Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Speaking Hard Truths… In Love

posted by Mark and Jill

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. Ephesians 4:15

This month we have prayed for marriages, particularly in the area of communication. God’s Word instructs us to “speak the truth,” but it doesn’t stop there. The added words, “in love” are key. It’s easy to tell the truth. It’s easy to say, “You stink,” and mean it from our hearts. But to find a way to speak those words in a loving way is a different matter. Let’s ask God to show us how. Jesus was skilled in this, as He is in every virtue. He will show us how to communicate truth in loving ways.


So often I spout out things that hurt my spouse. They may be true, and they may even need to be said, but the way in which I say them render them useless because of the pain they cause.  Clothed in love, the same message can be received to bring change and redemption. So I cry, help me out here! I need your love to cover me, clothe me, and inspire me as I speak the truth. Give me understanding. I ask for discernment to know what needs to be said and when, and what can be left unsaid until you give me the cue. Help me to leave it on the top shelf of your storeroom, out of my reach until further instructions. I am yours. My mouth is yours. May I be your mouthpiece, your spokesperson not a useless, harmful instrument.

Make me an instrument of your peace. And truth. And love.

In Jesus’ Name and by His Grace. Amen.  

We’ve designed a process called a Marriage Intensive that specifically focuses on renewing your vision and returning you to joy in your purpose and life together. The first step you can take is to simply learn more. This might just change your life. Click here:

If You Dare, Make This Your Prayer

posted by Mark and Jill

Here I am Lord, send me. (Isaiah 6:8)

Prayer is a gift, isn’t it?! We connect in simple words to the Creator of creation. That alone is astounding. We stand together to offer up our praise and our needs, and here we discover truly what human relationships are intended for. It’s an honor to pray TO God WITH others.

It’s here we learn that to be in relationship we must first learn to be a servant.

His Servant.

Isaiah came to accept this. It wasn’t easy. As an influential leader in Israel Isaiah served his nation by delivering God’s messages. The role brought him great authority. But one day he actually encountered God’s presence. His certainty about his noble purpose and inspiring vision melted away. That experience realigned his identity. He didn’t own his life any more than he had chosen to be born. All he could do was respond, “Here I am Lord, send me!”

As Jesus would later express it, “Father, not my will but yours…”

If you dare, make this your prayer.


Here I am. I am not hiding. Send me on the assignment you choose. I am your servant; you are my Leader. Send me… to speak up at the risk of losing face, to invest my assets for returns I can only cash in eternity, to give away my talents in secret, to lose my life while the battle still seems hopeless. Here I am…


Before I can be trusted to wield the blessings, authority, power and resources of God – this IS his intent – I must come forward with hands raised in surrender. I’m not first a servant leader; I am first a servant submitting to a Leader.


A Prayer for a Renovated Soul

posted by Mark and Jill

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me
now let me rejoice.
Psalm 51:7

The bad news comes before the Good News. It must. But now we turn that corner.

We ask God for blessing, but we first recognize that compromises within us can block blessing. Today we reach out to God to receive pardon and transformation – the Good News!

Psalm 51 has a backstory. It is the prayer of King David after he’s confronted with his guilt as an adulterer and murderer. David had God’s blessing, but his choices crippled his capacity to receive it. When David’s sin was exposed he had a choice: Fight or flight, or fall in submission. He chose submission. Psalm 51 is his plea for a renovated soul and our model for what to do in the face of shame.

Read Psalm 51 as your prayer, with your own backstory in mind. God reveals secrets in our hearts, but he also cures them, when we submit and ask. Take the journey through this prayer carefully. With David’s words as your own go to the place David himself could not: The Cross of Jesus. Carry compromise, habit, addiction, co-dependence, self centeredness, self reliance – whatever your crutch – to the one toxic waste dump of the universe – the Cross.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.

Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit[
d] from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
Psalm 51:10-12.

Ask your partner to join you in this confession. We need to hear God’s will in the voice of another announcing our absolution. So share your confession, then ask them to tell you the Truth, the Good News… “You are free and clear, in Jesus!”

And now that we’ve covered the basics, the fun begins!


How Can God Know Us? Search Me!

posted by Mark and Jill

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  
Psalm 139:23-24. 

Nothing hinders God’s love; but I can hinder my own capacity to accept grace. Today we admit this and pray for the remedy. Issues within me can block the gifts that the Holy Spirit has to offer.

How can our all-knowing God choose to know my heart only when I invite him? Jesus warns that one day he will say to some, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”It seems that God gives humans the right to invite or reject intimacy. Our hearts are sealed, unless we open them.

We invite you to pray this powerful invitation, and as you do, pause and wait for God’s response. He will respond. He will shine light on motives, fears, an inclination to preserve life at any cost. Details will come clear.

As they do, take note. Then ask God for yet another blessing: the gift of forgiveness, transformation, and new direction, to “lead me along the path of everlasting life.” 

My Father,

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.


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