Morning Prayers to Start Your Day

I do not understand the snooze button on an alarm clock.  I never have.

To me, sleep only works when you’re actually sleeping.

The first beep of an alarm wakes me up.  From that moment on, my mind is racing on into the day.  I’m not sleeping; I’m thinking.

Worse yet, I’m thinking without actually doing anything about the million-and-one things I’m thinking about, which is a pretty stressful way to start the day,  feeling like I’m already behind.

Snooze buttons only work for people who can fall asleep in two seconds and don’t mind sleeping in batches of 5 minutes at a time.

Since that isn’t me, it’s just a way to procrastinate my way into the morning and procrastination super-stresses me out.

But moms don’t get to dictate their sleep habits, sleep cycle, sleep hours, sleep anything.  We’re just thankful for whatever sleep we get.

I’ve only needed an actual alarm clock a handful of times since I gave birth to my oldest child over 14 years ago.  I have a new alarm clock called “Kids.”

Unfortunately, this new wake-up system came fully equipped with nothing less than a human snooze button.

Babies wake up and go back to sleep, wake up again and go back to sleep.  Toddlers choose to wake mom up whenever the baby is still sleeping.

Now it’s my school children with staggered schedules waking me up in waves as their own alarm clocks go off and they troop down the stairs and into the kitchen for breakfast.

I have early risers and I have night owls who don’t exactly appreciate the need to rise and shine and they all like me to be awake when they are awake.

My sleep patterns are dictated by the sleeping or lack of sleeping of a whole posse of other people.

I know in my heart this truth: I need to bring God right into the beginning of my day.  I need to  start it with prayer before I head out of bed and into  the to-do list.

But while I agree with the ideal, my life feels louder than that so many days.  Crazier than that.  Messier than that.

And yet, I still need His presence.  Maybe because of all the noise and rush, I need His presence even more desperately than someone who can lie in the quiet and calm of a morning and spend a few extra minutes in uninterrupted prayer.

I sure need Jesus to be right here in the middle of my mess.

My days tend to take turns for the unexpected.  The long, extended quiet time that I’ve been planning for days hasn’t happened yet, because the phone rang, and I got a message, and there was a doctor’s appointment (or two) and an after school activity (or ten of them).

But I read what a missionary wrote in his journal long ago:

“Poor and weak though we are, our abode is a very Bethel to our souls, and God we feel and know is here” (Richard Williams).

Bethel.  That means “House of God.”

It’s the place where God’s presence dwells.   That’s where Jacob saw the vision of the stairway connecting heaven and earth and the angels ascending and descending.

I’m reminded, then, that God’s presence right here in the middle of my life makes any situation, any morning, any messy day, any short quiet time in the parked minivan while waiting for my daughters outside of school… a Bethel for my soul.

Because God is here.

I’m still fighting for that extended quiet time.  I know it will happen.

But even on days it doesn’t, I’m learning  to “Do Messy Faith….” to pursue His presence on-the-go instead of waiting until all the circumstances are perfect to meet with Him.  Because if I wait for perfect, then it won’t happen.

So I don’t have an hour to spend in quiet with the Bible.  I have the Bible on my phone and my Kindle.

So I don’t have the luxury of a quiet morning wake-up.  I have a human snooze alarm and I can whisper those prayers in between morning visits from my children.

Dear God, thank You for this day.

Dear God, guide me today.

Dear God, Your will be done, not mine.

Dear God, Please use me today.

Dear God, Please help me.  I can’t do it alone.

Dear Lord, teach me to be the wife and mom you want me to be.

Father, show me how to love as you love.

You have blessed me.  Lord, how can I be a blessing to others?

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 5:3 NKJV

What prayers do you whisper as you start your day?

Bible Verses to Pray for Your Marriage

MAY WE LOVE….

  • John 15:12-13 ESV
     “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
  • Colossians 3:14 ESV
    And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
  • 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
    Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogantor rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
  •  1 John 4:7-8 ESV
    Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
  • 1 John 4:19 ESV
    We love because he first loved us.

MAY WE FORGIVE….

  • Proverbs 24:29 ESV
    Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me;
        I will pay the man back for what he has done.”
  • Ephesians 4:32 ESV
    Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
  • Colossians 3:12-14 ESV
     Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other;as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
  • 1 Peter 4:8 ESV
    Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

MAY WE HONOR ONE ANOTHER….

  • Romans 12:10 ESV
    Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
  • Hebrews 13:4 ESV
    Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

MAY WE WORK TOGETHER….

  • Ecclesiastes 4:12 ESV
    And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
  • Philippians 2:2 ESV
    complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

MAY WE SHOW KINDNESS….

  • Ephesians 4:2-3 NIV
    Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

 MAY WE SPEAK WITH GRACE…

  • Proverbs 15:1 ESV
    A soft answer turns away wrath,
        but a harsh word stirs up anger.
  • Ephesians 4:29  NIV
     Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

MAY WE SEEK GOD ABOVE ALL….

  • Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
        and do not lean on your own understanding.
    In all your ways acknowledge him,
        and he will make straight your paths.
  • Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
    For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a]and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
  • Matthew 6:33 ESV
    But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
  • Romans 5:2 TLB
    For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be.

WHAT BIBLE VERSE(S) ARE YOU PRAYING FOR YOUR MARRIAGE?  JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION AND SHARE WITH US!!

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.