Monday, January 28, 2008

A week's absence

OK, it's been about a week since I've posted. From the beginning, I wasn't sure if this whole prayer blog was going to work out. So far, I think it has been good to type out the prayers. But, this is also time consuming. But, it also provides a nice way to look back on prayers, and even repeat prayers. In the end, I want to keep plugging along, but I am still unsure about the long-term viability of the prayer blog.

In my last post, I mentioned writing to the author of a WORLD article. Since then, I was contacted for an editor about publishing my letter. So, all my readers (that's you Jennifer) can look forward to seeing that.

Now for the prayer....


Great and glorious God, my Father in heaven, creator of the universe, I come to you in worship because I know you are all powerful, all gracious, all loving, all merciful and all righteous. If you were not all--the great I AM--there would be futility in asking of you. I could not approach you with faith that you can answer me. If you were not all good, I could not have faith to trust your answers to be good. But, you are both all and all good.

I am a sinful person whose very nature wants to rebel against you. Yet, you, in your infinite grace and mercy, chose to save me and call me your child. You chose to adopt me as a son. And that is why I can approach the throne of grace with confidence.

I thank you for a successful beginning to my biology classes. Be with me and guide me as I continue to learn and teach. Give me wisdom and strength to lead students in understanding your created world.

I thank you for the progress made in recent weeks with the building of our new dome. Help us be wise and made good decisions; help us find the right ways to invest your money in the home we will use to serve you and your people.

Bless Kori's sister Karla who is fighting cancer. Heal her; give her strength. Help her see your love and mercy through this time. Use this occasion to draw Karla and her family closer to you. May your will be done and may your name be glorified.

Bless Latrelle's father Alec and bring him better health. Be with his family and show your loving kindness.

Bless Alan Weese as he begins his service in the Army. This is a dangerous time for all the American service-members. Give them strength and courage. Keep them safe. Help them bring security to those places where they are sent.

And Father, I pray that you give the leaders of this country greater wisdom in how they use our troops. I pray for the President as he delivers his plan for the future of our nation. I pray that you would give the people of America greater wisdom to demand a government that fights for your values of justice, peace and righteousness.

Give your church a passion and commitment to stand up and fight for justice, peace and righteousness in government. Help you church be a light to the world. Too often, your church focuses on blaming the darkness for being dark when we should be looking to ourselves and asking why our light is so dim in the darkness. Give us a fire that burns inside us and illuminates the world around us.

Father, I continue to pray for the West family. Bless Josh and Tina West and their little daughter Ella. Help Ella continue to grow and strengthen. Give her family peace and draw them to you and show yourself to them in this time. If they do not know you, I pray that you would remove their hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh. If they do know you, I pray that this challenge would be an opportunity for them to demonstrate your glory to everyone around them.
Bless Julie's brother Matt. Meet his needs in a way that makes your glory clear.

And I pray for the salvation of Steve's father Mark. Show yourself to him and replace his heart of stone with a heart of flesh. Adopt him as your child and give him a new life in Jesus.

Marriage on earth is a symbol of the church's eternal marriage to Jesus. So, bless our earthly marriages and help us lead marriages that honor their heavenly calling. Bless Ed and Tracy's marriage. Give them the grace and mercy to overcome whatever challenges threaten to tear apart what you have joined.

I thank you for the care you showed in Marsha's successful marathon. Now, she has a cold and I pray you would help her recovery.

I thank you for the blessing of Charlotte. Today, Jennifer and I watched her as she rolled over and over from her back to her stomach. I pray that you will help her continue to grow stronger; keep her healthy. Most importantly, though, I ask that you choose her as your child and when the time is right, call her to Jesus and give her a heart to respond and follow him.

And I praise you for the recent rains we have received in our area. After so many months of drought, we need the rain. Help us be thankful for your rain, and I pray you will continue to send the right amount of rain we need.

I ask you to prepare Debra for her upcoming surgery. And when the time comes, I pray you will be with the medical staff and give her a successful operation. Give her a good recovery and heal her.

I ask you to bless Lisa Hood's health. Make her strong and healthy. Bless her and show yourself to her.

I pray specifically for the members of my church. Give us a passion--a fire burning inside us--to worship you and glorify you. Give us a passion to know you better--to know you more deeply. Give us a passion for being a community of believers that encourages each other, corrects each other, and loves each other. Help us be a light in our city and our world. Give us a passion for your mission throughout the nations. I also pray for the Men's Ministry's upcoming BBQ. I pray you will bring many men to know you through this event and through the work of these men who reach out to their neighbors.

I pray for the ministry of Ionel. Help him find the financial resources he needs to continue his work in Serbia. Give your people a desire to give to your work. And I pray for the work of M and her friends in Asia. They work among the Muslim people--a challenging and often dangerous group to work among--yet they do so with grace and courage. Give them courage to continue to proclaim your good news. Continue to make paths for them to work through legal barriers and social barriers. More importantly, send your Spirit ahead of them to work through the spiritual barriers that block the hearts of so many people. Only you can change hearts, so I pray that you would do the work. As they plant and water the seed, I pray you will make it grow.

Father, you are truly great. May I come to know you better every day. Thank you for forgiving my sins and coming to me when I could not and would not come to you. I make all these requests known to you because of my faith that through Jesus you will hear and answer. Amen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

biology, justice and faith

Today, I began teaching Biology. Our first unit is on evolution, and I introduced the topic by addressing my Christian students who don't even want to hear about it. I explained that in Acts 17 Paul goes to Athens as a missionary. But, before he presents his beliefs, he studies the beliefs of the Athenians. He then uses their belief in "an unknown god" to build a bridge for sharing the gospel. In the same way, Christian students can think of studying evolution as a means of understanding what others believe so they can then have reasonable discussions about what they believe.

Later in the semester, we'll be discussing genetics and heredity. In that unit, I plan to incorporate information on DNA exonerations. And I just read this evening about yet another man freed from prison. And to make the case even worse, it appears the government withheld information from the defense. They sent an innocent man to prison knowing there was a good chance they were sending an innocent man to prison.

Also today, I read a WORLD article about how President Bush openly calls for religious freedom in China, but has said nothing about religious freedom in the Muslim world. I wrote the author to point out another irritant of mine: the US government prohibits sending "bulk quantities of religious materials contrary to the Islamic faith" to troops in Iraq. So, we're fighting a war in the name of freedom, but our government is more than content to ignore the lack of religious freedom.


Father, I pray that your name would flood the earth, that your name would be glorified among all peoples. May your name be praised in every nation on earth as it is in heaven. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty.

I pray that those groups seeking justice for the wrongly accused, groups such as Project Innocence, would be able to continue righting wrongs throughout our society. I pray that people across this nation would cry out for justice and demand our legal system be held to the strictest standards of justice and be held accountable. May your church rise up and become a catalyst for change in our nation. Yesterday, our nation marked our remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr; help us as a people do more than take a day off, but help us internalize a commitment to truth, justice and equity. May the church bring you glory by standing firm for those righteous values

And father, I pray that your church in America would turn aside from our complacency about those sins that live deep within ourselves, and I pray that we would no longer be hypocritical in our defense of righteousness. Our church today vigorously fights against gay marriage, yet marriages in our churches fall apart faster than among unbelievers. Divorce has become an acceptable sin among our own people; we forget that there is no such thing as an acceptable sin and that he who breaks one law has broken the entire law. May we always remember that the only thing separating us from eternal damnation is your pure grace through our savior Jesus Christ. May we remember it is a gift from you that has turned away your wrath and restored us into fellowship. Jesus did not come so that we could take political power but so that we could live through spiritual power. Give your church the grace to turn the world upside down for righteousness.

Father, I pray for your name to spread throughout the nations. May your people carry your word and your calling to the very ends of the earth. Father, your word overcomes all obstacles. No government has every stood in your way. Your church has grown faster under China's communist rule than under America's freedom. Your word is more powerful than anything on earth. Still, I pray that religious freedom would cover the globe so that your people could worship you in peace and that your people would enjoy greater freedom to share your good news. Your will be done.

And father, I ask you to bless my students and me as we begin this semester. Give me wisdom as I teach Biology. Give my students wisdom as they study and learn. May my students and I see together your glory as we search through complexities of life. When I look at the stars or see images of deep space, I see your majesty. And when I see the complexities of DNA or the balance of life throughout the earth, I see your hand at work.

I also ask that you bless Charlotte. It is so incredible to watch her grow. It is so beautiful to see her smile. You have blessed Jennifer and me so much. Help us be graceful parents. Help us raise her in the way she should go. Help us model for her how to love you with all her heart, all her mind, all her strength and all her soul; and help us model for her how she can love her neighbor as herself. But ultimately, her soul rests in your hands. So, I ask that you would show her your glory and grace and call her to your son Jesus. May she, when the time is right, hear his voice and respond to him as a sheep to her shepherd.

I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

medical missions

This morning I taught my Bible study on 2 Corinthians 8. In that passage, Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to follow through on their previous commitment to give to the suffering church in Jerusalem. Paul writes to them:

But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.... For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2 Cor 8:7,9 ESV)

So, giving is itself a grace; Christian giving is only righteous to God when it is done in the same fashion—through grace—that Jesus set aside the riches of heaven and became human so that we could in turn gain the riches of heaven. As I continue to reflect on this, I just read a blog post pleading for prayers for a young Indonesian boy who lacks the medical care needed to care for him.


Father, in your infinite wisdom and grace, you have created each person and chosen the place where each should live (Acts 17:26). You have given some more than others, but each person will give account for what they have done with what you entrusted to them (Mt 25:19). Some you have given much, and some you have given little (2 Cor 8), but you have called your church to serve one another; those with plenty are to use their plenty to meet the needs of those with little, so that through our generosity, your name may be glorified (2 Cor 9). May your church in America, because we are all so wealthy, be awakened to our wealth and the responsibility we have to use your resources for your glory. May we be awakened to see the suffering all around us and may we have a heart that cares for those in need. May we not be like the priest and the Levite who passed by the injured man, but may we be like the Samaritan who took the risk and made the sacrifice.

Father, I have called on your before to send out more missionaries in the field because the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. And I pray again, call out of your church more people to go into all the earth and proclaim your greatness, your glory, and your grace. And father, I pray that many of those missionaries called out of your church would be physicians of the body as well as physicians of the soul. The world needs physicians who go into the suffering world and bring physical healing, as well as spiritual healing. May your church rise up and fight against the tyranny of disease in this world.

Father, I thank you for the work of those Christians who airlifted this young boy, Rizky, to the hospital where he is now. I thank you that your people have had the chance to reach out to the family and show your mercy and love. And I pray that you will hear their cries and heal Rizky; perform a miracle that can serve as a testimony to your power and love. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

We are so blessed to have a Lord who understands our frailties and sufferings. We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Therefore, I am able to approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that Rizky may receive mercy and find grace to help him in his time of need (Heb 4:15-16 NIV).

I ask these things of you in faith through my advocate Jesus. Amen.

2 Cor 8

Father, as I study through your word and reflect more on you, I am always more and more amazed, more and more encouraged, more and more satisfied in you. You are truly great and loving.

When you brought your people out of Egypt, you met their every need. Even when they forgot you and worshiped idols, you continued to care for them. You gave them manna--just enough that they were satisfied. You provided them with their daily bread.

Father, I pray that you will provide me with my daily bread. But, you have already done so much more. I have too much food. Help me to live less for food that perishes and more for food that leads to eternal life.

Give me the grace to give myself to you first and then to others. Give me the grace to have so much faith in you that I not only have the desire to use my resources for your glory but that I also have the follow-through to complete my desire.

May I always remember the inconceivable blessing received because Jesus temporarily set aside the riches of heaven and took on the form of a simple man from a simple town. May I always remember that I am rich beyond measure, not because I have a large house, multiple cars, and a 401k, but because you made me rich through an inheritance of glory. And may I always realize that I am also rich in earthly measures, but it is more blessed to give than to receive. May I see the riches you have entrusted to me, not as a security blanket that makes me have less need of you, but as a sacred trust that makes me focus on you more.

May my giving be eager and cheerful; may my giving be pleasing to you and acceptable.

Father, I also ask that you bless my teaching of your word. Help me truthfully handle your word and help me show your glory. Send your Spirit to work through me and to work in the hearts of all the Life Group members, including myself, so that your word would take hold of our lives.

I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

He is great

Father, I praise your great and glorious name. I will praise your name forever because you have called me and set me apart for your purposes. You have chosen me to be among your children, blessed by you and given a perfect inheritance. May I never forget the great and gracious gift you have given me when I was your enemy living in rebellion against you. While I rejected you, you sent your son Jesus to die for my sins, and you raised him from the dead so that I could have eternal life with you. Oh how wonderful your good news really is for all those who would love you and turn from darkness into the light.

I pray that more people would see your glory while you can still be found before they face you at the final judgement. But, how are they to hear if there are not people to take the good news to them? So, father, I pray that you would send out more missionaries into the field to gather your harvest. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few; so, send out more workers into the field. And may I be a worker for you , whether where I live now or wherever you choose to send me. May I be a worker at all times in whatever place I am in at any moment. Give me a bold spirit to proclaim your glory to all those around me. Give me a spirit that testifies in my actions and my words. Let me live a life that serves as a witness for your truth and grace so that like a lamp set on a table, I could shine a light into the darkness that surrounds me.

Father, help me to make the most of every day. The days are evil and if I am not careful they slip away wasted forever. I am a steward of everything you entrust with me because you are the rightful owner of everything. Therefore, I must use everything for the maximum of your glory. Help me to use my time in ways that demonstrate you are my first commitment; let me use my time in ways that would meet with your approval; let me use my time productively and efficiently because in your economy there is no waste.

As I think of how often I waste time, I am reminded that there are so many people who have loved ones and they wish so much to have more time with those they've lost. I am not guaranteed tomorrow, so let me make the most of today.

Father, I pray that you would be with the members of my Life Group. Be with the Steve and Angela, Mike and Latrelle, Mike and Meredith, Frank and Leslie, Charlie, Rhonda, Greg and Alice, Clay and Julie, and Marsha. Bless each of them in their spiritual journeys with you. Help them come closer to you and know you better. And I ask that you work in the hearts of all those who have not shown commitment to being part of your body of believers. Work in the hearts of those who are technically members of our Life Group, even our church, but continually forsake the fellowship of believers. If they are part of your family, help them see your purpose in the church. If they do not truly know you, take their hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh so that they could turn from darkness and enter your light. And may the rest of the members of this Life Group serve as a model of the unity of believers.

Father, as I prepare to start a new semester of teaching, I ask that you would bless me that I would teach well and help my students grow in their academic and social lives; bless me so that I may help them fulfill the potential you have given each of them. And help me be a witness for your truth and glory.

I pray that you would bless my church and help us fulfill your purpose in our community. And I ask you to bless the ministries of missionaries around the world. Give my church a passion for world missions, too. In Christ, there is neither Greek nor Jew, but your good news is for the entire world. Give us a passion for seeing your good news taken to the ends of the earth.

Father, you have given me kindness when I deserved damnation. You are truly a God of goodness and grace. I praise you and thank you. Let my thankfulness for you overflow into love for others. May I show my love to be genuine. Give me the strength to resist temptations that may appear; keep me from temptation.

Above all, may your name be glorified and your will be done. I ask these things in the name of my savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Praying through the Bible

An honest Christian will admit that sometimes it's difficult to focus while reading the Bible. We get tired, distracted, even bored. And the same can be true of praying. Part of the reason is that we are unsure why we are reading the Bible, and we are unsure what to pray about.

As a science teacher, I teach my students to use the SQ4R method of reading textbooks. It's an effective method of reading because it causes the students to develop a purpose in reading and to actively engage the material. But, a hundred years before educational researchers developed the ideas behind SQ4R, a Christian minister gave simple advice that accomplishes the same goal.

In George Muller's autobiography, he confessed how he had struggled for years to read the Bible. But, then he discovered a way to keep focus and bring passion to his reading. As he read through the Bible, he would turn the verses in prayers. Amazingly simple. Amazingly good. By the way, I highly recommend Muller's autobiography. It's an easy book to read, but packed with wisdom and evidence of God's greatness and love.

So, here I am going to put into practice Muller's advice using 2 Cor 8:1-15, which I plan to teach this coming Sunday.


1 We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God granted to the churches of Macedonia: 2 during a severe testing by affliction, their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed into the wealth of their generosity.

Father, I pray that regardless of my material condition, my joy from you would overflow into generosity toward your people.

3 I testify that, on their own, according to their ability and beyond their ability, 4 they begged us insistently for the privilege of sharing in the ministry to the saints,

May I have such passion for serving your people that I would eagerly seek opportunities to meet the needs of others. May I consider it a privilege to be used by you for your purposes. May I always see the truth that you do not need my work, but rather you let me participate with you as I learn from you.

5 and not just as we had hoped. Instead, they gave themselves especially to the Lord, then to us by God's will.

Father, I give myself first to you and your glory. Out of that, may I give myself to your causes around me. If I do anything that is not based on faith in you, it is sin. So, father, I pray that you would give me the faith to live every day and perform every action in faith that you reward those who seek you.

6 So we urged Titus that, just as he had begun, so he should also complete this grace to you. 7 Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us—excel also in this grace.

Father, give me more faith; fill me with faith to move mountains. Give me the words to encourage others, teach others, lead others to know you better and to see your glory. May I have the commitment to you to keep my promises and live out the faith you give me, for faith without works is dead. And father, fill me with your love that I might show it to the world. Help me translate the grace you have shown me into grace toward everyone around me.

8 I am not saying this as a command. Rather, by means of the diligence of others, I am testing the genuineness of your love.

Father, as your child, I am not bound by the law. But, you give me opportunities to demonstrate my faith and love. My actions would not be grace if they were not based on your grace. I do not act out of obedience to law, but obedience to faith and love. I do not act out of external compulsion for from your spirit compelling me form within. Father, may I have true love for you; may I first love you with all my heart, all my mind, all me strength and all my soul; and may I then love my neighbor as myself.

9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: although He was rich, for your sake He became poor, so that by His poverty you might become rich.

I have been so amazingly blessed. While I was a sinner, Christ died for me. He did not consider equality with you something to be grasped, but instead, took on the form of a mere, ordinary man. Although he was king, he became a servant. He became poor so that through him I could have an inheritance beyond measure--eternity with him in heaven. Help me always remember this rich blessing so that I would know my treasure is in heaven. Help me live my life as Jesus did, living for your glory by living in faith of your power and goodness.

10 Now I am giving an opinion on this because it is profitable for you, who a year ago began not only to do something but also to desire it. 11 But now finish the task as well, that just as there was eagerness to desire it, so there may also be a completion from what you have. 12 For if the eagerness is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.

Thank you for being a God who asks of each individual according to what you have given that individual. May I always remember I will stand before you one day to account for my own life. May I live with the type of eagerness and action shown by the Macedonians.

13 It is not that there may be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality — 14 at the present time your surplus is [available] for their need, so that their abundance may also become [available] for your need, that there may be equality.
15 As it has been written:
The person who gathered much did not have too much, and the person who gathered little did not have too little.

Father, once again I see eternal truths in how you dealt with the Hebrews coming out of Egypt. You fed them and cared for them as the roamed the desert. You gave them their daily bread so that each person had just what they needed. Help me remember that I should live in faith that you will provide my daily bread, and you will provide just what I need to fulfill your purposes in my life. May I be a faithful steward of what you entrust with me so that I may be worthy of being trusted with more. Help me to use what you give me, everything, to glorify you. May I not be like the man who had so much he felt he needed nothing more than larger barns to hold his wealth. May I be more like Paul who funded so much of his own ministry so that he would not be a burden on anyone and his personal needs would never be a stumbling block for the evangelism of the world.

May I live in a way that pleases you. Amen.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ps 119

Open my eyes so that I may see
wonderful things in Your law.
(Ps 119:18, CSB)

Father, the heavens declare your glory;
I was made for your glory (Is 43:7).
I pray that through your Spirit, I would do everything for your glory (1 Cor 10:31).

When you brought your people out of Egypt , they complained against you in the desert. But, you showed yourself; your glory appeared before them in a cloud and you met their needs by giving them manna and quail. Not one of them had too little, and those who horded lost what they saved. Through their years in the wilderness, you kept your promises and created a nation out of slaves. Surely you can be trusted in everything, for you are the all-powerful creator and sustainer.

Father, I pray that you would give me a spirit that thirsts for your glory and searches for you through your word. Help me to understand your revelation and to see wonderful things in your word. Help me to see Jesus in every passage for the entire Bible proclaims redemption and deliverance through him (Jn 5:39).

Help me prepare for Sunday's Bible study by studying your word myself. Help me first to understand and apply your truths to my own life. Put your wisdom in my heart so that I would not be like the Pharisees who knew every story, but understood nothing.

Father, I pray for the members of my Life Group. Help us be a family that cares for one another, instructs one another, and keeps one another accountable in our faithfulness to your name.

I pray that you would meet my daily needs. You know what I need before I do, and you promise to work all things for my good. So, Lord, help me trust you completely. Help me see that nothing else is worthy of my total faith other than you, because only you have the complete power to do everything you promise. As Job learned, no plan of yours can be stopped.

Father, I pray that your will would be done and that I can praise your name throughout time. I thank you for your salvation through Jesus in whose name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

John Piper and praying for children

My wife, Jennifer, reads the Desiring God blog and forwards me the things she thinks I'll enjoy. She just sent me the most recent post about John Piper's commitment to pray for his children and grandchildren.

Each day, I pray for Charlotte, including personal prayers for her to grow up to love God and neighbor. I also pray the blessing of Numbers 6:24-26, which I added to the ceramic cross I made for her this Christmas.

The LORD bless you and protect you;
the LORD make His face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the LORD look with favor on you and give you peace.

Psalm 32

Father, I am filled with joy because you have forgiven my rebellion against you. For years, I was your enemy, fighting against your authority. Still, I too often reject you and worship false idols. But, you are faithful to forgive me, and I praise your glorious grace.

Every day, I sin against you. I miss the standard of your perfection. I fall short of your glory. Yet, you do not hold my sin against me. Through Jesus, you have covered my sin. You look at me and see his atonement for my sins, and you do not find me guilty.

I celebrate you and your amazing grace! I am happy beyond comprehension. Yet, I ask you to give me even greater joy. Help me to see even greater joy in your grace. Help me to be so filled with joy that everyone around me sees what you offer. Make me a city on a hill to be a beacon for those around me. Help me show your glory so that more people will one day live eternally in your city.

Father, I know that everything I have comes from you. I thank you for the countless blessings you give me. I thank you for every thing I have, every breath I take. May I live my life for your glory. Help me to take up my cross and follow you. Give me boldness in proclaiming your greatness. Give me strength to resist temptation. Give me the love for others that would shine through me and draw people to you.

Father, I pray for the family of Scott Harvey. This is a difficult time as they deal with his death. His death shows us once again that we are not guaranteed tomorrow on earth. Help us to understand that we must use our time wisely for our eternal investment in your glory.

I also pray again for the family of Kamie Baker. Again, the death of a young parent shows that each day is a gift. Nothing on earth matters more than our eternal relationship with you. I pray that you would be with her family, especially Cheyenne, and bring them comfort that can only come from you. I pray this loss would bring them closer to you. I also ask you to be with family of the people injured in the other car. Heal them physically and spiritually.

And I ask you to continue blessing Josh and Tina West, and their little girl Ella. Help Ella recover and give her strength to grow up healthy and strong. Be with the medical staff and give them all wisdom and compassion. Guide them as they treat Ella.

I pray that you would be with Mike and Meredith. Meet their needs each day and show them that you are faithful. Bless them as they begin to build a marriage founded on you; help them build a marriage that would serve the world as a model of Christ's relationship with his bride, the church.

Bless Rhonda and her children and they begin to prepare for Frank's return home. Be with them as they reconnect with each other and family. Keep them safe and content as they travel.

Bless Leslie and she works through her math class. Help her succeed in school and achieve her goals.

Father, be with Latrelle's father Alec. Give him your mercy and healing. Bless his family.

And father, I ask that you be with those families who lost loved ones in the accidents on I-4 this past week. Be with those who are still in the hospital or have difficult recoveries ahead of them. Help everyone come to know you more through these events. Not even a bird dies apart from your will; I know you have a purpose in everything. May your purpose be done and may your name be glorified.

Father, bless my students as they prepare to finish their semester. For many of them, these are stressful times. They work so hard and are asked to do so much. Give them peace and help them succeed. And be with me as I work to finalize the semester. And bless me as I begin teaching a new subject.

I can approach your throne with confidence because of Jesus who is my advocate. I know that whatever I ask in his name, according to your will, will be done. Amen.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday evening

It is now Saturday evening. As I sat here realizing this, I remembered something from the Packer lectures I am listening to concerning the Puritans. He said Puritans families would spend much of Saturday evening, often with other families, preparing themselves for church on Sunday. That preparation would include prayer, repentence and any other spiritual work that would make them eagar to go to church on Sunday and be with God. Well, I have spent much of Saturday evening preparing my Bible study lesson on Psalm 32, and truth-be-told, I need to focus a little more on preparing myself.


This is why, since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus
and your love for all the saints, I never stop giving thanks for
you as I remember you in my prayers. [I pray] that the God
of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give
you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of
Him. [I pray] that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened
so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are
the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and
what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who
believe, according to the working of His vast strength.
(Eph 1:15-19, CSB)

Father, as I study your word, I see great things. But, I know I am just scratching the surface. Show me great and wonderful things in your word so that I may follow you and praise you more fully. Give me a thirst for your word so that I would seek out your wisdom. Show me the greatness of your word so that I may drink from its wisdom and satisfy my thirst.

At night, I look at the stars and am filled with wonder at your universe. Then, I see pictures from Hubble and Spitzer and realize what I see with my eyes barely begins to tell of your universe. In fact, what I see with my eyes almost hides the real greatness. My eyes allow me to see the beauty of the stars, but my eyes make me think these little white dots are all there is to see. But, in reality, the stars are brilliant furnaces that dwarf the Sun. Many of those stars are galaxies of billions of stars. And there are billions of galaxies too faint for my eyes to see, and yet those galaxies are billions of times brighter than anything I ever see.

In the same way, I fear that sometimes my scratching the surface of your word can lead me to think I have seen what's there. But, whenever I scratch a little deeper, I find more than what I scratched. The greatness grows the more I look. Father, help me to see more and more, to scratch deeper and deeper. Help me to see wondrous things in your word.

And Father, I pray for my church. Give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus. Open the eyes of our hearts than we may know the hope of his calling. Open our hearts to the joy of your inheritance. Open our hearts that we may know more of the immeasurable greatness of your power.

Father, I will walk in your truth; unite my heart to revere the glory of your name (Ps 86:11).

I bring to you all my concerns and desires, for you are the loving father who saved me from my sins; I know you will also give me every other good thing.

Father, I ask that you be with Marsha tomorrow. Give her strength and endurance to run the race. Let her be a witness for you. Let your praise be in her mind as she runs for the good of another.

Father, I ask that you continue to prepare Frank and Rhonda. Bless them.

Father, be with the many students who are getting ready to take their mid-term and final exams. Many students are stressed; give them strength and comfort. Be with the teachers during this stressful time as so many papers need to be graded and decisions must be made.

Father, I heard today that Cheyanne's mother died in a car accident. I cannot imagine the pain this must be for a 7th grader. I can only ask that you comfort her and let her know you love her. Give her peace that can only come from you. And somehow use this for your glory and the good of everyone touched by this death.

And father, I pray that during tomorrow's Bible study you will use me to teach your word, but that most importantly, your word will shine through anything I say. I pray that people will leave the study knowing you a little better and praising you for the forgiveness of sins. Those of us who have unconfessed sin, I pray that your hand would be heavy enough on us to bring us back to you. I pray that when we need it, you would use the bridle to pull us back. But, I also pray that we would be sheep, not mules. I pray that we would hear our shepherd's voice and come to him (Jn 10). I pray that we would follow him with complete trust and rest comfortably under his care.

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice,
you righteous ones;
shout for joy,
all you upright in heart.
(Ps 32:11, CSB)

I ask all these things in the name of my shepherd Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Without faith it is impossible to please God.

"Now without faith it is impossible to please God,
for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists
and rewards those who seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6, CSB)

Father, I believe in you. I believe in your word. I believe your promises; I believe you have the will and power to fulfill all you have promised and purposed for me. I believe you will never leave me nor forsake me. I believe that you have assured me of an eternal inheritance. But sometimes, father, my faith fails me.

In those times when my faith is weak, I pray that your Spirit would build faith in me. In those times when my faith is weak, I pray that you would keep me close and secure my faith. I pray that in those times, you would show your power, authority and love so greatly that my faith would be encouraged and deepened.

Let me put my every need, every desire, every moment in your care. Let me trust myself fully to you. "Everything that does not come from faith is sin" (Ro 14:23). Let me live my life--every moment of it--in faith that you are in control. Let me trust myself to you. I confess my weak faith and praise you for your work to build faith in me. You give me the confidece to face uncertainty with joy because I know you are in control; to you, nothing is uncertain.

You welcome me when I bring my hopes and stresses to you. "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Heb 4:16).

To God be the glory. Amen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

full of compassion and grace

Father, Creator of heaven and earth. Your majesty surrounds and fills your creation. Your glory engulfs your creation. You created the universe and set in place the laws the govern it (Jer 33:25). The earth is yours and everything in it (Ps 24:1). May all creation sing to your praise.

But father, through our sin, we have brought a plague upon the earth. The entire creation longs to be rescued (Ro 8:22). You created the earth and said it was good. You created man as the culmination of creation, and you said creation was very good. But, we sinned and brought disaster to ourselves and all creation.

Still, you did not leave us in that trap. We must all die, but you have worked so that we will not remain cast out from you (2 Sam 14:14). You sent Jesus to die for us. You raised him from the dead and gave us a new birth. You adopted us as children and gave us an eternal inheritance. May your church rejoice and delight in the amazing grace you have shown us. May we love you fully and live with unconstrained thanks for your greatness, your grace and mercy.

And father, may we turn our thanks into action for your creation. We live in a world where millions of people die every year because they lack clean water. We live in a world where malnutrition takes the lives of millions more. And still more lives are taken by simple diseases that could be easily prevented or cured if people had access to the care they needed.

I confess the sins I and so many in your church have committed by turning a blind eye to the needs of others. Awaken us to the cause of suffering people. Give us a heart that breaks over the suffering of others. Give us a heart that rejects the gluttonous and selfish focus in and around us. Give us a passion for helping those in such desperate need. Let us not be conformed to the pattern of the world any longer, but transform our minds to know your will (Ro 12:2).

Father, I ask that you bless and magnify the ministries of Christian organizations that serve your causes in the developing world. Groups such as Samaritan's Purse, Blood:Water Mission, World Vision, Compassion International, World Hunger Fund and others work to take your love across the globe. Help these groups find ways to use their resources efficiently and effectively. And put in the hearts of your people to provide the resources these groups need to do their work. And father, send your Spirit ahead of these groups to prepare the hearts of people to see your love in action through these ministries. Bless these groups so that they can save lives, but most importantly, bless people around the world by saving their souls.

And father, here in our own neighborhoods, there is great need. In my community, there are illegal workers struggling to survive. There are lonely people looking for hope. There are hurt people trying to heal. Give your people the strength, faith and wisdom to reach out to those in need in our own neighborhoods. May we preach good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners, open the eyes of the blind and liberty for the oppressed (Lk 4:18).

Father, let us be a light to the spiritually blind around us. I pray you would open the hearts of my parents, Nick, Mark, Rick, Caroline, Jeri, Dawn, Frank, and Stacy. Show them your grace and draw them to you. Help me and other Christians be a witness for you to those who are still outcast from you.

I lift up to you again the desires of the friends and family. Give Mike wisdom to make the right decisions. Bring Frank home safe. Give comfort and healing to Nancy, Debra, Melanie and Ella.

Give your church wisdom and spiritual understanding so that we may know your will and bear fruit. May we glorify you along with all creation.

I pray in the name of my glorious savior Jesus. Amen.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

church history is my family history

I was just re-reading a little bit of Mark Dever’s blog series on Where’d all these Calvinists come from? and I found #7 on his top 10 list was J.I. Packer and Knowing God. Well, having read Knowing God, I can say the book did impact the way I viewed my relationship with God, especially his description of the Christian faith’s unique view of God as “Father.” In addition, re-reading this blog is timely as I am currently listening to audio recordings of a course on History and Theology of the Puritans that Packer taught at Reformed Theological Seminary (downloaded from iTunes U). Having gone through public schools where I was taught, through The Scarlet Letter, The Crucible, and a slew of history courses, that Puritans were…well, Puritanical, hypocritical and a little diabolical, this course has been interesting and enlightening. And reading on this blog that Packer is in his 80s made me remember my seminary classes with Daniel Holcomb, a man who is not nearly that old, but still old enough to retire. The great thing is that these men haven’t retired. They continue to teach those who would carry on their love for historical theology.


Oh Father, how great you are to let me, a sinner, call you Father! How great you are to forget my sins and welcome me into your kingdom and family. May I never get over the joy of knowing that you are my God and my Father. You not only rule my life, but you do so with the loving grace and guidance of a father who wants me to grow and mature. You work all things for my good.

And Father, I thank you for the blessing you have given me and so many others through the ministries of men such as Drs Packer and Holcomb. These men have truly dedicated their lives to your glory—not as monks cloistered away from the world—but as evangelists sent out into the world. These men have helped me see church history as more than names and dates, but as a history of my church family. I can trace back my biological lineage a few generations, but thanks to church historians, I can see my spiritual lineage for centuries. I am able to rejoice in my heritage because church historians keep that heritage alive and flame the fire in the hearts of others.

I pray your church will awaken to the glory of our history so that we can see how your hand—your Spirit—has been working to guide and nurture your church throughout the ages. And father, I pray that you would do great things in our church today so that future generations would be able to see how you worked in us.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mark Dever and Col 1:9-12

A while back I went to my church library and asked if they had any books on expository preaching. One of the ladies there said she thought she had one at home, and she'd bring it in. She brought me, The Deliberate Church, by Mark Dever. It wasn't at all what I was looking for, but boy was it a good read.

One of Dever's suggestions was to pray for our churches like Paul prayed for churches. The prayers of Paul for churches, recorded in his epistles, can provide a fertile foundation for our prayers for our churches. So, here goes:

For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven't stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing [to Him], bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints' inheritance in the light. (Col 1:9-12, CSB)

Father, no one can build a church but you. The church is your church, founded by Jesus, given to Jesus and filled with your people. I am blessed beyond measure to have the chance to join with other believers in a community--a family--where we can unite in our faith, encourage one another, strengthen one another, teach one another.
I pray that you would bless my church and churches around the world; fill us with the knowledge of your will; fill us with all wisdom and spiritual understanding.
Lead us so that we would walk in a way worthy of Jesus; give us a spirit that we could please our Lord.
Bear fruit in us that we might shine the light of Jesus throughout the world. Let your churches, throughout the world, shine in the darkness like the stars shine through the universe. There is no place in the universe where the light of stars does not reach. Let the light of my church, and your churches everywhere, shine across this globe so that no place on earth would be left without a light to show the way to you.
Strengthen your church with your invincible power.
Fill your people with joy so that we might shout to you in fulfillment, rejoicing in you above all.
What a gift you have given us, adopting us as your children, giving us an inheritance that never ends.
I pray, in the name of Jesus, that you be glorified through the praise and fruit of your church, and that your will be done.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

a prayer for a church

The Redeeming the Time blog has posted a prayer made for their church and I found it an interesting read. The prayer rejoices over the church's 35-year history. So much had happened in just a few decades.

I am a member of a church that recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Maybe I should take some time to learn more about my church's history, reflect on God's work through that time, and praise God that I am now able to enjoy the fruits of so many saints. Perhaps one day, a hundred years from now, future members will look back at these days, at my time, and see God's hand was at work in us. If only God should so use us and bless us.

from Psalm 145 and a newspaper

It's Sunday morning and I am back from teaching a Bible study on Psalm 145. And I just read a Baptist Press article on the spiritual changes at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.


I celebrate your name God; you are my king.
Let me celebrate your glory always, forever.
You are great and mighty, loving and majestic, just and righteous.
You have been praised through the generations,
up to me,
let me continue your praises and pass them on to the future.
I want to praise you and make your glorious wonders known.
I want to share with joy the amazing nature of your works.
Let all your people praise you; let all the earth sing with joy for you.

Your greatness is beyond measure, more than any human mind can understand.
Let us place our trust in you because you are greater than any power.
I see so much I don't understand in the world;
in those cases, I must place my trust in your understanding,
in your greatness and goodness, in your unstoppable plan.

Before time, you planned creation; you planned to make your glory known.
You made Adam and planned to give him Eve.
And you planned to rescue them from their sin.
You have always had a chosen people.
You chose Abraham and gave him a nation.
You worked in the life of Job; you showed your power through his faith.
You chose Moses to bring your people out of Egypt.
You chose to carry them through the desert into the Promised Land.
You chose to save Daniel when he said death was little to him because he had you. And you made your greatness known to the king through your work.
You chose Jonah to carry your message to Nineveh; you were patient and loving with Jonah as he fled in the opposite direction. You were patient and loving with all the people of Nineveh; you warned them and heard their repentance.
You showed Jonah and all your people that you desire mercy more than sacrifice (Hosea 6:6)
Let your people, in view of your mercy, worship you by offering their bodies as a living sacrifice. Transform us show that we may know you (Ro 12:1).

From the beginning, from the sin of Adam, you promised salvation to your chosen people.
You gave us Immanuel.
You gave us a child who was human and God.
He lived the life we cannot live and died in our place.
But, you didn't leave him to rot in the grave.
His body did not see decay.
You raised Jesus from the grave and raised all your people with him.

You took us, a rebellious, unfaithful people, and you brought us to you.
You went out in search of your sheep.
You welcomed back those Prodigal children who flaunted their independence in ignorance.
You saved me, and I cannot help but be amazed.
You are truly more awesome, more glorious, more loving, more forgiving, more just, more righteous, more powerful, more wise than me.
I put myself in your control; I am your humble and joyful servant.
Help me to submit when my flesh wants to rebel.

May your praise be part of my life that the world would see you in me.
May I be a city on a hill, a lamp on a stand, so the world sees your glory.
Give me strength and boldness to proudly, faithfully, continually, effectively tell the world of your greatness.
Put in me a desire to share your wonders.
And send out harvesters into the field because the harvest is plentiful.

Father, I thank you for the great testimony of the missionaries in my life.
I thank you for their courage to go into dangerous locations.
Their faithfulness in following you, and your faithfulness is saving people through their work is a testimony for me to see.
I pray for M is Asia, who brings your name to the Muslim people. I pray for those who have come to know you through her ministry. Bless them and make them fruitful.
I praise you and your saints who have made the JESUS film available in 1,004 languages, truly bringing your good news to the ends of the earth. Be with those who are working to translate it into even more languages. Be with those who take the film and your good news out among the nations. Bring people from every nation to know you through this project and through the work of your church around the world.
I pray for Ionel who has faithfully served in various locations, but now lacks the funds to continue in his current ministry. I pray that you would meet his needs because there is nothing that stands in your way.
I thank you for the great testimony of George Muller who lived his life to show you can be trusted. You met his needs when he silently prayed to only you. Time after time, you met the needs of the children in his care. Time after time, you put in place answers to prayers before he even made them. You truly are a God who sees our needs even before we see our own needs.

Father, you are gracious and compassionate to your people.
May we be a blessing to you; and may we be a blessing to your world as we tell about you.
Your kingdom will last forever. Hallelujah.

You are a great help to those who suffer; you raise up those who bow down.
Father, I praise you for the work you have done in Angola, through your servant Warden Cain.
How great a testimony to your fame it is when an entire prison, the worst prison in our nation, becomes a place where you are known above all.

Truly, you set the captives free--not from the razor wires that encamp them, but from the spiritual darkness that enslaves them. Murderers and rapists turn their lives to you and become missionaries for you! Like in the life of Paul, you show that the most awful sins can be covered by the blood of Jesus. And you show that in Christ, we are all one. We were all sinners, we were all murderers in your eyes; for he who breaks one law breaks them all. You demand perfection. Nothing unclean can enter heaven and we were all unclean. Yet, while we were dead in our sins, you saved us. Through our faith in Jesus, we are saved, so that none can boast. It is you and you alone that deserves all the praise and glory and honor. You are our king and savior. You are our hope.

Father, I pray that the missionaries sent out from Angola, two by two, will change prisons around Louisiana. I pray that the truth that you change hearts, even the hearts of the most hardened criminals, would spread through the justice system. I pray that prisons around the nation would open their doors to you and your missionaries. I pray for the new seminary program in Mississippi State Penitentiary. May it bring you even more glory.

And I ask you to awaken in your people a thirst for righteousness and justice, that we would demand integrity in our justice system. I am thankful for the work of Project Innocence and so many people who have worked to right so many wrongs in our legal system. If only your people would rise up and demand accountability and truth, fairness and justice in our legal system. We are active in some political causes, but your people largely ignore injustices in our society. Forgive us this sin. Instill in us a love for the innocent--yes, we must fight for the innocent who are not yet born--but let us also fight for the innocent who languish in prison. It was a group of pastors who wrote a newspaper article condemning Martin Luther King Jr as he sat in a Birmingham Jail. Too often, your people forget the truth in your justice. Let us not ignore, anymore, the undeniable reality that countless people languish in jail for crimes they did not commit, and they have been forgotting by society. And let us not forget that while they may be countless to us, they are each known by you. Be with them and help them know that you are with those who are oppressed; bring them to rest in you and find their freedom in you regardless of the confines around them.

I also bring before you the needs of my friends who ask for the prayers of your saints.

Bless Nancy and bring her good through the medical tests she is undergoing.

Bless Jennifer and I in our building of our new home. Show us your faithfulness to meet our needs. Help us use our home for your glory, and no matter what, we first and foremost ask that your will be done.

Bless Jennifer's mother Debra, who will have surgery on her foot on the 24th. Heal her of the troubles she has had for so long. Show her that you truly are great--you can meet our needs--and that you are also compassionate.

Bless Frank and Rhonda. Bring Frank home safe. Bless their marriage as it can be difficult to spend so much time apart and then be brought back together. Let Rhonda demonstrate you through her relationship with her husband. Let her life be a testimony to you. Open Frank's eyes to you and save him. Again I pray that you would bless Frank's work in Iraq. He has spent so much of himself helping to bring safety to that nation; he has worked so hard to give the leaders of Iraq the skills they need to lead their nation in justice and safety. He wants desperately to see his work be successful. Give him success, but also help him know that it is not through his own strength, but through you that everything is accomplished (Dt 8).

Bless the Yungmann's as they make decisions that face them. Meet their needs and give them wisdom.

Bless the teachers who are working hard to prepare students. Bless them as they work toward the FCAT, but keep in their minds that teaching is not about the test, but about giving students the chance to reach their potential and fulfill the gifts and talents you have given them. May families come together with parents encouraging their children to learn and grow. May students come to school prepared and desiring to learn.

I know so many students come from broken families, families with few resources, or places with a host of other problems. But, you are above all these problems and can meet any challenge we face because you cannot be challenged by anything. Restore families, build our communities. Put it in the hearts of your people to share their resources with those who have less so that students can have the clothes they need, the food they need, the encouragement they need to grow in wisdom and stature. And may Christian teachers make an unmistakable difference in the lives of children as they model your love, grace, compassion, truth and glory to their students and colleagues. May your glory shine in the love your people show to others.

Be with Melanie White in this horrible time for her and her family. I cannot imagine the trials they face with this disease. I ask first that you would heal her. Show your glory, that you still do miracles. But, most importantly, your will be done; whatever happens, make your glory known; show yourself to be greater than any human trial, any disease. We follow your words in James 5:14 that those who are sick should ask your people to pray to you. Raise Melanie up according to your plan and wisdom.

In the same way, we pray for the family of Scott Harvey. Be with them in their time of sorrow. Comfort them. Show your compassion. And use this time to show your glory and bring your good news to any among that family who do not know you.

And be with the family of Danny Norris. They go through a very different course of suffering, but you understand their needs as well. You have a plan for their lives. Comfort them and bring them rest in you.

I pray for the salvation of Mark. Reach into his heart, take out his heart of stone, put in a heart of flesh. Write your word on his heart and save him. And I pray for the unspoken needs of Steve, as well. You know all our needs, and you work all things for our good.

You are a God who saves people. I ask you to show grace and bring salvation to my parents. Open their minds and hearts to you. Let me be a witness to them for you, but also bring other saints into their lives to share your glory. And I ask you to grant your grace and salvation to Jennifer's brother Nick. Show him you love him; show him the greatness of your goodness.

Father, I praise you for hearing my call to you. I praise you for your strength to answer prayer and your concern to give us all we need. May your name be shown great. May you be glorified. Your will be done.

And I ask all this in the name of Jesus.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Is God busy?

Today I listened to a sermon on prayer from John Piper. He mentioned the view some people have that "God has better things to do than listen to my prayers." He said, while this sounds like humility--the person sees themselves as unimportant--it is really arrogance. It is saying God gets busy, that he can only do so much, that he cannot hear a regular individual person's prayer and take care of the rest of the world. On the other hand, if we believe God is all powerful, then we must believe hearing our prayers and the prayers of billions of other people, and directing the affairs of governments, and deciding when a single sparrow dies, all combined together, still equal less work for God than the work required for a person to take a breath. And if God is that powerful, we should take every issue, every problem, every concern, every hope, every praise we have to him.


Father, I thank you and praise you for being you--for being completely powerful. I praise you for being willing to take my concerns upon yourself. I thank you for being so great and so loving that you can take my problems and that you want to take my problems.

And father, I thank you for the great blessing of teachers, such as John Piper, who help me to know you better. And I thank you for the blessing of iTunes that allows me to hear teaching from all around the world. I know every good thing comes from you.

Thank you, in the name of Jesus, through whom you have given me all things. Amen.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Jan 4, 2007

Father, I celebrate you; I find my joy in you.
Your name is greater than anything else. Help me to always put my trust in you.
You have made the heavens, the entire world and everything in it.
You made the earth and every living thing on the earth.
You made the water that sustains life and the sun that warms us and gives us energy.
You made the stars that shine for your glory every night.
All of creation testifies to your power and majesty.
You are the one and only God; you are the only one who deserves all the credit, all the praise, and the honor. Praise God. Hallelujah.
You chose Abram and gave him a new name.
You chose him and gave him a son.
You chose Isaac as the son of the promise.
You chose Jacob and named him Israel,
from his sons you made a great nation,
and from that nation you blessed the world,
even me.
You fulfill all your promises;
you are faithful and righteous.
Give me the faith to put all my trust in you.
You are a loving, merciful and gracious God.
You heard the cry of your people in Egypt and you saved them.
You heard the confessions of David and forgave him.
You heard the prayers of Zechariah and you fulfilled him.
I know you answer the prayers of those who love you.
You took out my heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh.
And I know you will continue the good work you started in me.
Help me to follow you, to love you, to want to see you glorified more than anything else.
Father, you forgave me of so much when you saved me, and you continue to forgive me and save me from sin. So often, I ignore your wisdom; I ignore your glory; I pretend I know better than you. But, more and more, I see your greatness and learn from your discipline and grace.
Every day I am amazed by my sinful nature--the temptations my heart looks toward, my own desires to taste forbidden fruit. Help me resist temptation. Keep me from temptation. Let me see sin as the evil it is; help me hate sin as you do.
Thank you for your grace and mercy.

Father, I pray for the needs of those around me.

Bless Leslie as she returns to school for another semester. Help her be successful in school; help her learn and grow in wisdom, and help her use her education for your glory. Help her be a witness for you at school. Help her show your greatness through her work. Help her balance her school demands with the rest of her life. Because, you give sleep to those you love (Ps 127:2).

Father, keep Frank safe in the last days before he returns home again. Bless his work in Iraq; help him be successful in training those who hope to restore order and bring safety to that nation. You are a God of order, not chaos; that nation needs your blessing. Give Rhonda continued strength as she bears so much responsibility at home and looks forward to his return. And help Rhonda be a blessing to Frank and a witness for your love. Open Frank's heart to his own need for you. Change his heart, Lord. Bring him to know you.

Father, bless Greg and Alice and their families. Be with Allen as he prepares to leave for the Army. Minister to him. And I pray for the unspoken needs of Greg and Alice. You know our needs before we do. You know everything about us. So, I pray you will bless them and minister to them; show them your greatness and your love. Grant their prayers in a way that they can't help but see your power and praise your name.

I pray for Marsha's father who fell and was injured. Give him a fast and healthy recovery. Show him your compassion. And I pray that Marsha would be able to use this time to minister to her father and demonstrate your love to her whole family. Also, I pray for a healthy and successful marathon for Marsha. Keep her strong. Keep her safe. And may she bring you glory through everything she does.

Father, I also ask that you bless our Life Group. Help us grow in our unity together. Help us be a community, a body, of believers that ministers to each other, edifies each other and instructs each other. Help each one of us--Mike and Latrelle, Charlie, Mike and Meredith, Rhonda, Greg and Alice, Clay and Julie, Robert and Sandy, Marsha, JR and Keri, Steve and Angela, Frank and Leslie, Tim and Lisa, Freddie and Kathy, and so many more--help us grow in our knowledge of you and our love for you. Bless our entire church. Bless or pastors, Rick and Darrol. Bless our great church staff that ministers for us in so many often unseen ways. Grant our leadership the wisdom to lead us toward you. Grant our congregation the wisdom to worship you in truth and love.

And father, I pray that you would bless Jennifer and I as we raise Charlotte. Help us as parents model your love. Bless out marriage because you ordained marriage as a symbol of Christ's relationship with the church. Help me love Jennifer and I love my own body; give me the wisdom to see her as a loving and wonderful gift from you.

And father grant me the wisdom to see great things in your word. Help me understand your word and teach your word. And help me live your word.

I pray that you be glorified in all things and in all things your purposes will be accomplished.

I ask all these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Starting fresh

Father, you are a great and glorious God, who created everything from the largest galaxy to the smallest parts of each atom. You are above everything and yet you care about me, a single person. You loved me before I loved you. You saved me from my own self. You have adopted me as a son and given me the chance to speak to you with confidence as my father.

I pray that I will remember the gift you have given me in the chance to speak with you. As a sinful human, my nature is to forget your blessings. You saved the Hebrew people from slavery, yet in the desert they forgot your works. But, you still led them and blessed them. In the Promised Land, you pushed out their enemies and gave them a land flowing with milk and honey, but they forgot you. Yet, you still blessed them. You chose David as a king and gave him more than he could imagine, but he forgot you. Still, you forgave him and blessed him. And Solomon did the same, but you continued. Throughout generations, we take your blessings and forget you. I have done the same countless times. But you will never leave me nor forsake me. You are faithful even when I am not.

I pray that your Spirit would continue to draw me closer to you so that I would forget you less and less until I am with you always. And I pray that this blog would be a tool to help me record and review my prayers. I pray that over time I will be able to look back and see your faithfulness in answered prayers. I pray that over time, this blog will become a tool for keeping me faithful in talking with you so that I could not worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let my requests be made known to you.

And I pray these things in the name of Jesus, because I know that if you would give your own son for me, then you will be faithful to give me everything else I need. Amen.