Lent Day 16 Personalizing Your Prayers

Lent – Day 16

Personalizing Your Prayers

This, then, is how you should pray:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’” Matthew 6:9-13

God longs for you to engage with and enjoy your relationship with Him. As you pray — and experience how He answers — your relationship with Him grows in trust, and you can have peace in whatever challenges you’re facing. There are six important steps to personalize your prayers, all found in Matthew 6:9-13. These steps include worshipping, surrendering, requesting, confessing and inviting protection.

Pray by using your own words that reflect your unique journey with God.

“Our Father in heaven.” Pray to the Father who is in heaven. Remember that He is in control. This leads to peace and confidence.

“Hallowed be Your name.” Worship God for who He is. Thank God for His love, grace, forgiveness and sacrifice. Focusing on His attributes puts your circumstances into perspective and reminds you of why you can trust Him.

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Pray for God’s will to be done by surrendering your plans to Him. Pray for His power, position and presence to be evident on earth.

“Give us today our daily bread.” Ask God for the things you need. Share with Him your deepest desires and longings. He is your provider, protector and sustainer. Trust Him with what you need today. Trust Him with your unmet desires. You don’t need to worry about tomorrow. He will be there to care for you.

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Confess your sins to God, turn from them, and ask for forgiveness. Forgive others as God has forgiven you. Release your pain to Him for justice and experience the freedom of forgiveness.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Pray for victory over temptation and protection from the attacks of Satan. God can break every addiction* or sin in your life.

Pray, Reflect and Respond

How could praying through each of these topics daily help you in your relationship with God?

Pray every day this week following this model and note how it impacts your relationship with the Father.

Lent Day 14 Lighting Lanterns

Lent – Day 14

Lighting Lanterns

“I will bring the blind by a way they did not know;
I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them,
And not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

“I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:10

Before the invention of electricity, oil lamps were common. Add oil, trim the wick and light the lantern.

Without light, darkness is deep, real and often frightening. When a lantern flickers out, the darkness feels complete.

Jesus frequently uses lamps and lanterns in His analogies, comparing His truth and love to physical light (Matt. 5:14-16) or using light to call for a prepared expectation of His return (Matthew 25:1-13). In the New Testament, Jesus calls Himself the Light of the World — and we are invited into His light.

There’s something inside each of us that feels dark — something that weighs heavily on our hearts. Our experiences are different, and each of us feels that burden in a different way. Our life stories are all filled with hardships and difficulties that reveal darkness in our lives.

When you come to Jesus for the first time, you’re cloaked in darkness. Your sin and shame cast shadows over your heart. You’re walking through the world blindly. But Jesus, the Light of the World, reaches you through the darkness and pulls you into His beautiful and glorious light. Jesus, the ultimate lantern, the ultimate guide, sees each detail of your pain and sin.

Throughout your life with Christ, darkness will creep back in.

As a human, you’re sinful. As a child of God, you’re forgiven. Although you will continue making mistakes, Christ’s forgiveness breaks through every barrier. Likewise, difficulties will come that you did not cause, but which affect you greatly. Even in these dark places, Christ is your eternal lantern.

Reflect and Respond

How have you seen Christ’s light in your life? How has He broken through your darkness? What parts of your life need the light of Christ the most? Reflect on this in a quiet moment with the Lord today.

Lent Day 13 From Doubt To Trust

Lent – Day 13

From Doubt To Trust

Jesus Loves “Doubting Thomases”

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”

“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:24-31

Doubt gets a bad rap in many Christian circles. In today’s passage, we see someone whose uncertainty became so well known, his name became synonymous with doubt. “Doubting Thomas” is about as desirable a nickname as “Party Pooper” or “Debbie Downer.” Feeling doubt would likely not be anyone’s preference, just as most people prefer not to feel discomfort, sadness or anger.

But is doubt bad?

Many people add insult to injury by heaping shame on themselves when they feel doubt. But like discomfort, sadness and anger, doubt is not wrong in and of itself.

Look at how Jesus responds to Thomas, who doubted even his fellow disciples’ eyewitness testimony. He isn’t harsh with His friend, but He offers to meet him exactly where he is. He provides what Thomas needs to move from doubt to trust that Jesus is exactly who He says He is.

Jesus goes on to give a blessing for all who won’t have the opportunity to touch Him in the same way Thomas did but who will hear and believe nonetheless. Thomas’ story ought not to be used to shame or discourage anyone. Instead, Jesus went out of His way to comfort and encourage His followers.

If a little child falls, good parents don’t stand over them, arms crossed, foot tapping, yelling for them to get up or be disowned. A good parent goes to the child, offering a hand and an encouraging word. God is a good Father. He is patient and kind. Even when we cannot sense Him close by, we can keep calling out and trust that He hears, He cares and He will respond in love.

Reflect

How do you feel about your doubt? How do you think Jesus feels about your doubt? Calling out for help is itself an act of faith. Don’t worry if you feel uncertain even as you call.

For a deeper dive into your doubt and how the Lord can walk you through it, consider reading Doubtless: Because Faith is Hard by Shelby Abbott.

Lent A Day Of Rest

It’s Sunday — a day to rest.

Did you know that ever since Jesus died and rose again, each Sunday is like a mini Easter? In addition to resting, like God commanded in the Old Testament, the first Christians remembered and celebrated Christ’s resurrection every single week.

Today, God invites you to celebrate and rest in the finished work of Christ — for you and for everyone who trusts in Him.

Lent – Day 8 Lost On The Inside

Lent – Day 8

Lost On The Inside

“There was a man who had two sons…” Luke 15:11-32

Resentment about serving builds where I used to enjoy it.

Envy rises toward people who appear to lead a simpler life.

I tabulate the work I’ve accomplished for Jesus before clocking out of good deeds for the day.

Do you, as I do, tend to function like you’re God’s employee instead of a beloved member of His family?

When I’m in this kind of funk, the story of the father and his sons in Luke 15 snaps me back to reality.

A wealthy father has two sons, and one asks for his inheritance early. This son, the younger, parties his fortune away while the other stays at the family farm, working hard to build the estate. I get that life — the life of the dutiful child.

Then the younger son returns completely broke, willing to take the place of a servant. Instead, he’s welcomed back as a cherished son.

The older brother — the responsible one — now spews his resentment. He’s never felt celebrated, and he’s angry. He was there the whole time working so hard, being so good, but missing out on life.

The father finds his older son outside the house and pleads with him. “Everything I have is yours,” the father says. “You are always with me,” he adds, pleading for deeper understanding. We are left wondering about this older brother. Does he get it? Is he ever able to receive what his father wanted to give him: an invitation into his presence, to his wealth? We are left wondering how he will respond.

Regardless of whom you identify with in Jesus’ story, this invitation is extended to you too.

If you relate to the younger son, will you come home and embrace the father waiting for you? Or will you remain far from the family, hoping to work something out on your own?

If you, like me, relate to the elder brother, will you remain in the darkness, lost outside the celebration, resentful because you worked so hard for so long to earn something that was free all along? Or will you join in on the party, accepting God’s free and complete favor extended to you through His Son, Jesus?

Respond

Spend some time reflecting on Luke 15. When have you felt lost, resentful or like you had to earn God’s acceptance? What did the older son feel that he deserved? What did the father hope his older son would see about their relationship? How is the father’s character in the story similar to or different from what you understand of God?

Alison Wilson currently works with college students at Texas A&M University.

Lent Day 7 Forgiven And Free

Lent Day – Day 7

Forgiven and Free

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”Psalm 103:8-12

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:15-25

Reflect And Respond

What moments or patterns of sin weigh you down? Write one or two down and confess them directly to God. Give them to Him, remembering that Christ paid for these sins and more when He died on the cross. Then read Psalm 51, knowing you are a new creation, clean and forgiven in Christ.

Morning Twenty-Eight: A Morning Prayer of Praise

28 Days of Morning Prayer Focus

We did it!! We have stayed our mind in prayer and we have much to be thankful for. Thank you so much for sharing this journey with me. I pray that your morning prayer time has been enriched.

Keep an eye out for our next journey through 2021. God is doing amazing things. Blessings on your day of praise as you go!!!

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” Hebrews 13:15

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His.” Daniel 2:20

“I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.” Psalm 34:1

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” Psalm 150:6

Father, I praise You today for all that You have done in my life. You are faithful even when I am faithless. Your love pursues me even when I am unlovable. Your forgiveness covers my sin and frees me from its penalty. I praise You for your love and faithfulness to me. Your presence in my life changes everything, empowering me to live each moment of every day, content in knowing You are in control. As I face today, Lord, remind me that no matter what happens, I can praise You! In Your Name, Amen.

Morning Twenty-Six: Prayer To Step Out In Faith Today

28 Days of Morning Prayer Focus

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Gracious Father, as we begin a new day, help us to engage your will with a reckless faith. Teach us to trust in you, and help us grow in righteousness. Heavenly Lord, give us the courage to step out in faith this day. Fill our hearts with your spirit, and let us speak your words with pride. Amen

Grab your Bible and do a word search for the word “faith”. Prepare for your mind to be blown. Until then- sing along and make this your prayer today!!!

“Give me Faith” by Elevation Worship https://youtu.be/dNwt7LQiYck

Morning Twenty-Five: Pray For The Work Day Ahead

28 Days of Morning Prayer Focus

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters..” Colossians 3:23

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

A Prayer for the Work Day Ahead:

Father, thank you for all the ways you’ve blessed me, specifically with this job that pays my bills and puts food on my table. Thank you that ALL work has significance because work is good. Help me bring you glory today, through my actions, my words, through the good work I do to bring order to my little corner of the world. Help me view my work as a blessing and not a curse. Give me grace and strength for the hardest aspects of my job. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Note: If you are a career mama, pray this over the home you are building and the work you are doing in shaping the minds and hearts of your children.