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Heavenly Father,
Whenever there are huge things going on like this pandemic, I know You are up to something bigger and better than we can imagine. Jesus told us in Matthew 24:6-8: “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.”

Every mother wishes she could skip the labor and go straight to the delivery of the new precious life she has longed for. We all want the joy of new life, but because of sin in this world, we have to endure the pain before new life is born. Lord, I think of the painful times I’ve been through in my life. More than once, I thought that pain would kill me. It did not. Yet going through those laborious challenges has always brought new glories in my life. Each bout of suffering has squeezed out more of my old selfish prideful nature and given birth to a new more Christ-like spirit.

When I was in actual labor giving birth to each of my babies (who are remarkable men and women now), I was incredibly grateful to have someone I love holding my hand and encouraging me through. Words could never express the comfort from their nearness, the touch of their hand, soft words of encouragement. I was alone in the most intense part of my most difficult birth when a faceless nurse (or an angel?) gently rubbed my back. No one could take the pain away, but how encouraging to know I was not alone.
Father, during these intense labor pains where so many are hurting, scared, and grieving, I pray that they will know the sweetness of Your presence. You never leave us. May Your Holy Spirit touch us, speak to us and assure us that the new life to come is worth all this temporary pain.

What a joy to share the new life with You! For some, it might be the beginning of a new life in Jesus Christ! For others, it may be a deeper relationship with You where more of You and less of us is seen in our lives. With every child I gave birth to, my intense pain dulled in comparison to the glory I held in my arms. With every trial I have endured, the pain has fled in the joy of a deeper life with You!

 

How I praise You for the amazing new life I already see being born from this intense pain we must labor through! Thank You for never leaving us!

 

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.” John 16:21

“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” James 3:6

 

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Prayer Prompt:
Heavenly Father, I need You as my Comforter and Labor Coach right now…

Heavenly Father,
Fear does not come from You! In fact, Your word is full of commands not to fear. I should know. I was once probably one of the most fearful people alive. Only You could take that fear away- and that came when I started placing my faith in You. What freedom and joy to not live in fear! When the temptation to fear rears it’s ugly head, I run away from fear and run to You, Lord. Faith and fear cannot live together. It is either one or the other, and I choose to trust in You.

Sometimes it seems like there is an army of fear trying to get my old nature worked up—fears of viruses, losing a loved one, catastrophes, disasters, cancer, violence, rejection, being deserted, growing older, financial and relational challenges…All these things can seem like giants or even mountains until I look at who You are. You, Lord, rule over all these things and everything else in the world and beyond this earth. Sin and evil will not have the last say. You do. I trust in You- Your goodness and Your sovereignty.

Whatever comes my way, I KNOW I need never face it alone. You are with me. Whom or what shall I fear? I live with You, the Lord God Almighty. You have secured my soul by letting Your Son Jesus Christ die for my salvation and my victory over anything and everything as I place my faith in You. It is incredible to watch those giant fears fade away into nothing as I keep placing my faith in You. I love You, Lord!

 

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“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

 

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

 

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, show me the areas I am letting fear get a stronghold…Let me trust You in that area…

Heavenly Father,
What a treasure we have been given in the ability to come to You at any time with anything through prayer and yet we often neglect this highest honor and responsibility. Many prayers are shot up to You in desperate need- even by those who supposedly don’t believe. There is a difference between a one-time prayer and a life lived in prayer. There is a difference between a prayer from our flesh and prayer in the Spirit…but it has to start somewhere! So when does a prayer from our own selfish will change to a prayer in the Spirit?

I know it’s probably different for everyone because we are all such unique people -designed and loved by You. Yet praying in the Spirit involves living with Your Holy Spirit in us. It begins with believing that Jesus died for us on the cross. It is believing that our old life/ nature/ selfish will has been crucified with Jesus. Jesus sends the Spirit to live in us in a resurrected life that is much more real than this earthly life. It is knowing that He really lives in us and through us. I know it’s crazy, but to pray in the Spirit is not just asking You to make my wish come true. It is being still in Your presence. It is praying for the richer things of the Spirit that might come even from very challenging situations. It is trusting that You are at work in me, and in others, bringing about Your Kingdom that is high above this earthly life.

Praying in the Spirit is knowing it is no longer my blood that runs through my veins, my goals to obtain, my answers to problems, my demands…it is Your Spirit running through my surrendered heart and soul. You said that the prayers of a righteous man can accomplish much…but I realize that there is nothing righteous about me. The only righteousness in me was given to me by Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. I am a new creation in Him. Your Spirit truly lives in and through me. I find myself praying in whole new ways and trusting You in all situations. Praying in the Spirit is yielding to Your will/ Your intercession/ Your answers/ Your amazing work. There are times, I am tempted to slip back into my powerless prayer life so I have to re-surrender to Your unseen powerful Spirit. What a crazy mysterious plan You have- to work in and through our prayers in the Spirit. Thank You for this amazing gift, Lord! Let me get myself out of the way so Your Spirit can flow through me.

 

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“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18

 

“If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for He lives in with you and will be in you.” Jesus’ promise in John 14:15-17

 

“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 2:38

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I accept Your sacrifice on my behalf for my sin of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Let me die to my old life and let Your Spirit live in me…

Most Glorious Father,
I must admit I love prayers, both public and private…but I also know the public prayer is empty and meaningless when there has been no private prayer. The thing I love most about prayer is that is being with You, being aware of You, talking to You, resting silently in You, singing to You, trusting in You, bringing everything and anything to You, seeking You, finding You, being corrected, refreshed, restored and re-created by You… so many amazing things happen when we come to You in prayer. Prayer is not the power. It is simply our coming to You—the One who has all power, authority, direction, peace and love. I suppose, then, it is not prayer that I love…but You!

Both Public and private prayer can be vital links to You, Lord. I am always amazed when I read Jesus’ public prayers for us. The longest recorded section of words spoken by Jesus is actually the most incredible prayer ever prayed. John 17 is Jesus’ out loud prayer for His beloved followers, but was also recorded because Jesus said He was praying for me and all “who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21) He continues to pray for us, when we are willing to leave this old-world order and accept Him as our King and become His subjects, in His Kingdom. He is still praying for us: “Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34) I am forever grateful for Jesus’ private and public prayers for me!

I am also so thankful for the many times someone else has stopped what they were doing just to pray for me and with me. I recall times of overwhelming situations, when I have been weary, unsure, in battle, approaching a new crossroad, needing help praying for a loved one, unsure of direction…I love to know there are others praying for me in private, but there are times I sure have needed those out loud prayers! I believe in passing that on. We all need someone to pray out loud and privately for us (and with us) on this challenging journey.

That brings me to these Prayer Peeks I write. I know Jesus said to pray in Your closet where no one sees, but He certainly didn’t say to never pray out loud. We each need to have our own private relationship with You—one that no one else has. When we have that, we want others to have their own private relationship with You, Father. We know that special relationship comes through becoming a new creation through Jesus Christ. Our new lives in Your Kingdom grows and matures as we spend private time with You. But as someone once said, “If you are already going to the throne room of God, grab someone’s hand and take them with you.” Lord, I write these prayer peeks and prompts to grab someone’s hand and lead them to Your throne—so they can have their own relationship with You. Here they are. I pray they want more of You publicly and privately.

 

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“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them for Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Matthew 5:5-8

 

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Ephesians 6:18-20

 

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Prayer Prompt-
Lord, help me spend more time with You in private and public prayer…

Heavenly Father,

Even though I was young, when I first heard Martin Luther King’s dream of all Your children playing and living together someday in peace, I knew this is how You want it to be. It sounded perfect, but like many dreams, it takes a lot blood, sweat and tears for it to come true. It often takes someone’s earthly life like it did Dr. King’s. In my lifetime, I have seen huge advances toward that dream becoming reality…and yet I don’t know that it will be fully realized in our present earthly lives. Our sinful nature finds too many reasons to prejudge by one another’s appearance, to be divided, and even to hate for the smallest differences.

Lord, You spell out Your own dream (actually a promise) in the last book of the Bible in Revelation 7:9—”After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” You gave us a glimpse into the new heaven and new earth where all Your people are praising You in one voice—with one spirit—in one love. Jesus was willing to give up His life for our oneness with Him and with You, Lord.

Our love for You, as we more fully realize Your love for us, will spill over for love for one another. Oh Lord, how I long for that day! Just when I think I am making headway towards this fullness of love, You expose some way I still let something divide my love for others. Lord, Your love is pure, holy, perfect, all-encompassing—even for those who disrespect the very One who gives them everything—the very One who sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us while we were full of sin. There is no greater love!

Father, I will not be able to end hate, prejudice, racial or other types of divisions here on earth, but I surely can let Your love rule in me. Here I am, Lord, will You continue to create in me a clean heart that loves the unworthy, those who hate me, those who hurt my loved ones, those who misjudge me, those who sin against You. Let my heart and spirit be one with You because of Jesus…and let me give others a glimpse of all Your people praising You in the white robes that only Jesus gives us as we acknowledge Him as our personal Lord and Savior.

 

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“And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9

 

“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.’” Acts 10:34-36

 

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, use me to help bring Your dream/promise of oneness of Your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven…

Most Glorious Father,
How I love my quiet time with You. There can be sparks of war, reports of violence near and far, deaths of loved ones, misunderstandings, relationships divided or under attack, threats of bad health or uncertainty of finance…but when I come to You to simply be in Your presence, it all melts away in Your glory and peace. There are times, the attacks of bad news and the veil of darkness are so palpable that I have to fight my way to my sweet spot in You. But You are always there waiting for me to come. When I find my way to You through Jesus, I find all I need in You. Your quiet peace is so much more powerful than all the noise the blustery bullying that evil makes. Here I come once again to You, Lord!

You are and ever will be victorious over anything this world and darkness throws at us. All we have to do is be still and know that You are God! Father, You are fully aware of how weak we are, how vulnerable we are to the threats and attacks. How I thank You for all I have been through which has taught me over and over again, to come to You through Jesus Christ. Some days I just breathe and remain in You all day. Other times, the struggle is real and the attacks come from all directions trying to keep me from You.

Some days, it appears I have to fight to get to my sweet spot in You. At least that’s what the enemy wants me to think—that the battle is too big; that Your silence means You are gone—but You never leave me, Lord. I just need to place my focus, my hope, my life on You and Your presence once again. The best way I have found to fight my way to You is to be still, to praise You, to remember who You are, to seek You with all my heart, mind and strength—the Lord God who is over me and all that is. You are the One who commands heaven and earth. You are the One who loves me more than anyone else possibly could. You are the One who restores my soul, fills me with Your Holy Spirit, uses little ole me to defeat giants. You are the One who refreshes me in Your sweet presence even here on earth and who promises an eternal sweet spot with You that I will never have to leave! It seems a little silly to call You my sweet spot, Lord- I am but a beloved little speck in the vastness of Your Holy Presence! There is plenty of room in Your Holy Sweet spot for every beloved little speck You’ve created!

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“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” Psalm 46:10

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father God, help me turn to You and find You….

Heavenly Father,
On the last day of 1999, when most people thought the world might end when it turned midnight and started a new century, my family filled a time capsule. It was actually a large empty popcorn tin. My husband and I and four of our children from ages 9-14 filled out a questionnaire and placed a memento in that capsule that we all agreed to open in twenty years. We actually opened it on Christmas day this year since that was when we were all together at the same timer. What a fun and enlightening experience we had opening that time capsule for the first time in two decades.

The questions we each answered 20 years ago included: “What I think will happen in the next hundred years, What I hope to accomplish in the next 10 years, My greatest prayer for my family and friends, Note to my future children or spouse…” It was remarkable to see these letters written by children and read by the same people as adults! What a joy to see how many things had come true (except maybe the prediction of playing Major League Baseball and having a dream room with his three brothers still in the same room sharing bunkbeds!) It was like we all slipped back in time!

Memories are a powerful thing. They become a part of us and help make us who we are. It is good to look back at memories (even the painful ones at times) because we can see how far we’ve come and how love lives forever. Yet we are not created to live in the past. You made us to live fully in the right now- with an eye always on our final goal—our finish line—our eternal Home with You!

Father, as another year changes on the calendar, I thank You that I can see You have always been with me—through every moment of my life—that You have a Home waiting for me that goes far beyond what I can ever imagine where there will be no more time constraints…Most of all, I thank You that I know You are with me now and are always will be. I can rest in that assurance. I can count on You to not change or leave. Let this old year end and a new year begin- I LOVE living with You right now in this moment and forevermore through Jesus Christ!!

 

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“For he says, ‘In this time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2

“You are my hiding place (my time capsule); You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7

“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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Prayer Prompt-
Father, Give me eternal life through Jesus to live with You right now and forever…

Heavenly Father,
I received a message from someone who was sad. Because of their current situation they could give no Christmas gifts this year as they had delighted to do in the past. Though my heart goes out to them, I know from experience that these are the times we learn our relationships are what is most important. Then this morning, as I sat alone in Your presence, I realized how very impoverished I am without You, Lord. You give me life, breath, people to love, shelter, comfort…everything I have and need is from You. I am absolutely destitute without You. I wouldn’t even exist if not for You. You lavish love gifts upon me continually…and sadly, I take most of them for granted. What can I possibly give to You who owns everything? Yet there is something…

 

Father, it was Your idea to create us with our own free will. We have a choice to accept the fact that You reign above all…that You created us…that we have sinned against You through our rebellion, neglect, disbelief, denial, disrespect…that we need You…that we are not complete without You…that we cannot have the close loving relationship with You–that You created us to have without Your help…that we cannot earn Your love…that we cannot even breathe without Your assistance…that we cannot get clean enough or holy enough to come into Your presence without Your cleansing mercy from the blood of Jesus…Oh Lord, I am so poor in spirit. There is only one thing that You do not have which I can give. I’m the only one who can give it. I’m the only one who has it, and You gave me that, as well—my will.

 

So here I am once more, holding my feeble will before You. I don’t know why You would want such an ugly obstinate thing. It has led me down wrong paths, hurt me and others, blinded my eyes to You and my life with You… Yet this awful will of mine—the only thing I truly have to give You—like everything else transforms into something incredibly beautiful when it is freely given to You. My will becomes Your will! I am able to come freely without any shame into Your presence and bask in Your glory! My eyes are opened to the vast riches You bestow upon me! My heart is overcome with love that goes way beyond my own capacity. I have overflowing joy no matter what my circumstances are. I am finally at peace because I am one with You and You with me! My will surrenders to Your will. I am only able to do this because of Jesus Christ, who gave up His own will and chose to die on the cross for my sin, so I can live now and forevermore with You! I am no longer poor but rich indeed! All because of my relationship with You through Jesus Christ! Here is my will freely given to You, Lord!

 

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Jesus said in Mark 8:34-37: “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me and the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

 

Jesus giving up His will in Gethsemane before the cross: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39

 

Jesus told us we should pray like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done…” Matthew 6:9-10

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, I’m sorry I have been so stubborn…here is my will…

Most Holy Father,
Almost twenty-seven years ago, my first husband died in my arms and was later “brought back.” That was a year before he passed and didn’t come back—when he finally went to his eternal home with You! This young man who was a gifted writer of songs, poems, and novels was at a loss for words when it came to describing heaven where he got a sneak preview. I was so hungry to know every detail—and all he could say was, “I never knew God gave so much when he gave His Son!”

I have pondered those words in my heart all these years and have asked You to show me something new about Your Son Jesus every Christmas and Easter season since. It seems there is no end to who He is…
JESUS is Your Son and yet He is in You and You are in Him! He does nothing without You. (John 10:30)
JESUS was with You in the beginning before all things were created. He brought life. (John 1:1-5)
JESUS was declared victor over sin by You from the beginning! (Genesis 3:15)
JESUS was hoped for all through the history of the Old Testament and the world. (Psalm 2:6-7)
JESUS came in Your fullness to be born as one of us in the humblest way to a simple peasant girl. (Luke 1:26-38)
JESUS came to bring peace between You and all who accept Him. (Luke 2:14)
JESUS was in spiritual warfare all his life (from Herod killing hundreds of baby boys- to leaders declaring him guilty and placing Him on a cross. (Matthew 2:13-18, 27:45-54)
JESUS willingly died on the Cross for us. (John 18:4-9; Matthew 26:50-54)
JESUS paid the price of our sin and overcame death because we cannot. (John 3:16-18)
JESUS died so we could live! (John 17:1-5)
JESUS lives in us when we are willing to die to ourselves. (John 17:25)
JESUS never leaves us alone. (Matthew 28:20)
JESUS prays for us now at Your right-hand, God, with the authority You have given Him! (Romans 8:34)
JESUS helps us personally overcome when we make Him our King! (John 16:33)
JESUS is always making us new along with our situations. (Revelation 21:5)
JESUS is preparing a new home for us and will come bring us there. (John 14:1-4)
JESUS is what life is all about! (John 14:6-7)

JESUS:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:6-11)

Most Holy Father,

Can I dare say that I have identified with Mary many times in my life? Some may think that’s outrageous for me to say, but I know You know my heart, Lord…and I think that may be something that pleases You. In fact, maybe we all should expect Jesus like Mary did…

Mary was an ordinary peasant girl (like me) just going about her daily life when You sent the angel Gabriel to tell her she would give birth to Your Son. At first, she was frightened (as I can understand—fearing something in the spiritual realm as seen). Though Mary knew it seemed impossible to conceive a baby (let alone Your Son), she accepted the news and had faith it would happen because You sent Your word.

Very quickly, before telling anyone, before it even seemed real—she hurried to visit her cousin Elizabeth who lived in another town. The angel told Mary that Elizabeth was also going to have a baby very soon though they had no contact. When Mary greeted her cousin, the baby inside Elizabeth (John the Baptist who was to prepare the way for the Lord) leaped for joy (recognizing even in the womb that his Lord was there!) This is how I feel when You affirm a promise to me when I see no evidence yet! I certainly identify with Mary’s rejoicing praise in You. Do my little-fumbling-words-yet-heartfelt-praises stand for eternity as well?

Mary had to face many hardships from her own people- the initial abandonment from her Joseph, friends and family’s gossip and judgement, (yet You sent Joseph back to help her and he most certainly did), the long dangerous journey to Bethlehem, no place open to go through the labor of birth, the humbleness of giving birth to the Son of the Most High in the very lowest of places.

Father, I know what it is like to do what is utterly impossible for me to do on my own —to have Your Son be born in me, for my whole life to be changed from whatever little insignificant plans I might have had—to know the intimate blessing of His Spirit alive and moving in me—to know the pain yet immensely greater joy of carrying Jesus and sharing Your Son with anyone who is ready and willing to accept Your Son. Father, may we all be willing to be like Mary, and let Jesus grow and be glorified in our lives. In fact, let us go through this day expecting Jesus and watching Him move and live!

 

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“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.’ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’
The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.’
‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ Then the angel left her.”

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord God, I am ready and willing to have Jesus born in me and carry him to the world…