to You as their life-long Teacher, for never-ending learning that changes lives eternally through Your Son Jesus. I know You hear all our prayers both seen and heard by others and those which are spoken silently in the quietness of our spirits. No law can ever keep us from coming to You!

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Read the story of Daniel who kept praying though there was a law against it. Some administrators to the king were so jealous of Daniel that they talked the king into making a law against praying to anyone except the king himself. “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel 6:10….They threw Daniel into a den of hungry lions overnight to kill him for his breaking of the law.

“At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lion’s den. When he came near the den, he called out in an anguished voice, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the mouths of the lions?’ Daniel answered, ‘O king, live forever! My God has sent His angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in His sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king!’”    Daniel 6:19-22

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, even if someone tries to make a law against it, help me keep praying for…

 

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Heavenly Father,

As I was outside by myself struggling to hang up a banner, I earnestly prayed that one person who needed encouragement would see that large sign that read “Ladies’ Night of Encouragement” and be drawn to the special night we were planning at our church which would, in turn, draw them to You. That was probably about 20 years ago. There was a huge turn-out with lots of ladies who needed encouragement…but one stood out to me. It wasn’t just that she had the only rich dark-skin in a sea of much paler-skinned women; it wasn’t that she walked in with a big beautiful hat and lovely scarf lightly thrown over her thin body dressed in style down to her spikey heels while most of us wore jeans and nice casual tops. That was the night Deborah walked into my life. She’s been my sister-in-Christ ever since and we have gone through many joys and challenges since.

I cannot count the times she has credited that Night of Encouragement as a turning point in her life. There was no doubt in my mind that she was the one You had me pray for as I put that banner up. Of course, we both know it wasn’t a women’s evening that changed her life…it was You- through Jesus Christ! You just happened to use that event to join her together forever with Yourself and with me and the other ladies.  That was at a very hopeless period in her life and she knew she desperately needed some encouragement…so she came. We have prayed, laughed, cried and worshipped together ever since. Much has changed in those 20 short years since that night. It has been mostly both of us who have changed, as we have grown in You, Lord!

Now we are planning a similar event; in fact, Deborah will be giving her testimony at one point. Only this time instead of being one night, it will be a WEEKEND OF ENCOURAGEMENT. I decided after seeing what You’ve done in Deborah’s life when I prayed for one person to come as I hung that banner 20 years ago, this time I’m praying for many women to come and find true encouragement in You! Lord, Your encouragement doesn’t just last one night, or a weekend, or 20 years- it is so rich that it is always spilling over to others. May this Weekend event be overflowing with Your eternal encouragement in Jesus’ name!

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“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Philippians 2:1-2

“Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak .”  Acts 13:15

“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, How can I share encouragement  with others?

spiritual warfare

Heavenly Father,

I woke up this morning fighting…but not the way most people think. It wasn’t against my thoughtful husband, my amazing adult children, any of my wonderful friends or co-workers. The fight isn’t against an opposing political party, another skin color or culture, the government or any group of worldly authorities. It’s not against someone who gets mad at me, hurts my feelings or attacks my family. It’s not even against an illness, an issue or a cause. It’s the fight of my life…and for my life…and for other’s lives. It is the most beautiful and calm fight. It is the fight to stay connected to You, Lord!

There are so many things that need to be accomplished; so many people who need to be helped; so many bills that need to be paid; so many “important things” that pop up on my agenda. Therein lies the real fight! Every single day I have to battle against my agenda or even other people’s well-meaning plans for my life. The most vital part of my whole life is my life hidden with You. Nothing else matters. I can’t truly accomplish anything unless I stay connected with You through Jesus Christ. Yet when I win the battle to live in Your presence, I find the most glorious love, peace and joy as I rest in the security of who You are and Your guidance in my life.

The news of horrible things happening all around cannot keep me away from You. The epidemic of fear cannot harm me when I stay close to You. When I am in the shadow of Your holiness, I know that You are at work, calmly fighting the battle for me…as well as others. In fact, You have already won…and so have I. The longer I live in You, Lord, the more clearly I see the victory. Help me be on guard and not let down my defenses. Let me live in Your strong tower and go out only when You send me out. Then let me go out carrying the Light of Jesus Christ with peace and confidence. Yet I don’t ever want to go without You. It is the enemy who tries to separate me from You any way he can. It is my fight to stay conscious of You at all times…every single day… for You are always with me. You sent Jesus to fight and die for me. Now I fight to live with You in this world and yet not of this world. I love You, Lord!

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“How priceless is Your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They feast on the abundance of Your house; You give them drink from Your river of delights. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light, we see light.”   Psalm 36:7-9

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

“This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but God’s.”  2 Chronicles20:15b

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith , love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontus Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blemish until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in His own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To Him be honor and might forever. Amen.”   1 Timothy 6:11-16

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me battle to stay in Your presence by…

cut flowers

Heavenly Father,

I do not want to be cut from the vine! As much as I love having fresh cut flowers straight from my garden on my table, I realize their beauty won’t last long. They’ve been cut from their life source. I can keep the water fresh in the vase to make them last a little longer. I can add a little packet of food, sugar or bleach to the water to try to extend their beauty, but since they’ve been cut off the plant, they are destined to wither up.

This spring I‘ve done a lot of pruning. Once a branch is cut off from the main tree, shrub or plant, it cannot continue to thrive or live. The cut branch certainly cannot produce any blooms or fruit. It might as well end up in the trash or compost pile. As long as the main plant is supplying the life, it will send out new branches- but those branches cannot make new leaves or flowers once they are cut off. Only the main plant can supply the life.

Father, I never want to try to do anything apart from You. It will not last. No matter how spectacular something I do on my own might appear, it will wither up. That’s why I come to You again this morning. I need to stay connected to Jesus who is my vine. Only with the Holy Spirit flowing from You through Jesus and then through me can my tiny branch live and thrive. If I am not rooted in Jesus, I can produce nothing eternal. Yet with Your life flowing through me, You can take this insignificant little twig and make it produce exactly what You designed it to do. Some little branches might produce a radiant flower to brighten someone’s life; other little branches might produce juicy fruit to feed hungry souls; some branches may provide shelter and shade to weary souls. Yet none of the branches can cause any of this eternal life on their own. That’s why I want to live in You and You live in me. Lord, flow through my little branch today and produce something eternal that I could never ever produce on my own…like love!

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“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.

                I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.”   John 15:1-8

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, this is how I can remain in You…

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Heavenly Father,

Everyone around me is making their plans for severe weather in Oklahoma this afternoon. Our meteorologists have been warning us that today is ripe for widespread severe weather and up to grapefruit-sized hail. Most of us have a Tornado Plan- what to do in case of an outbreak of twisters. Oklahomans know where to run for shelter. In recent history, F4 and F5 tornadoes have leveled whole towns to ground level. The sale of tornado shelters has greatly increased. Some are underground or above ground safe rooms. Some people know to go to an inner room with preferably no windows. People are better prepared than they used to be due to advances in radars and computerized weather tracking. The average Oklahoman knows more about tornadoes than most of the world due to our history and national meteorologists in our state. We might joke about getting on top of the roof to watch a twister coming til the last minute but we have learned to take severe weather warnings seriously…so we prepare our “hidey holes” in which we will ride out the storms.

Father, I’ve been through all kinds of storms in my life- some light and some critical even to the point of devastating. Through it all, I have learned You are my “Hidey hole”- the safe shelter I run to. I don’t wait til the last minute until it’s almost too late. I come to You often. It doesn’t matter where I am, or if I’m far away from home. I can run to You anytime and anywhere. I am familiar with my place of shelter because I go there all the time on beautiful peaceful days, rainy days, scorching days, and days filled with all kinds of storms. I don’t have to clear the spider webs or worry about snakes that might have slithered in. It doesn’t matter how strong the storm is raging outside.

When I am with You, I am at peace. My spirit is calm because You are with me. You have warned us we will face storms in this life. It can happen in the blink of an eye. Yet all is well because I have a shelter that goes with me wherever I go. I’m prepared. Though everything around me may come crashing down, I live with You, Lord, and You are with me wherever I go. You are my “hidey hole” – my shelter, my love, my Lord and my God. I love my shelter with You!

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“I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”   Psalm 55:8

“You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.”   Isaiah 25:4

“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”   Psalm 27:3-5

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me to seek shelter with You by….

 

Mom in chair

Heavenly Father,

People take one look at my mom and think she is a frail little woman. She recently fell and damaged her hip again. The ER doctors and nurses take a look at this fragile old lady and tend to talk to me instead of her. It doesn’t take much time for them to realize she is fully in charge of her own decisions and completely understands what’s going on. She is the strongest weakest person I know. She still works every day, tutors once a week, runs a 4-H club, teaches Sunday School… In fact, she was carrying plants outside her greenhouses when she tripped and fell backwards onto her hip that’s already been replaced once. The business was closed but my brother was on the property. She called him on her cell phone to casually ask if he could come take a look at something whenever he got a chance. She said there was no hurry (neglecting to mention that she had fallen and couldn’t get up!) He continued to work, finding her about 45 minutes later. She had pulled herself from the point of fall about 30 feet to try to pull up on some steps so she could see if she could stand (which she couldn’t!) That’s where he found her on the step…when he called an ambulance.

Although my mom is unable to move on her own at this point, she is far from helpless. She may need assistance moving but as long as she has her phone and her papers, she is working! She spent all day the past two days immovable in a chair making phone calls to her 4-Hers who were meeting about camp and record books. There was much to do! Then, of course, she had to call everyone to let them know their Bible study had been postponed for the night. She’s worried about being a burden to her children right now. We are concerned she will try to move herself again before it is time!

Father, it is a blessing and an honor to care for those who have traveled so boldly before us…those whose minds are still super sharp like my mom’s and for those who do not always comprehend what is going on. They have journeyed some hard roads, survived some rough trails, provided and cared for us. Now, it is our turn to care for them when they let us! Sometimes we have to be creative in helping them so it’s not too obvious.  Lord, show us how to care for the weak with Your love, treating them with respect and honor – the way we hope to be treated in our weakness. I can think of several dear friends who have been faithfully caring for their loved ones who couldn’t make it without their tender care. Give us Your eyes to see, grace to help and love to share with those who are weak in some way.

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“Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble.” Psalm 41:1

“He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in His sight.” Psalm 72:13-14

“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please Himself…” Romans 15:13a

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, who have You placed in my life that is weak and needs my loving help?

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Heavenly Father,

As of today I have yet another reason to vote in our country’s elections. Our second great-grandson was born. My life is flying by! How can it be that our granddaughter who I watched being born gave birth herself?? We now have 12 grandchildren and two great grandchildren. I am voting for each of them, for all the kids I care for at work and at church, and all their parents and for future grandchildren yet-to-be-born. My one little vote is only one…but I must use it wisely for it will affect so many precious people. Father, our governing leaders can make a big impact on the future of the lives of many.

My vote can have an impact on their freedom, their way of life, morals, education, healthcare, safety, finances, resources available, the character of the world they live in… My vote needs serious consideration. I cannot afford to cast it simply on what a candidate says because talk can sound good and is empty without actions. I cannot vote on ads paid for by candidates. I don’t personally know any of them so I cannot base it on my relationship with them. I can’t vote on what those running against them say because facts can certainly be twisted. ..so how  can I know the truth about who to vote for? I can research their speech, history, relationship with You and pray about my vote…which is exactly what I’ve been doing. Now I need Your final input on my vote tomorrow. You know ALL about each person running for office. Nothing is hidden from You. You know their strengths, weaknesses, motivation, their future and their past. You know who is needed for such a time as this. I need You to help me vote!

Although my vote is important and the stakes seem high, it’s so reassuring to know that the future doesn’t depend on these human leaders…that You reign from generation to generation. Even more important than my vote to all these younger generations are my prayers. I know without a doubt that You will be with them whatever they face in this life. I may use my little vote on behalf of many for one candidate per office for one term …however my prayers to You on behalf of all these precious young people will stand forever because You are eternally our God from generation to generation!

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“You, O Lord, reign forever; Your throne endures from generation to generation.” Lamentations 5:19

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, I ask Your guidance as I cast my vote for earthly leaders…yet I bow before Your Son as my eternal King and You as my God and pray for these young people …

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Heavenly Father,

My preschoolers love to play a game where they follow the leader slowly, then quickly with a STOP thrown in every once in a while. They have lots of fun and don’t even realize they’re learning to listen, follow and obey. I love being an under-the-radar teacher…provide the lesson with love and passion; then let them learn from doing! Of course, little people are far better at the quick part than the slow…and the STOP is usually just barely more than a pause. But then, we adults are pretty much the same, aren’t we, Lord?

About a year ago, I was teaching a women’s group from the very practical book of James in the Bible. One particular verse struck a deep chord with all of us. In fact, it gets brought up frequently as almost a rallying statement in our group: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” from James 1:19. You are the Teacher calling out as we follow and learn to obey. As adults, we seem to wander around obstacles and challenging situations with ample opportunities to practice these spiritual skills. We haven’t mastered them yet, but Your still calm voice keeps repeating the instructions, watching to see if we are learning to obey.

Father, help me grow in obedience. There is one “Quick” and two “Slows” in this verse. The “Quick” actually requires us to stop our mouth and listen to You and others. The “slow to speak” is almost impossible without Your help. So is the “slow to anger!” My young students’ favorite part of the game is the STOP. They never know when it will happen. They have to freeze and listen. The longer I live with You, Lord, I believe the STOP is my favorite part, too. As I stop and am still before You, I am learning how to listen to You and others. Then I find the Holy Spirit slows me down and filters when I need to be angry and when I need to speak. Lord, that’s why I’m stopping right now to listen to You.

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“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”   James 1:19-20

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

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”   James 1:22

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me stop and be still and listen to You right now…