Bible Verses and a Prayer for Thanksgiving

  • 1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV
    Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
        his love endures forever.
  • 1 Chronicles 29:13 NASB
     Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name.
  • Psalm 7:17 NIVI will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
        I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
  • Psalm 9:1 NASB
    I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart;thanks1
    I will tell of all Your wonders.
  • Psalm 28:7 NASB
    The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
    Therefore my heart exults,
    And with my song I shall thank Him.
  • Psalm 30:12 NASB
    That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
  • Psalm 69:30 NASB
    I will praise the name of God with song
    And magnify Him with thanksgiving.
  • Psalm 75:1 NASB
    We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks,
    For Your name is near;
    Men declare Your wondrous works.
  • Psalm 86:12 NASB
    I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
    And will glorify Your name forever
  • Psalm 95:2-3 (NIV)
    Let us come before him with thanksgivingthanks2

        and extol him with music and song.
    For the Lord is the great God,
        the great King above all gods.
  • Psalm 100:4 NIV
    Enter his gates with thanksgiving
        and his courts with praise;
        give thanks to him and praise his name.
  • Psalm 105:1 NASB
    Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name;
    Make known His deeds among the peoples.
  • Psalm 106:1 NIV
    Praise the Lord.
    Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
        his love endures forever.
  • Psalm 107:1 NASB
    Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
    For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
  • Isaiah 12:4 ESV
    And you will say in that day:thanks4
    “Give thanks to the Lord,
        call upon his name,
    make known his deeds among the peoples,
    proclaim that his name is exalted.
  • Jeremiah 33:11 ESV
    the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord:“‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts,   for the Lord is good,
        for his steadfast love endures forever!’
    For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:4-5 NIV
    I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—
  • 2 Corinthians 4:15 NIV
    All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 
  • 2 Corinthians 9:11-12 NIV
    You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:15 NASBthanks8
     Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
  • Ephesians 1:15-16 NIV
    For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people,  I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
  • Ephesians 5:20 NASB
    always giving thanks for all thingsin the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
  • Philippians 4:6 NASB
    Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
  • Colossians 2:6-7 ESV
     Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,  rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
  • Colossians 3:15-17 NASB
     Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanksthrough Him to God the Father.
  • Colossians 4:2 NASB
    Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB
     in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
  • 1 Timothy 4:4-5 NIV
    For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,  because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.thanks7
  • Philemon 1:4 NASB
    thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers
  • Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV
     Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,  for our God is a consuming fire.

 

 

thanksgiving-prayer

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee

“Lord, we consecrate this trip.”

This is what I prayed over my daughter  as  we sat side by side in the airplane.  It was her first time flying. I’m not a flight expert by any means, but I still  explained every step of the process from security checks to  boarding to  seatbelts and the runway as if I knew exactly what was  happening.

She still  didn’t really know what  to  expect,  so when the plane picked up  speed and the engine roared, she glanced at me for a reassurance that  this was  normal.  And then we lifted off the ground and she gave  me one shocked look of, “are we living through this?”

I  squeezed her hand and reminded her not  to fear, but to marvel, nudged at her to enjoy the awe and the wonder of it.

With the initial take-off over with,  we put aside the nerves. She settled into her book  and I settled into mine.  We were beginning an adventure, heading with other students and her teachers  to a competition in a state we’ve never before visited.

My prayers started out tentative and nervous.  What to pray?   Not that she wins.  That’s  not it.

I prayed for peace and strength and favor.

As we flew, though, I read these reminders from John Eldgredge in his  book  on prayer called Moving Mountains, about consecrating ourselves for God’s work and for His Kingdom purposes.

Consecrate.  I know the definition.  Make holy.  Make sacred.  Dedicate to  God.

We sing it, don’t we? We sing, “Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to Thee.”

I  consider what this means, though.  What  is it I’ve been singing all these years  in one of my favorite hymns?  Do I know what I’m singing?   Do I mean it?

John Eldgredge writes:

“the act of consecration is….the fresh act of dedicating yourself…or whatever needs God’s grace–deliberately and  intentionally to Jesus,  bringing it  fully into His kingdom and under his rule.”

The night before, I’d read it in my Bible reading, how the nation of  Israel  gathered to dedicate Solomon’s temple and how Solomon prayed for God to  direct them, to answer prayer, to  be present, to forgive, to lead, to guide, to inhabit this physical building with the fullness of His spiritual  presence.

They set it apart.  They made it  holy, all the stones  and the wood and the linen made sacred,  not because they were sacred materials,  but because they were dedicated and anointed for God’s purposes.

Solomon prayed  over the people:

And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands… (1 Kings 8:61).

In Scripture, we see it elsewhere.  Joshua told the nation:

“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” (Joshua 3:5 ESV).

And the priests were instructed:

Also let the priests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them (Exodus 19:22 ESV).

In the Old Testament, they anointed priests.  In the New Testament,  they anointed apostles and evangelists.  As the church gathered in Antioch, praying and fasting,  the Holy Spirit called out Barnabas and Saul for a special  work.  Scripture says,

Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.  So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went” (Acts 13:3-4)

John Eldredge writes:

First ,  they consecrated themselves.  Meaning,  they dedicated themselves afresh to  God.”

So, I’m on an airplane with my daughter at the start of an adventure, and as we fly I read these reminders about consecration.  I consider what I most want here.

May my daughter see God at work and may others see God at work  through her.  May this whole journey be a part  of God’s plans for her; His hand deeply molding and preparing her for the future.  We dedicate this trip to you and set it aside for your Kingdom purposes.

That’s consecration.

It’s a prayer that feels truly fitting for  any new season or endeavor.

For this opportunity…for this new ministry…for our marriage…for a new baby….for our new house… for this job or this project…for the start of this summer….for the beginning of a new school year….for this trip.

We give this over to the Lord.  May it  be sacred and holy,  God at work, God present, God-directed, God-glorifying.  Amen and amen.

Bible Verses About Praying for Children

  • Deuteronomy 4:9 ESV
     “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—
  • Deuteronomy 6:6-9 ESV
    And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
  • Judges 13:8 ESV
    Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.”
  • 1 Samuel 1:27 NIV
    I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.
  • Isaiah 38:19 ESV
    The living, the living, he thanks you,
    as I do this day;
    the father makes known to the children
    your faithfulness.
  • Isaiah 54:13 NIV
    All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.
  • Lamentations 2:19
    “Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children”

Other resources to help you pray for your children:

Bible Verses on Prayer

  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV
    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 heal their land.
  • Psalm 4:1 ESV
    Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
        You have given me relief when I was in distress.
        Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
  • Psalm 5:1-3 NKJV
    Give ear to my words, O Lord,
    Consider my meditation.
    Give heed to the voice of my cry,
    My King and my God,
    For to You I will pray.
    My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord;
    In the morning I will direct it to You,
    And I will look up.
  • Psalm 6:9 NKJV
    The Lord has heard my supplication;
    The Lord will receive my prayer.
  • Psalm 17:1 NKJV
    Hear a just cause, O Lord,
    Attend to my cry;
    Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.
  • Psalm 42:8 NKJV
    The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
    And in the night His song shall be with me—
    A prayer to the God of my life.
  • Psalm 54:2 NKJV
    Hear my prayer, O God;
    Give ear to the words of my mouth.
  • Psalm 55:1 NKJV
    Give ear to my prayer, O God,
    And do not hide Yourself from my supplication.
  • Psalm 55:17 NKJV
    Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.
  • Psalm 61:1 NKJV
    Hear my cry, O God;
    Attend to my prayer.
  • Psalm 66:19-20 NKJV
    But certainly God has heard me;
    He has attended to the voice of my prayer.
    20 Blessed be God,
    Who has not turned away my prayer,
    Nor His mercy from me!
  • Psalm 69:13 NKJV
    But as for me, my prayer is to You,
    Lordin the acceptable time;
    O God, in the multitude of Your mercy,
    Hear me in the truth of Your salvation.
  • Psalm 84:8 NKJV
    Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
    Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
  • Psalm 86:6-7 NKJV
    Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
    And attend to the voice of my supplications.
    In the day of my trouble I will call upon You,
    For You will answer me.
  • Psalm 88:2 NKJV
    Let my prayer come before You;
    Incline Your ear to my cry.
  • Psalm 88:13 NKJV
    But to You I have cried out, O Lord, And in the morning my prayer comes before You.
  • Psalm 102:1-2, 17
    Hear my prayer, O Lord,
    And let my cry come to You.
    Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble;
    Incline Your ear to me;
    In the day that I call, answer me speedily.
    He shall regard the prayer of the destitute,
    And shall not despise their prayer.
  • Psalm 109:4 NKJV
    In return for my love they are my accusers, But I give myself to prayer.
  • Psalm 122:6 NKJV
    Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.
  • Psalm 141:2 NKJV
    Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
    The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
  • Psalm 143:1 NKJV
    Hear my prayer, O Lord,
    Give ear to my supplications!
    In Your faithfulness answer me,
    And in Your righteousness.
  • Proverbs 15:29 ESV
    The Lord is far from the wicked,
        but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
  • Jeremiah 29:12 ESV
    Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
  • Matthew 6:6 ESV
    But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
  • Matthew 6:9-13 ESV
    Pray then like this:

    “Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.[a]
    10 Your kingdom come,
    your will be done,[b]
        on earth as it is in heaven.
    11 Give us this day our daily bread,[c]
    12 and forgive us our debts,
        as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    13 And lead us not into temptation,
        but deliver us from evil.

  • Matthew 18:20 ESV
    For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
  • Matthew 26:41 NKJV
    Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
  • Mark 11:17 NKJV
    Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”
  • Mark 11:24 ESV
    Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
  • Luke 6:12 ESV
    In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.
  • Luke 6:27-28 ESV
    But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
  • Luke 18:1 ESV
    And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
  • Romans 8:26 ESV
     Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
  • Romans 12:12 ESV
    Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
  • Acts 1:14 ESV
    All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:11 ESV
     You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
  • Ephesians 6:18 ESV
    praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints
  • Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
    do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Colossians 4:2 ESV
     Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
    Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
  • 1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV
    First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
  • 1 Timothy 2:8 ESV
    I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling
  • Hebrews 4:16 ESV
    Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
  • Hebrews 13:18 NKJV
    Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.
  • James 5:16 ESV
    Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another,that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
  • 1 Peter 3:12 NKJV
    For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to theirprayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
  • 1 Peter 4:7 ESV
    The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
  • 1 John 5:14 ESV
    And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
  • Jude 1:20-21 NKJV
    But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
  • Revelation 5:8 NKJV
    Worthy Is the Lamb ] Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
  • Revelation 8:4 NKJV
    And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.

Learning how to pray globally as a family

“I’ll pray for Luther!”

That’s my son, the  little echo at our nighttime family prayer sessions.

It’s missionary prayer night and we’ve pulled up a list of prayer requests from missionary kids around the world.

As I read each request, I assign my kids to pray.

“Catherine, you can pray for Luther,” I say.

This is when my four-year-old stakes his claim.  “I want to pray for Luther, too!”

He hops in like this with our every request.

Pray for these missionaries.  “I want to pray for the missionaries!”

Pray for Nicaragua.  “I want to  pray for Nicaragua!”

Pray for Nepal.  “I want to pray for Nepal!”

And when he bows his little head and asks God to “please help Nepal,” I pray also that God receives the precious gift of small prayers for a big need.

I am imperfect at this as a mom, growing and learning but certainly not there yet when it comes to teaching my kids that the world is so much bigger than us, so much bigger than middle school problems and playground drama.

I want them to consider others, to keep perspective, and to see  a world that needs Jesus.

So, I’m learning mostly from other moms about ways to teach my kids to think internationally and to pray mission-ally for the world.

Here are some of the tools I’ve found.  If you have a resource to  share,  please comment below!  I’d love to find new ways to pray for the world as a family,

    • The IMB Pray app:

      You can visit the prayer page for the Southern Baptist International Mission Board  here and view daily prayer requests from around the world.  But, we personally love to use the IMB Pray app on my phone.   Once a week during our family devotions, I open up the “Pray with Missionary Kids” section on the app and we read through their prayer requests.  It’s great for my children to connect that missionary kids are real kids close to  their own age who need God’s help with making friends, learning languages, being away from home, and moving away from family.

    • Operation World:

      My friend introduced  me to this definitive global prayer handbook and I fell in love.  We use the book, Operation World, a few times a month as a family.  It includes a prayer calendar in the front of the book that shows you what country you can pray for on a particular  day.  If we read every detail in this encyclopedic book, it would be completely overwhelming.   But, we go over the basics with the kids.  We open up our world map and find the country, we read a little about its history and current struggles and then choose a few prayer requests to focus on as a family.
      Operation World also released an abridged version of their prayer guide so it’s  a little less overwhelming, called Pray for the World.

      They also list some helpful prayer resources on their website, including their prayer calendar: http://www.operationworld.org/country-lists 

    • Pray for your sponsored children:

      I’ve found that it’s so easy to let Compassion or World Vision automatically withdrawal  money from my bank account each month without actively engaging in prayer or relationship with our sponsored children.  Whenever we receive an update on a sponsored child or a letter….or when we remember to write letters around holidays and birthdays,  we also take time to pray for that child at night before bed.  We ask  God specifically to help them know Jesus, help their family, help them overcome poverty,  help them make good choices,  and help them in school  and with career choices.

    • When you pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, be sure to pray over it!

      We love packing shoeboxes full of toys, school supplies and hygiene items and sending them via Operation Christmas Child to needy children around the world . Collection week is in mid-November each year.   Before we carry those boxes into the collection site,  we take a few moments to pray over the children who will receive them.  When we use the tracking labels via Samaritan’s Purse, we also receive an email after a few months telling us where our shoeboxes were delivered.  That’s another great opportunity to learn about those countries, pull out our map, and pray for the people who live there.

Click here to find out how to pack a shoebox.

Or Click Here to visit the Operation Christmas Child website.

  • Kids on Mission

    The Kids on Mission website (run by the Southern Baptist International Mission Board) offers resources on different countries that can be plugged into any children’s curriculum, but can also be adapted by families to use at home.  Each unit includes activities like  a map, a video, a theme verse, a  game and/or photos of the country.

  • The Compassion Experience:

    If you hear that The Compassion Experience is coming to a nearby city/town, please go!  Take your kids and just go!  It’s an amazing event for families where you can walk through replicas of African ghettos or slums in Ecuador and the like and see how child sponsorship can changes the lives of kids, their families, and their whole communities.  In this walk-through tour, each family member wears headphones and hears the narrative from the perspective of one particular child.   They even have child-sensitive head sets for younger children in case some of the events are too intense for them.  It is an eye-opening experience full of impact that made child sponsorship and praying for those in poverty more real and tangible than anything we’ve ever done as a family.

 

Praying with a Penny Cup

The penny plinked into the cup and I walked away.

It was such a simple thing.  The penny pressed into the palm of my hand and then a quick release, a letting go, and I was done.

Before my penny cup, I thought that I was just persevering in prayer like Jesus told His disciples to do in Luke 18.

There was the widow who came before the unfair judge day after day to demand justice, and finally he gave in because he was annoyed and tired of hearing her complain about it.

There was the neighbor awakened in the middle of the night by obnoxious and persistent knocking at his front door.  He finally opened up the door and stood there in his pajamas listening to his neighbor’s plight—an unexpected guest, no bread in the house, could he share?  Yes!  Take it!  Take anything as long as you stop that knocking, knocking, knocking so I can get some sleep already.

So, Jesus tells us, if an unrighteous judge and a sleep-deprived neighbor gave into requests just because of tenacity, wouldn’t God who loves us respond when we pray and pray and pray and don’t give up praying?

Don’t stop praying.  Even when you’re weary and exhausted and hopeless and think it doesn’t do a bit of good, keep pushing and pushing on in prayer.

But my idea of persevering in prayer wasn’t really prayer any more.  It was more like fretting in front of God’s throne and worrying about a problem before a divine audience.

All night long, I mentally paced in prayer: Lord, here’s my problem and here’s what I need You to do to fix it.  

I plead and argued and orated and then when I’d run out of things to say, I started all over again.

Hour after hour ticked by on my bedside clock and still I continued.

God loves when we pray. We can bring anything and everything to Him in prayer and He never tires of hearing us and never turns us away.

But I never released my need to Him.  I was talking at Him without ever letting go or pausing for even a second to listen or be still.

I was wallowing in anxiety and putting a holy ‘stamp of approval’ on it by calling it prayer.

John wrote:

 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for (1 JOhn 5:14-15 HCSB).

I was praying as if He couldn’t hear me.

….as if my will mattered more than His will.

….as if only my solution to the problem was acceptable.

….as if He wasn’t sovereign or compassionate—wasn’t able or didn’t care to rescue me.

… as if He was against me instead of for me.1 john 5

It was a prayer of unbelief.

Then, I read the idea in a discipleship magazine: a penny cup.

It’s not the cup that mattered or even the penny.  Writing a prayer on a slip of paper and slipping it into a prayer box would do just as well.

What matters is a physical reminder to release my white-knuckled grip on my problem and give it over to the God who loves me so.

Every time I  found a wayward penny on a dresser or on the floor, I picked it up and prayed with a quick whisper, “Lord, please take care of this need.  I trust You to deliver me.” Then I released the prayer to Him as I dropped the coin into my penny cup.

I didn’t tell Him how to fix the problem.  I didn’t wrestle with Him for hours every night over the need.

I prayed day in and day out (you’d be surprised how many pennies you find when they become part of your prayer life), but always I gave the problem to Him instead of holding onto it myself.

When the penny cup filled to the brim, I poured out the coins and started again.  For years, I prayed about this one issue, giving it over to God one…..penny….. at….. a….. time.

For the first time, I really prayed.  I didn’t fret and argue and run endless circles of desperate pleading around God.

I persisted in prayer by expressing my need while leaving the solution in His hands.

And God rescued me.  Not in the way I expected.  Not in the timing I expected.  Not without hardship and hurting or obedience or faith in the hard places.  But the deliverance was miraculous and beautiful and perfect in the way only God’s deliverance can be.

Originally published 02/11/2015

7 Prayers for your Home and Family

Hello friends!  I’m hanging up  a little sign here on the blog for the next week:

I’m hoping to catch some rest and fun with my kids while we have a little break from school and some of our normal activities.  While I’m away, I’m sharing this prayer post from last year.

I’ll also be posting the Scriptures and prayers below as daily reminders to pray over on my Facebook author page all next week.  You can join me there and pray with me each day!


It’s usually when I watch my children sleep.

Or when my tired infant son finally relaxes his on-the-go muscles and snuggles into me as I sway next to his crib.

That’s when I pray it.  Like a whispered prayer, one you can’t find all the words for, not when your heart is so full (or you are so sleep-deprived).  But it’s passionate and desperate:

Help me do this, Lord!  Help me be the wife and mom You want me to be and that they need me to be.

I need some ways to cover our home and family in prayer so that I can commit this all to Him and seek His help every day.

So, here they are:  Seven Prayers for Your Home and Family.  These are the verses I pray and the requests I make.  What about you?  Please comment with your own verses and prayers.

  • SALVATION

    • Prayer:

      God, help us to keep this as our focus and never lose sight of the most important gift and responsibility you have given us—the salvation of our family.  It’s easy to get caught up in worldly standards of success and measures of our worth, especially as parents.  But honor rolls, scholarships, awards, and accolades don’t mean anything compared to salvation in Jesus Christ.  Our greatest joy would be to see our children ‘walking in the truth.’ We pray that every member of our family will choose a personal, real, abiding, and powerful relationship with our Savior and that we will ask Him to reign over our lives both as a family and as individuals.

    • Scripture verses:

 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord(Joshua 24:15 NIV).

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved (Romans 10:9-10 NIV)

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth (3 John 1:4)

  • PEACE

    • Prayer:

      Lord, may our homes be havens of peace. The world around us can be stressful and high-pressured.  We may be surrounded by conflict, battles, and oppression outside this home, but we pray that inside these walls, You will bring peace.  Help us to rest in You.  Help us communicate with grace, offer love and support, and speak in love.  Even in the stressful rush of the mornings as we head out the door to school, work, church and other activities, may we breathe deeply and choose peace, gentleness, and kindness with one another.

    • Scripture Verses:

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

       “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV).

  • A GODLY LEGACY

    • Prayer:

      No matter what our faith background up to this point, we pray for a heritage of faith, godliness, righteousness, salvation, and a passion for Your Word and for the Gospel.  Help us to take the time to teach our children truth.  We don’t want to ever be so busy that we neglect to teach our children about You.  Give us the right words to say and guide our discussions with our children.  May our children choose to marry strong Christians and raise their own children in Your Word.  Where we have gone astray, we pray for grace and new opportunities.  For our adult children and our grandchildren, we ask that You will turn their hearts and minds to You even now.

    • Scripture Verses:

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it  (Proverbs 22:6 ESV).

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV)

  • UNITY AND LOVE

    • Prayer:

      Father, help us to remember that we are not just individuals out to achieve our own agendas.  You have joined us together as a family; unite our hearts in love.  Remind us that we are stronger together.  Show us how to love each other sacrificially, graciously, and generously every day.  May we serve each other, performing even the smallest acts of kindness for one another without complaint or score-keeping.  We ask that our love for one another reflect Christ’s sacrificial and unconditional love so that others will look at our home and our family, and see You.  Let our love for one another draw others to know your love for them.

    • Scripture Verses

      Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7 ESV). By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35 ESV).

      Two are better than one,
          because they have a good return for their labor:
      10 If either of them falls down,
          one can help the other up.
      But pity anyone who falls
          and has no one to help them up.
      11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
          But how can one keep warm alone?
      12 Though one may be overpowered,
          two can defend themselves.
      A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV).

  • STEWARDSHIP

    • Prayer:

      Father, You know our needs.  We lay them at Your feet and ask for Your provision.  We trust in You as our Provider.  Lord, we ask for blessing, not so that we can stash it away, or indulge our own material desires.  We don’t need the biggest house or the flashiest car or the most expensive clothes.  We ask for blessing so that we may bless others.  May we be good stewards of what You have given so that we can give it away to support missions and to care for others in need.  Please open our eyes to the needs of others around us and help us to give quickly and give generously.

    • Scripture Verses:

      And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19 ESV)

      The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor (Proverbs 22:9 NIV).

  • PURITY

    • Prayer:

      God, it is so easy to fall into the pitfalls and traps of sin and temptation.  We are surrounded by what is wrong.  Help us choose what is right.  Give us strength to be vigilant about protecting the influences inside of our home, and when possible, outside of it, as well.  Holy Spirit, prompt our hearts when we need to walk away, when we need to stop listening, stop reading, stop watching…..and help us fill our minds and hearts only with what is good, true, righteous, and pure.  May we be set apart for You, living in this world, but not of it.

    • Scripture Verses:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8 ESV).

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers (Psalm 1:1-6 ESV).

  • LAUGHTER AND JOY

    • Prayer:

      Lord, we know that there will be hard times, but we pray that You will continually stir our hearts to joy.  Let our home be a place of laughter.  Open our eyes to see reasons to rejoice, stories to share, jokes to tell, and smiles to give one another.  Make our home a place of rejoicing.

    • Scripture Verses:


      A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17:22 ESV)

      Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them” (Psalm 125:2 ESV).

      Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! (Psalm 32:11 ESV)

      IF YOU WOULD LIKE A PRINTOUT OF THESE PRAYERS TO PLACE IN YOUR BIBLE OR JOURNAL OR MAYBE ON YOUR FRIDGE OR BATHROOM MIRROR, YOU CAN CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE PRINTABLE!

      YOU CAN ALSO CHECK OUT 12 VERSES TO PRAY FOR YOUR HUSBAND AND 14 DAYS OF PRAYER FOR YOUR MARRIAGE WITH 1 CORINTHIANS 13 FOR OTHER WAYS TO BE IN PRAYER FOR YOUR FAMILY.

      Originally published february 17, 2016

How my prayers shifted and why that’s a good thing

We started praying on Sunday.   In our round-robin family prayers at night, many of us chimed in with the same prayer:

“Lord Jesus, please help everyone who is sick feel better quickly and please, please, please, please do not let Lauren get sick this week.  Amen.”

The stomach virus rampaged through our family last week, making mockery of our schedule and activities.

But we prayed it would miss Lauren by leapfrogging over this middle daughter.

 

Not that we wanted anyone to get sick, of course, but Lauren had a big week.

Class picture day on Tuesday.

Field trip on Wednesday.

Math Bowl competition on Thursday.

Karate belt test on Saturday.

One upset stomach could sabotage any of these activities, so we prayed she would just stay well.

And then my prayers changed, shifted in one gigantic, mountainous move.

Because she got sick.  She woke me up in the middle of the night and we ultimately retreated to the couches in the living room until she felt she could sleep.

That’s when I started praying for something different, not “Lord, help her avoid this tough situation.  Help her not to be uncomfortable, disappointed, or hurt.”

Now I prayed,  “Lord, help her right in the middle of what’s hard.  This is disappointing.  Help her to overcome.  Work on her character and teach her how to handle it when life doesn’t go the way we want.”

She missed the Math Bowl competition after working hard for weeks to prepare, and she felt like she let her team down.

But at the end of the night when she was feeling totally back to normal and it was all over and done with, I leaned down and cupped my hand under her chin,  I told her I couldn’t have been more proud of how she handled the hard, more proud than I could have been about any math medal.

God answered my prayers.

He didn’t give me what I wanted.  He didn’t help my child avoid something I would have preferred to skip altogether.

But He did a work in her heart, matured her right before my eyes, and taught her deeply meaningful lessons that matter far more in the end.

We’re still a little sad, but we found ourselves surprisingly okay.  We walked through the one thing we didn’t want to happen, and we made it.

God is good.

It’s a little nudge to my Mom-heart this week that maybe my prayers should remain shifted.

Maybe I’ll always pray for my kids to be protected from hurt and that everything would work out all the time.  I am, after all, their mom and I love them.

And a life with no pain or heartache, no disappointment or difficulty sounds pretty great.

But it also sounds spoiled and easy.  It sounds too sweet, like eating a bowlful of candy and ending up sick and with a mouth full of cavities.

God knows best for my kids and I can trust Him.  I can pray that He helps them through, gives them strength, teaches them to turn to Him, bringing their hurts and needs to Jesus.

And God knows best for me, too, and for the friends I pray for, the family I love, and the missionaries and the persecuted church I want to cover in prayer.

I read Paul’s prayer for the church in Ephesus:

 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might (Ephesians 1:16-19 ESV).

He could have prayed  so many things for this beloved church, that they escape persecution, that they prosper financially, that their businesses were successful and their families strong.

But He didn’t focus on their physical needs or wants.  He prayed that they know Jesus, know the hope they had in him  and know his power.

What if I started praying that for myself and for others?

Lord, may they know you.  

In anything they face, anything they go through, when they are facing the worst or receiving the best, may they know Jesus more and find Him so very faithful and so very strong.

May we always make knowing Him our deepest desire and our greatest pursuit.

14 Days of Prayer for Your Marriage with 1 Corinthians 13

prayer for marriage

When I was a girl earning my badges in the kids’ program in my home church, I had to memorize the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 in the King James Version. It’s stuck.  I can still rattle off bunches of it.

But I hope it really stuck…you know?  Not the rote memorization, but the revelation of what love is.  God loves us this way.  And He says even if we’re performing the most outrageous acts of self-sacrifice and service and we’re not doing it out of love, then it’s just meaningless drivel.

So, I’m praying for the next two weeks through this “Love Chapter” for my marriage because I want it to be meaning-full and I want it to reflect God’s love to the world around us.  Perhaps you will be praying for your own marriage, too?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Cor. 13:4-8 NIV).

Day One, Love is Patient: 

Lord, today let us respond with patience and show each other grace.  We know that no one changes over night and none of us is perfect.  We make mistakes.  We forget, we grow careless, and we become distracted by life and stress.  Please let us be patient with each other, with our marriage, with our circumstances, just as you are so patient with us.  Help us not to push, nudge, or give up on each other, but instead may we give each other room and grace to grow more like You.

Day Two, Love is Kind:

God, it’s too easy to forget the simple beauty of kindness.  We can neglect courtesy and consideration.  Help us to be thoughtful and kind to one another, showing each other respect and attention in our words and deeds.   Stir our hearts to remember the small things like holding doors, making phone calls, performing acts of service, putting the other’s needs above our own.  As it says in Ephesians 4:32, may we “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave You.”

Day Three, Love Does Not Envy:

Lord, As it says in The Message, “Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.”  Let this be true of us.  Help us appreciate the gift you’ve given us in this marriage and in each other and cultivate contentment and gratitude in our hearts. We don’t need to compare our spouse or our marriage to anyone else’s.  Instead, thank You for the marriage You’ve given us.  Please remind us throughout the day of all the reasons we fell in love in the first place.

Day Four, It does not Boast, it is not Proud:

Jesus, at that Last Supper with Your disciples, You bent so low and You poured that water over their grimy feet.  You, Our Savior, came “not to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28).  May we never be too proud to serve one another in the humblest of ways.  We might think, “That’s his responsibility; that’s her job.”  In our selfishness, we might feel like we’ve given so much already and how could we give any more?  But we bend low today.  We lay down our rights and our pride and choose to serve our spouse just as You served us.

Day Five, It does not dishonor others:

God, may we show each other honor in all we do and say.  Guard our mouths.  May our words be used to encourage, praise, and build one another up, not tear each other down, find fault, or trample all over each other’s feelings.  When we’re with others, don’t let us fall into those traps of complaining about marriage or our spouses, but instead let the way we talk about one another help others to know the beauty of marriage the way You designed it.

Day Six,  It is Not Self-Seeking:

Father, we live in a “me first” world.  We’re told to “look out for number one” and to take care of ourselves above all.  But that is not Your way.  Jesus “made himself nothing” and humbled himself, choosing “even death on a cross” for us—for me (Philippians 2:6-8).  Today, let us choose Your way over the world’s way:  “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

Day Seven, It is Not Easily Angered:

God, forgive me for the times I’ve reacted in anger instead of responding with grace.  And so often, too often really, we can make the smallest issues into the biggest deals.  Help me not to be easily angered.  Today, may we overlook petty offenses and minor bothers.  Redirect our vision to focus on what is good rather than what we think is wrong.  Remind us of what is important and learn to let the inessentials pass by unnoticed.

Day Eight, It Keeps No Record of Wrongs:

Lord, if You kept a record of all my sins, I couldn’t stand up under the weight of them all.  I’d be buried in accusations and proof of my failures.  But You show grace.   May we likewise extend grace to each other, as it says in 1 Peter: “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love coves a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).  If we excel at anything in this marriage, may it be at forgiveness.  When Satan tries to drag all that trash up from the past, we ask that You help us choose forgiveness instead, choose to let it go, choose to move toward one another instead of apart, choose to rebuild trust, choose moving on.

Day Nine, Love Does Not Delight In Evil, but Rejoices With the Truth:

God, help us rejoice with our spouse when they rejoice and mourn when they mourn.  Let us be a place of refuge and safety for them when they share their struggles, fears, emotions, hopes and dreams.  Help us to “have each other’s back” all the time and to be such a team that we delight and take pleasure in what is good and true and battle together against what is evil and wrong.

Day Ten, Love Bears All Things (ESV, NKJV):

Lord, we are so thankful that when there are burdens to bear, You’ve called us to bear them together.  As it says in Your Word,  “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NLT).  May we bear all things together.  May we carry each other to the cross and help each other each day.  If one of us is weak, may the other be strong in You.

Day Eleven, Always trusts:

God, build trust in our marriage.  Create that environment of honesty and truth.  But more than that, may we always trust You to care for us and to guide us.  We know that start to finish, this marriage, our lives, our family is in Your hands.  We know You are trustworthy, so faithful and full of merciful, loyal love for us.  We pray that our home and our marriage reflect that to those around us.

Day Twelve, Always hopes:

Lord, we don’t want to ever lose hope.  We know that You have a plan and a future for us as individuals and as a couple, and we thank You for that.  Thank You that You never give up on us and we pray that we never give up on each other.  Each morning, let us wake with hope for a new day, for fresh starts, and for the work that You want to do in us.

Day Thirteen, Always Perseveres 

God, remind us during the hard days, when we’re hurt or angry, tired, frustrated, or broken, that You are with us.  Help us to persevere through every season of difficulty.  Draw us together during those times instead of letting circumstances drive us apart.  Where there is distance, bring intimacy.  Where there is bitterness, bring reconciliation.  Where there is coldness, bring passion.  Where there is pain, bring healing.

Day Fourteen, Love Never Fails

Father, Your love for us doesn’t fail.  You just never give up on us.  Thank You for that unfathomable and astonishing love when we are so unworthy.  We pray that our marriage will grow ever more beautiful each day, not fading, not failing.  In every single season, we pray that You will help our relationship thrive.  Teach us how to avoid the pitfalls in communication, in intimacy, in finances, in conflict, in friendship, in parenting and in every way so that we will always be putting on love,which binds every other virtue together in perfect unity (Colossians 3:14).  

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

IF YOU’D LIKE TO SEE THE 12 VERSES I PRAY FOR MY HUSBAND, YOU CAN CLICK HERE!

Originally posted MAY 2, 2014 

The First Thing I Want You To Do

1-timothy-2

My girl clambered into the minivan after school, heavy backpack on her shoulders, heavy thoughts in her heart.

She waited for my daily question, “How was your day?”

And then she spilled the news about “this boy in my class.”

“This boy” was loud and disruptive and didn’t follow the rules.  He cost them rewards in art class and never obeyed the teacher.  He did inappropriate things and wouldn’t stay in line.

She finished her story, pronounced a loud “harumph” and slammed her arms criss-cross around her chest in a sign of definitive anger.

So many of our conversations take place this way, me angling the rear-view mirror to see faces, shouting back Mom-ly words of wisdom from the driver’s seat.

The minivan is prime time for deep conversations.

“You know what we need to do,” I hollered to the back seat.  “We need to pray for him and for your teacher.”

I expected her to shrug off my advice as impractical and unhelpful, no immediate solution and no personal satisfaction guaranteed.

But she didn’t.

I watched as her eyes brightened and as she lifted her face so her eyes met mine in the mirror.  She nodded in wholehearted agreement.

Later, snuggled together on our overstuffed blue couch, I prayed for “this boy” and for their teacher and when I was through, this child of mine–who finds kisses too embarrassing and declines to even hug much of the time–tossed her arms without reservation.

We parents, grandparents, teachers and leaders show our children how to pray.  We begin with bowed heads over scraped knees and boo-boos on fingers.

We seek forgiveness for wrongs and take difficult situations to God.

And then we begin to pray for others, turning their hearts outward in ministry and compassion.

But it all begins with us, modeling the habit and discipline of “take it to the Lord in prayer.”  It’s bringing Jesus right there into the center of our everyday.

As Paul wrote,

“The first thing I want you to do is pray.  Pray every way you know how for everyone you know” (1 Timothy 2:1 MSG).

The first thing we do is drop to our knees, not after consultations, Google-searches, strategies, all-night worrying sessions, and Facebook posts.  Pray first.

Perhaps God had been preparing me for that moment in the car because I’d been on my knees consistently for weeks over my girl.

Please God show me how to be the Mom she needs me to be, how to encourage her, love her, shepherd her heart, discipline her, and protect her.

In life and in parenting, we can read books, seek counsel, collect advice, listen to sermons, and Google search to our hearts content.

All that might be helpful and good, but what we need to do first and what we need to do most is pray.

 

Maybe God draws us to pray for our kids so that they’ll see us and learn how to bring His presence into the midst of all situations.  They’ll see our faith practiced in the everyday situations and learn to talk about life and God—-not life or God and never the twain shall meet.

Yes, this is more than Sunday morning belief or pew-sitting faith.  This is down and dirty life with God at our side, available to help us in every situation, to give us wisdom, strengthen our hearts, teach us to obey and discipline our desires.

We pray for our children because we love them and want the best for them.

But we also pray for them so that they learn to pray…so that when they encounter “this boy,” they know they can carry his case to God.

And when their friend is hurt by teasing, they’ll give a hug, say a kind word, and petition God on her behalf.

When they don’t know what to do, they whisper to God a request for help and follow His lead.

When life is hard, when situations are uncertain, when they feel afraid, when a friend loses a mom or they see someone with cancer, our kids need to know exactly what to do.  They need to pray.

We pray first, pray about everything, pray every way we can, and pray for everyone we meet.