Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Seeing Eye to Eye With Jesus

posted by Mark and Jill

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light.”        ~Matthew 6:22

About a decade ago as I was helping our son Michael bundle up on a cool Fall Minnesota day before he hopped on the school bus, he told me about a gentleman that came to read to his 1st grade class the previous day. He talked about him like he was a believer in Jesus (it was a public school), so I asked him the question: “Do you think he is a Christian?” “Yes!” was his ready reply. “How do you know?” I queried.  “It’s easy to tell,” he said. “I see it in his eyes.”

Michael could see the light of Jesus in this stranger’s eyes. What do strangers see in my eyes today? My neighbors, the clerk at Walmart, my spouse, my co-workers, or my friends?

Dear Savior,

I desire the light of Your gentle countenance to stream from my eyes when I encounter others today. Your eyes shone with love and compassion when you walked this earth. May people, young and old, see that You are alive in me. May the beauty and strength of your great love be alive and well within me, and may it permeate to each person that I meet, for each one is loved by you with an everalsting love. 

Amen

“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”  ~2 Chronicles 16:9

A Prayer for our Children in School

posted by Mark and Jill

“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” Philippians 1:9

Paul prayed this for his beloved spiritual children. Let us join him in praying for the children in our lives as they embark on a new school year.

Our Father,

You are the Father of our children, the Good Shepherd of our lambs. We ask that above all else our children would grow in their capacity to give and receive love. Love is the law of the universe, for You ARE Love. And you distilled every good law ever established down to this:  Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.

As they grow in their capacity to love You, their King, and to love others as they love themselves (and may they have a healthy love for themselves), you will grant our children greater cognitive abilities, greater knowledge and understanding. We ask that our children wouldn’t go through the motions of learning, taking tests, and forgetting what they’ve learned. But that you would instill in them a hunger for knowledge, an unquenchable thirst to understand how the world works and glimpses of the gifts you have given them that they can offer to the world. Give them great joy in the journey of their education, and fill them with Your love, encouragement, and affirmation. Protect them from every harmful influence in the Mighty Name of Jesus!

Amen

Learning How to Live in the Moment

posted by Mark and Jill

“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”  

~Colossians 4:2

“Mom and Dad,” said our son one day last year when we were visiting him in Santa Barbara where he was attending college, “I think you guys are great, but it seems like you’re always talking about the future. It’s like you don’t live in the moment.”

Mark and I are both Intuitives on the Myers Briggs scale. We love looking ahead. We love dreaming up possibilities. But Matthew was right. We spend so much time dreaming about the future that we often forget to enjoy the NOW. Since then we have been very intentional about enjoying the present moment.

This Scripture in Colossians offers a great strategy to learn to live in the moment, staying on-track, and being intentional with our prayers, but it can work in every area of life. The secret is this:  thanksgiving. Constantly breathing out thanks to God for the little things keeps us enjoying the moment and our lives.

Thanks, Matt, for the course correction. We are grateful.

Father,

Grant me a grateful heart. Help me to live in the NOW with You, breathing in Your presence and breathing out my thanks.

Amen

Search Me. Giving Your Heart a Fresh Start Daily

posted by Mark and Jill

Search me, Oh God and know my heart.

Test me and know my anxious thoughts. 

See if there be any offensive way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.

~King David, Psalm 139

Something was smelly in our fridge the past week, and try as I may, I couldn’t find it. Hiding on a shelf in the door was a rotten hard-boiled egg in a plastic bag. Keeping on top of rotting leftovers is a job you just have to stay on top of. The same is true of our souls. Thoughts, feelings, actions, and words that aren’t blessed and don’t align with God’s love can fester and rot, and soon people around us can almost smell it. Taking out the trash we hold in our hearts can be a daily habit. We have a receptacle outside of ourselves:  it’s the cross. The cross is, as Mark calls it, “the toxic waste dump of the universe.”

It’s there I take my bad attitudes, my eyeball rolling, my critical tongue, my angry words, my inner whining child, my unforgiving inner brat, my silent cursing, and untamed imaginations. I acknowledge my sin, take it to Jesus, and leave it with Him. I depart that God-forsaken place forgiven and cleansed. Jesus gives me His love to replace the sin I forsook. He keeps it real simple for us:  Love God and Love Others. I’m reminded to replace my bad attitudes, critical spirit, anger, complaining, and unforgiveness with His unending love which manifests in real, sincere kindness. He can make me a kind person! I can change through the powerful force of His love.

My Father,

“Search me, Oh God and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any offensive way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”

[Quiet yourself before your loving God and see if He brings to mind a need for change. Then take a load of trash to the dump, acknowledging your sin and asking forgiveness. Replace that sin with a new habit: gratitude to God.]

The way I’ve chosen isn’t everlasting; it feels like death. So I die to death today and live for life! I receive Your great love, forgiveness, joy, and all the Fruit of the Holy Spirit.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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