Prayer, Plain and Simple

God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)


How do we begin to pray for the victims and their families in the recent shooting in Las Vegas? Like sorting through the wreckage, our hearts begin to sort through all the trauma, and we hardly know how to pray and where to start. Let’s begin by praying specifically a simple, heart-felt prayer over the victims of this senseless act of violence.* Let’s begin by praying through some of the list of names of those whose lives were taken.


Help us to know how to pray. Show us, Father. You grieve along with us.

Father, we lift up all the victims to You. For Denise Salmon Burditus, we pray for her husband, Tony. Please ease his burden today, comfort him, and walk with him in his sorrow.  He was with Denise at the concert, and he must be overwhelmed with heartache. Please bring others around him to counsel and comfort his  heart.

Lord, we ask for comfort for Carrie Barnette’s family, friends, as well as her co-workers at Disney. Grant them peace this moment. You care about the sparrow that falls, so we know that You also care for Carrie’s beloved dog, Lucy. Settle all the hearts and minds of those who loved Carrie. We thank You that You catch every tear they shed.

Jennifer Parks was also at the concert with her husband, Bobby, who was wounded in the shooting. Father, we lift up Bobby to You now. Comfort and heal His aching soul. We ask You to also comfort their two children as well as Ms. Parks’ kindergarten class, her volleyball athletes, and the entire Westside Union School District where she worked.

Christiana Duarte’s family is heart-broken, Lord, over this traumatic and senseless violence, leaving them mourning the loss of their beloved Christiana, missing her lovely voice and kind-hearted, giving soul. Bring them together in this time of sadness and loss, as they comfort one another.

Victor Link perished despite his friends’ efforts to remove him to safety and revive him. Father, be with those friends as they grieve. Hold his son, Christian, close to Your side as well as his partner, Lynne.

Lord, we lift up the family and friends of  Dana Gardner to you, especially for her daughter, Kayla, who is grieving such a terrible loss. Be with her co-workers in San Bernadino, and fill them with the knowledge of Your love and comfort. 

Stacee Etcheber leaves behind her husband Vincent and two beloved children. Please send Your compassion and comfort to them. Flood their hearts with Your presence. 

Father, these are just a few of those who perished; when we take into consideration all the people impacted by this event, the magnitude of bereavement is overwhelming. Be with all the families and friends of each victim. Send them comfort through people and through Your Holy Spirit.

In Jesus’ Name

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* Source of information:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:14)


Our daughter ran the Twin Cities Marathon this past weekend. It was her first, and what a joyful experience it was to watch her! We picked her up at her house at 6:30 in the morning, took her to the start of the race, went and grabbed breakfast and headed to mile 6 to cheer and shout and jump up and down, along with thousands of others in the “huge crowd of witnesses.” We proceeded to 5 other spots along the course of the run, then sprinted to the finish line (literally having to run over a mile because parking was so congested). We got there completely out of breath, and both our phones were dead from tracking her progress all along the way, taking pictures and videos, sending them to friends, and keeping our GPS going to know the best way to get to the next destination.

So once we reached the finish line, we had no way of knowing where she was or how in the world we would find her in the mob of people around us. What do you do when you’re stuck? Pray. We did, and right before our eyes, our daughter’s dear friend appeared, took us directly to our daughter, where we all had a good cry, and all was well.

This race reminded me so much of life, which must be why Paul uses the same analogy in his writing. One of the greatest take-aways from the exhilarating day was simply this: it is pure joy to cheer others on. As we were waiting for our daughter to come by on her run, we rooted and shouted for everyone else in the race. We could see how our smiles, our shouts of encouragement, and our joy for their progress actually gave them strength and energy to keep one foot in front of the other.

Let’s pray to do this everyday: to be people who, here on earth, join the greater crowd in heaven and encourage and empower the people we do life with, that they would succeed and arrive at their destinations, that they would feel valued, and that our friendship would propel them forward in their destinies. Pray this plain and simple prayer to that end…


You know what it feels like to be tripped-up by people, criticized, and betrayed. Like You, I’ve felt the pain of bitter words of discouragement and hate. People like this don’t help me along in my destiny and calling, rather, they make me want to quit. That’s not the person I want to be.

Please forgive me for times I have not been encouraging to others, for times I have failed in relationships. Heal those I have hurt along the way. In the same way, I forgive everyone who has caused me to doubt my ability to run my race, everyone who has impeded my course, and each person who has wished for my failure. I release all bitterness and pain to You, my beloved Redeemer.

Lord, make me like You and the heavenly cloud of witnesses, cheering on the people in my life, encouraging them and affirming their progress. May my words and my love spur them on to success, empowering them to be and to do all You have in mind.

In Jesus’ Name



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For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. (Psalm 34:7)

Angels are…servants – spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation. (Hebrews 1:14)


Santa Claus, the Sand Man, The Easter Bunny, Big Foot, and Angels. One of these things just doesn’t belong here. Can you guess which one? In art and in our imagination, angels are often depicted as cute and cuddly, perhaps playing with our romantic wishes, like the fairies in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Are angels merely a dream? They were sent to protect from hungry lions, to answer prayers, to send dreams that warned of danger, to bring messages from God, to announce the Good News of Jesus, to lead God’s people by lighting the way through the dark, and to guard and protect what belongs to God.

God says He doesn’t pick favorites – “He is not a respecter of persons.” He protects anyone and everyone who calls on Him, aligns His desires with his or her own, and walks in love.

Daniel faced a challenging battle; he prayed and fasted for help, but that help was postponed by a fierce battle in the heavenlies between the angelic spirits and demons. Perhaps you’re praying for victory and angelic intervention. Don’t stop. It’s on the way. Battles are being fought on behalf of your needs and requests. Keep believing!

Are you faced with a situation today for which human help is just not going to cut it? Join us in this plain and simple prayer for angelic help.


I praise You for Your promises and Your miraculous acts of mercy in my life and throughout Your Word. I love to read about Your deliverance, Your mighty power to save in impossible situations.

Now it’s my turn.

You know my impossible situation, Lord, better than I know it myself, though I’ve studied it thoroughly night and day. I’m staking my claim on these words, and making them my own as I pour out my requests at Your feet.

He saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. (Psalm 34:6b,7)

I understand that the fear of the Lord isn’t fear in the sense of being afraid (though I have much to fear). It is reverential fear, loving You, desiring intimacy with You, and abiding in Your love all day long. As I meditate on Your power and love today, I rest assured that angels are guarding me in this situation, surrounding and defending all involved, and ultimately saving me from these troubles.

Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire. (2 Kings 6:17)

Lord, I know that if You gave me eyes to see into the spiritual realm today, I would witness your mighty hosts coming to save and help me. I choose in faith to believe what I cannot see – Your help manifesting in real ways, in real time on my behalf.

For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up in their hands so that you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. (Psalm 91:11,12)

I thank You and praise You that I don’t walk this path alone. I am surrounded by angels that walk alongside me, all around me, following me everywhere. They make the path clear for me to continue walking forward in spite of danger and fearful circumstances.

Thank You, Father, for angels, Your servants, provided by Your great power and mercy to help me in my time of need. I praise You! With Your great help, I cannot lose this battle, for Your strength overpowers the enemy, Your wisdom outsmarts the enemy, and Your love – the greatest force in the universe – never fails.

In Jesus’ Name



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David went through some harrowing experiences before he became the king. The interim between his anointing over Israel and actually being seated on the throne were marked by years of turmoil, danger, and exile. He lived a wilderness experience that most of us cannot fathom, that of pain and rejection and fear.

King David was considered by God as a man after His own heart. If you find yourself in a wilderness situation, if life has been unfair, if circumstances aren’t what you want them to be, if you have no control of the outcome, you can take your cues from David and learn to respond as he did in times of danger and pain.

In Psalm 63 David lays out some specific responses to the injustice he was facing; each are takeaways for us in challenging circumstances.

“My soul thirsts for You, my whole body longs for You.” ~David

David’s longing could have been for justice, it could have been for a warm bed, an old friend, a quiet afternoon with his sheep, or many other trifles of normal life. In spite of the fact that he lived in a cave, fleeing from Saul who wanted to kill him, his primary desire was God. Why wasn’t he focused on the injustice? Because he ultimately knew that if he had the presence of God in his life, that God would take upon Himself all of David’s challenges and one by one bring them to a conclusion.

“You satisfy me more than the richest feast.” ~David

David had enjoyed some rich feasts in the palace. As one of King Saul’s bodyguards, he was given the rights and privileges of the elite in the palace. His best friend Jonathan was the king’s son, so he had no doubt enjoyed the finery and delicacies of royalty. Yet, when he was eating who-knows-what in a cave, he found the presence of the Lord so much more satisfying than those long-forgotten banquets in the palace.

“I lie awake thinking of You, meditating on you through the night.” ~David

Most of us, when in crisis, lie awake at night, but instead of thinking about the unfailing love of God, we think about our failures, our troubles, our fears. Not David. He thought about his God – His love and power to save.

“I cling to You Your strong right hand holds me securely.” ~David

In times of duress, we often run to people to rescue us, but David knew that man’s help, while encouraging, could not ultimately rescue him from the power of those who wanted him dead. When we are hit with circumstances beyond our control, instead of running to people for comfort and help, we first run to God. We lift up our hands to His strong hand and hold tightly to Him as we wait for deliverance.

“But the king will rejoice in God.” ~David

David wasn’t acting as king yet; in fact, he was a fugitive, running for his life. Yet, he didn’t see himself as a victim. He saw himself for who he was in God’s eyes: royalty. We can do likewise; we can believe that we are who God says we are.

When you are facing injustice, you can choose to see yourself as a victim or a victor, a whiner or a winner. Let’s become people of God’s own heart and pray Psalm 63 in our times of trial:

O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.
I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely…
But the king will rejoice in God…


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