Bible Verses and a Prayer for Christmas

Every Christmas Eve, my dad read us the Christmas story, Luke chapters 1 and 2, from the big golden family Bible in the original King James.  I still hear his voice…I still hear the words.

If you’d like to read the full Christmas story, you can find two famous passages in the Gospels: Luke 1-2  and Matthew 1-2.

Here, though, are 20 of my favorite Christmas Bible verses from the Old and New Testaments, reminding us of the Savior, the season, the gift…

  • Isaiah 7:14 NIV
    Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
  • Isaiah 9:2 ESV
    The people who walked in darkness
        have seen a great light;
    those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
        on them has light shone.
  • Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV
    For to us a child is born,
        to us a son is given,
        and the government will be on his shoulders.
    And he will be called
        Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
    Of the greatness of his government and peace
        there will be no end.
    He will reign on David’s throne
        and over his kingdom,
    establishing and upholding it
        with justice and righteousness
        from that time on and forever.
    The zeal of the Lord Almighty
        will accomplish this.
  • Isaiah 11:1-5 NIV

    A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
        from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
    The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
        the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
        the Spirit of counsel and of might,
        the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord
    and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

    He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
        or decide by what he hears with his ears;
    but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
        with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
    He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
        with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
    Righteousness will be his belt
        and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

  • Micah 5:2 NIV
    “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
        though you are small among the clans of Judah,
    out of you will come for me
        one who will be ruler over Israel,
    whose origins are from of old,
        from ancient times.”
  • Matthew 1:21 NIV
    She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.
  • Matthew 1:23 NIV
    “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 
  • Luke 1:30-31 NIV
    But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
  • Luke 1:37 ESV
     For nothing will be impossible with God.
  • Luke 1:45 NIV
     Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!
  • Luke 2:10-14 NIV
    But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
  • John 1:14 ESV
    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  • For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

  • 2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV
     Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
  • Galatians 4:4-5 NIV
    But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
  • Philippians 2:5-7 ESV
    Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
  • Colossians 1:15-20 ESV
     He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[a] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
  • 1 Timothy 1:15-16 ESV
    The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.
  • Titus 3:4-5 NLT
    But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
  • 1 John 4:9 ESV
    In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

christmasprayer

Bible Verses about Preparation

  • Exodus 23:20 ESV
    Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.
  • Proverbs 6:6-8 CSB
    Go to the ant, you slacker!
    Observe its ways and become wise.
    Without leader, administrator, or ruler,
    it prepares its provisions in summer;
    it gathers its food during harvest.
  • Proverbs 22:3 CSB
    A sensible person sees danger and takes cover,
    but the inexperienced keep going and are punished.
  • Proverbs 24:27 CSB
    Complete your outdoor work, and prepare your field;
    afterward, build your house.
  • Matthew 24:44 CSB
     This is why you are also to be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
  • Luke 12:47 CSB
    And that servant who knew his master’s will and didn’t prepare himself or do it[a] will be severely beaten.
  • Luke 14:28 CSB
    “For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?
  • Luke 21:36 CSB
    But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.”
  •  1 Corinthians 9:24 CSB
    Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize.
  • Ephesians 2:10 ESV
     For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
  • 2 Timothy 4:2 ESV
    preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
  • 1 Peter 1:13 ESV
    Therefore, preparing your minds for action,[a] and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
  • 1 Peter 3:15 CSB
    but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.

 

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 about Friendship

  • Proverbs 12:26 ESV
    One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
        but the way of the wicked leads them astray
  • Proverbs 13:20 ESV
    Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
        but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
  • Proverbs 16:28 ESV
    A dishonest man spreads strife,
        and a whisperer separates close friends.
  • Proverbs 17:9 ESV
    Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
        but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
  • Proverbs 17:17 ESV
    A friend loves at all times,
        and a brother is born for adversity.
  • Proverbs 18:24 ESV
    A man of many companions may come to ruin,
        but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
  • Proverbs 22:24-25 ESV
    Make no friendship with a man given to anger,
        nor go with a wrathful man,
    25 lest you learn his ways
        and entangle yourself in a snare.
  • Proverbs 27:5-6 ESV
    Better is open rebuke
        than hidden love.
    Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
        profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
  • Proverbs 27:9 ESV
    Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
        and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
  • Proverbs 27:17 ESV
    Iron sharpens iron,
        and one man sharpens another.
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV
    Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
  • John 15:12-15 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. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant[b] does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
  • Romans 12:10 ESV
    Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:24 ESV
    Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV
    Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
  • Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV
     Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 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 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
    Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
  • Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
    And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
  • James 4:4 ESV
    You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Bible Verses for When you Feel Small

  • Psalm 37:16 ESV
    Better is the little that the righteous has
        than the abundance of many wicked.
  • Proverbs 15:16 ESV
    Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
        than great treasure and trouble with it.
  • Isaiah 11:6 ESV
    The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
        and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
    and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
        and a little child shall lead them.
  • Isaiah 40:29 ESV
    He gives power to the faint,
        and to him who has no might he increases strength.
  • Zechariah 4:10a ESV
    For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
  • Micah 5:2 ESV
    But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
  • Matthew 11:25 ESV
    At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children
  • Matthew 13:31-32 ESV
     He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
  • Matthew 19:14 ESV
    but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
  • Matthew 25:21 ESV
    His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
  • Luke 12:32 ESV
  • Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
  • Luke 16:10 ESV
    “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.

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Have you been feeling small?

Oh my friend, I have been there.

At first, it’s overwhelming.  We feel weak and insignificant, maybe overwhelmed and unworthy.

But then I remember this truth:  God uses the small.

When the twelve spies returned home with their report from their jaunt in the Promised Land, ten of them said this:

The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. …and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” (Number 13:32-33 ESV)

Here’s the lesson for them and for me and for you:anywhere-faith

Your victory or success–or even just your ability to make it through this very day–does not depend on you.  So you’re a grasshopper. That’s okay.  God uses grasshoppers…You can be a grasshopper and still take possession of the Promised Land because you serve a great and mighty God who is stronger than any giant and can knock down any wall.

God didn’t call you because you are able; He called you because He is able (Anywhere Faith)

 

 

Bible Verses on Having a Pure Heart

 

  • Psalm 12:6 ESV
    The words of the Lord are pure words,
        like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
        purified seven times.
  • Psalm 19:8 ESV
    the precepts of the Lord are right,
        rejoicing the heart;
    the commandment of the Lord is pure,
        enlightening the eyes;
  • Psalm 24:4-5 ESV
    He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
        who does not lift up his soul to what is false
        and does not swear deceitfully.
    He will receive blessing from the Lord
        and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
  • Psalm 51:10 ESV
    Create in me a clean heart, O God,
        and renew a right spirit within me.
  • Psalm 73:1 ESV
    Truly God is good to Israel,
        to those who are pure in heart.
  • Psalm 119:9 ESV
    How can a young man keep his way pure?
        By guarding it according to your word.
  • Proverbs 15:26 ESV
    The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord,
        but gracious words are pure.
  • Proverbs 16:2 ESV
    All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
        but the Lord weighs the spirit.
  • Proverbs 20:11 ESV
    Even a child makes himself known by his acts,
        by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
  • Proverbs 21:8 ESV
    The way of the guilty is crooked,
        but the conduct of the pure is upright.
  • Matthew 5:8 ESV
    Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God
  • 2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV
    Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body[a] and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
  • 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 ESV
    For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband,to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
  • Philippians 1:9-10 ESV
    And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more,with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ
  • Philippians 4:8 ESV
    Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
  •  Timothy 1:5 ESV
    The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
  • 1 Timothy 5:22 ESV
    Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.
  • 2 Timothy 2:22 ESV
    So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
  • Titus 1:15 ESV
    To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.
  • Hebrews 10:22 ESV
    let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
  • James 1:27 ESV
     Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visitorphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
  • James 3:17 ESV
     But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
  •  1 Peter 1:22 ESV
     Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,
  • 1 John 3:3 ESV
    And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
  • Revelation 19:8 ESV

    it was granted her to clothe herself
        with fine linen, bright and pure”—

    for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Bible Verses to remind us that God hears us

verses-god-hears

  • 2 Samuel 22:7 ESV
    “In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I called. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears.
  • Psalm 4:3 ESV
    But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
        the Lord hears when I call to him.
  • Psalm 17:6 ESV
    I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
        incline your ear to me; hear my words.
  • Psalm 18:6 ESV
    In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
  • Psalm 28:1-2, 6
    To you, O Lord, I call;
        my rock, be not deaf to me,
    lest, if you be silent to me,
        I become like those who go down to the pit.
    Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy,
        when I cry to you for help,
    when I lift up my hands
        toward your most holy sanctuary….
    Blessed be the Lord!
        For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
  • Psalm 34:17 ESV
    When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
        and delivers them out of all their troubles.
  • Psalm 54:2  ESV
    O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth.
  • Psalm 61:5 ESV
    For you, O God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
  • Psalm 66:17-20 ESV
    I cried to him with my mouth,
    and high praise was on my tongue.
    18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
    the Lord would not have listened.
    19 But truly God has listened;
    he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
    20 Blessed be God
    because he has not rejected my prayer
        or removed his steadfast love from me!
  • Psalm 77:1 ESV
    I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me.
  • Psalm 84:8 ESV
    O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
  • Psalm 139:4 ESV
    Even before a word is on my tongue,
        behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
  • Proverbs 15:29 ESV
    The Lord is far from the wicked,
        but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
  • John 9:31 ESV
    We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.
  • John 11:41-42 ESV
     So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
  • 1 Peter 3:12 ESV
    For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
        and his ears are open to their prayer.
    But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
  • 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.

21 Bible Verses and a Prayer for the New Year

  • Psalm 33:3 NIV
    Sing to him a new song;
        play skillfully, and shout for joy.
  • Psalm 40:3 NIV
    He put a new song in my mouth,versesnewyear
        a hymn of praise to our God.
    Many will see and fear the Lord
        and put their trust in him.
  • Psalm 65:11 NIV
    You crown the year with your bounty,
        and your carts overflow with abundance.
  • Psalm 96:1 NIV
    Sing to the Lord a new song;
        sing to the Lord, all the earth.
  • Psalm 98:1 NIV
    Sing to the Lord a new song,
        for he has done marvelous things;
    his right hand and his holy arm
        have worked salvation for him.
  • Psalm 144:9 NIV
    I will sing a new song to you, my God;
        on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
  • Psalm 149:1 NIV
    Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.
  • Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV
    There is a time for everything,
        and a season for every activity under the heavens:
  • Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV
     He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
  • Isaiah 42:9 NIV
    See, the former things have taken place,
        and new things I declare;
    before they spring into being
        I announce them to you.”
  • Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
    “Forget the former things;
        do not dwell on the past.
    19 See, I am doing a new thing!
        Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
    I am making a way in the wilderness
        and streams in the wasteland.

    ecclesiastes

    Photo by Law Alan, 123rf.com

  • Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  • Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV
    Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
        for his compassions never fail.
    23 They are new every morning;
        great is your faithfulness.
  • Ezekiel 11:19 NIV
    I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
  • Zephaniah 3:5 NIV
    The Lord within her is righteous;
        he does no wrong.
    Morning by morning he dispenses his justice,
        and every new day he does not fail,
        yet the unrighteous know no shame.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
  • Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV
    You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
  • Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
    Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
  • Colossians 3:9-10 NIV
    Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
  • 1 Peter 1:3 NIV
    Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
  • Revelation 21:5 NIV
    He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

newyearprayer

10 Bible Verses to Pray for Election Day

She wanted us to stop eating and pray.

Just like that.  Just put our forks down and bow our heads then and there.

For our “boo boos” of all things, that’s what had our four-year-old inspired to lead a family prayer meeting in the middle of the evening meal.

So, we did, taking turns around our kitchen table, praying for a scratch, a C-section recovery, a splinter, a bruised shin.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I felt the difference the next day.  My recovery post-C-section had gone smoothly, gone well, but I still felt that tender reminder of surgery if I moved too fast, too long, too far.  We prayed at the whim of a preschooler, though, and my healing progressed overnight.

Why then?

Why is it I forget to pray for the big things, the commanded things?

When prayer works, when it’s real and responsive, when I see the answers clearly with my own two eyes and feel the results in my own body, and when a tiny blond-headed girl prompts me to pray…why then do I fail so often to pray as I should?

Because I do.  I forget.  I pray about a million problems and worries and issues I encounter every single day for me, for my family, for my friends, for the people I see driving around my little town, for my kids’ school and my husband’s workplace and the people at church.

Yet, Scripture tells me I need to pray for those in authority, for the government leaders, and I confess this truth:  Other than an occasional quick “help the president and congress, Lord” I forget to pray for them most of the time….at least until our paychecks take the hit and suddenly I’m the one inspired to lead prayer meetings.

This election day in the United States, though, let us commit to pray and really do it, not just mean to do it or start to do it and never finish.

Let ….us….pray:

For us as citizens and for our nation:

Lord, forgive us as a nation:

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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV).

Turn our hearts to You so that we walk in righteousness:

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people (Proverbs 14:34 NIV)electionday

Lord, help us revere You and respect those in authority.  Show us how to be good citizens.

Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government (1 Peter 2:13-17 MSG).

Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear. (Romans 13:1-3 MSG).

Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s. Matt. 22:21 NASB

For those in authority:

Thank You, Lord, that all authority is subject to You:

For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations (Psalm 22:28 ESV).

He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away. He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a pathless waste. They grope in the dark without light, and he makes them stagger like a drunken man (Job 12:23-25 ESV).

We ask that You guide and direct our leaders:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NASB)

Give them wisdom as they lead us:

He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning (Dan. 2:20-21)

For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers (Proverbs 11:14 NIV).

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Cue the Jeopardy Music

She announced that her stomach hurt and she was too sick to go to school about ten minutes before the bus pulled up in front of my house.

“Announced” perhaps isn’t the right word.  It was more like “groaned” or “moaned” or “whispered in agony.”  Something like that.  And there were tears and clutching the hands to the stomach and doubling over in pain.  That kind of thing.

I’ve always been paralyzed by decisions under pressure.  I’d be an utter failure on Jeopardy (besides not knowing anything about pop culture or sports) because whatever I do know flies out of my head stopwatchthe moment someone clicks on a timer.

In college, I studied all week before the test, but tucked my books and notes away the night before the exam.  The stress of cramming made my brain shut down.

And procrastinating makes me hyperventilate.

When you have a problem like mine, the utter inability to think under pressure, sometimes you say silly things just because you need to say something.  Sports are dangerous for me, too, because I can’t be trusted to react well when a hard object comes hurling at my face.

So, if my daughter had decided she was sick an hour before the bus arrival, I might have been wise and calm, but with ten minutes to go, I was a frantic mess of paralyzed mom-ness.

I grabbed the thermometer to gather objective evidence.  When I announced that no fever meant going to school, though, she collapsed onto the sofa underneath her blanket with a bowl held up under her nose.

What if I let her stay home and she wasn’t really sick and she used up an absence for no reason at all and then she thought it was okay to skip school any day her stomach felt a little bit ache-y?

She was going to school.

But what if I sent her to school and she really was feeling bad so she threw up in the middle of the classroom and someone had to clean it all up and she infected other students and it was all super embarrassing?

She was not going to school.

Finally, I made my decision:  I would keep her home for two hours and if she wasn’t really sick, she’d go to school.

Suddenly I felt so much better because I had two hours to consider the matter, weigh the evidence, and make another choice.  And at just after 11:00, I walked her into the school building with her backpack on and sent her off to her class.

Maybe it’s the fear of making a wrong decision that troubles me so.  Or perhaps it’s that I like to weigh the evidence, all the evidence and how do you know when you have all the facts?

It may be paralyzing at times, but perhaps there’s at least one good thing about this need to pause and think after all.

I wonder, as I read the book of Joshua, what would have happened if the nation of Israel had stopped for a single moment to consider the choice set before them, instead of rushing in all bold and blustery to a decision while ultimately remaining deep-down uncommitted.

Joshua said:

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).

Absolutely we want to serve the Lord!  We know what He’s done for us and we’re going to serve Him!

They didn’t consider, though, that the commitments we make in life aren’t just one time choices.  They are the guides we use for the daily choices and the moment-by-moment decisions that require self-denial and self-discipline.

The choice to spend time with God despite busyness and distractions–that’s daily.

The choice to deny self and serve—that’s every day any time of the day.

The choice to submit to God and the leading of the Holy Spirit—that’s every second.

In the end, for all their shouting about how they would serve the Lord, the Israelites chose day after day to disobey Him and to pursue their own agendas, to worship false gods and break all the commandments He had given for their protection and purity.

Today, let us pause, taking the time for just this moment, first to listen.

What, God, are you asking of me?

And then before we rush into commitments and assurances, we consider the cost, we determine in our hearts, and then—only then—we make the choice.

But it doesn’t stop there.  The day after that and the next day and the next, we choose Him, choose to follow, choose to obey.  Sometimes we mess up, but we thank Him for fresh mercies and try again with choice after choice, showing that yes, we will serve the Lord.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King