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The Most Trustworthy Element In Our Day (via Scotty Smith)

A prayer for those days when things are a bit blergh.
When you’re somewhere between the two sons of Luke 15.
From Heavenward, by Scotty Smith.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. Luke 15:20

Heavenly Father, I’m not beginning my day in a faraway country derelict, disillusioned, and destitute. Though I’m capable of anything, I’m not sitting here filled with shame for squandering an inheritance. And neither am I out in a field feeding somebody else’s pigs. Yet I’m just as much in need of fellowship with you as any of your broken children. So here I come.
Because the gospel is true, I bring you my busy, easily-distracted, somewhat-blasé heart. I feel like a 3rd Luke 15 son right now—a hybrid of the Father’s two boys Jesus described. I’m not on a hedonistic holiday, and I’m not spewing the toxins of self-righteousness. I’m just somewhere in between. I still hear and love the music of the gospel, but I just don’t feel like dancing right now. I’m not cold, hot, or lukewarm. I’m just here.
So, Father, as I come to you today, I take great comfort in knowing that we’ll always find you filled with compassion for us, even when our feelings are not fully engaged with you. As we saunter toward you, you’re always running toward us in Jesus. When we’re not as inclined to lift our arms in praise to you, your embrace is the most trustworthy element in our day.
You don’t just put your hand on our shoulders; you throw your arms around us in the gospel. And though our affection for you wavers, you shower us with multiple kisses all day long, for you love your children with an everlasting, unwavering love.
It’s not my fired-up-ness, but your faithfulness that counts. It’s not my peace with you, but your peace with me that is the anchor for my soul. Because the gospel is true and good, I will seek to live and love to your glory today. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ wonderful and merciful name.


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Waging War By Staying Grateful (via Scotty Smith)

A prayer from Scotty Smith about the ongoing battle of self-discipline that it is to live grateful.

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! 2 Cor. 9:15

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. Col. 2:6-7

Heavenly Father, gratitude is a discipline before it’s a feeling—a remembering before it’s a rejoicing. Indeed, gratitude is warfare—a bold protest and strong defense against discontent, pouting, and envy.
So as this day begins, we want to express thanks for the “inexpressible gift” of the gospel. No matter what else is going on in our hearts, day, and world, we are hidden in Christ, sealed with the Spirit, and adopted as your kids. You’ve forgiven all our sins and robed us in Jesus’ righteousness; rooted us in your love and promised sufficient grace.
Nothing will separate us from your love, thwart your eternal plan for our lives, or keep us out of heaven. Jesus is always praying for us and the Holy Spirit is constantly gossiping the gospel in our hearts. Why would we EVER complain about anything? But there’s much more to acknowledge.
Father, thank you for clothing and a home, a comfortable bed and plenty of food. May we never presume the right to such things. Thank you for clean water and accessible doctors; a thermostat to control the temp and the assurance you’re in control of everything else.
Thank you for a “gospel posse” (Christian friends) with whom to share life, serve in your kingdom, and grow in grace. Thank you for the smell of bread baking, the sound of our favorite music, and the sights of a new Spring.
Father, thank you that one Day you’ll put everything right, make all things new, and wipe every tear. Thank you that you are presently working in all things for our good and your glory—even in the things that vex, confuse, and cause us heartache. Now that is total awesomeness. Here’s to a day of staying grateful. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ tender and triumphant name.


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The Privelege Of Praying For Each Other (via Scotty Smith)

Scotty Smith leads us in prayer, giving thanks for the blessing of praying for others.

As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. 1 Sam.12:23
Let us then approach God’s 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

Lord Jesus, with freedom, needs, and friends, we run to the occupied throne of grace today. No one understands our messes and meets us in our weaknesses like you. You are, indeed, a most wonderful, merciful Savior.
We pray for friends serving you in different contexts and cultures around the world—missionaries, teachers, and others. May the gospel be sweet and grace sufficient, encouragement palpable and hope fresh. Quicken our spirits by your Spirit to pray for these faithful, often weary, conduits of the gospel. We don’t see them often but don’t let us forget them for a moment.
We pray for parents nearing the end of their strength, patience, and wits. Few stories have the power to multiply our heartaches than when kids choose to live without boundaries, or without a heart, for you. Lord of resurrection power, reveal yourself, to those who seem allergic to your grace and love.
Jesus, we pray for friends who still affirm the gospel, but who feel (and live) like strangers to your reality and riches. Whatever the genesis of their spiritual crisis, come close Jesus. Renew, restore, and refresh our friends, we pray. Show us how to offer presence without pressure. If confrontation is necessary, may your kindness lead them to repentance.
Jesus, we pray for friends with health struggles, at-work worries, and/or relational challenges. Give us listening hearts, words from above, and non-spin hope for them.
Lastly, Jesus, we pray for ourselves. You know where we struggle the most and trust you the least. You know our prayer-fueling relationships and our most powerful temptations, our persistent fears and nagging weaknesses. Grant us the mercy, grace, and wisdom we need today. So very Amen we pray, in your loving and strong name.


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Letting Go of Trying to Be the 4th Member of the Trinity (via Scotty Smith)

Scotty Smith brings a prayer that seeks to apply a truth that brings peace and liberty.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Rev. 22:13 (NIV)
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. Ps. 94:19 (ESV)
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isa. 26:3 (NLT)

Heavenly Father, it’s time for us to shift our focus from the immediacy of our fears, hurts, and disappointments, to the permanency of who you are. It’s one thing to be lovingly concerned about a matter, and another to anxiously obsess about it. Praying without ceasing is awesome, vexing without sleeping isn’t.
So, with palms up, we release our burdens and worries to you, Lord. Not that we’ll care less, but we will trust more. You are God, and we are very much not so. In your time, and on your dime, you’ll finish the good work you started in your children, creation, and history. Though our unbelief says otherwise, you’re neither AWOL or disinterested, bored or negligent. About everything, you say, “I’ve got this one.”
You are the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, and everything in between. You are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—perfect Trinity, and you’re not looking to make a Trio into a Quartet. You don’t need us; you love us. Though the cares of our hearts are many, your consolations way outnumber them.
When we fix our thoughts on you—as opposed to fixating on messy situations and messy people, your peace centers, settles, and liberates us. So as this day begins, and continues, we choose liberation over consternation; we choose to count blessings over messes; we choose to believe the gospel over trying to be our own savior, or anybody else’s. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ wonderful and merciful name.


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For Our Stories of Greatest Grief (via Scotty Smith at Heavenward)

Another day at the graveside with those who are grieving.
This prayer for saddened hearts from Scotty Smith is apt.

Jesus wept. John 11:35
Lord Jesus, though it’s the shortest verse in the Bible, these two words bring immeasurable comfort. Your hot tears, shed outside Lazarus’s tomb, are one of the greatest showers that ever kissed the face of the earth. You wept a waterfall of mercy, a river of compassion, a reservoir of grace.
You knew that within moments, your friend would breathe again, and walk out of his tomb. You knew you’d enjoy Lazarus’ company very soon. And yet you wept full-heartedly, as you allowed yourself to feel the harsh reality of his death. Those who witnessed your sacred fury and fierce sadness, offered this commentary. “See how he loved him!” (John 11:36). Indeed, no one loves like you, in life and in death.
Jesus, today we’re thankful you’re such a tenderhearted Savior, because many of us are in the agony of grief. Some of us have lost a friend, a parent, a spouse, or most painfully, a child. Others of us are coming upon the painful anniversary of great loss. Thank you for validating the pain and emptiness, the confusion and sadness we feel. We grieve with hope, but we really do grieve.
At times, like Martha, Lazarus’ sister, we cry, “Lord, if only you’d been here,” assuming you could have done more. You don’t respond with a lecture on sovereignty, rather you say with great understanding, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). No one hates death more than you, Jesus. No one grieves death’s ugly violation more deeply. No one is more looking forward to the day of “no more death” (Rev. 21:4) than you. And no has done more to put death to death than you.
Today we rest our sobered, saddened hearts on your shoulder, trusting you for the peace and comfort we need. Jesus, we honor you as “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Death, the “last enemy,” will soon be a long-gone enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). Because of your resurrection, we sing in advance of ours, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:55). We praise, bless, and adore you, as we rest our heavy hearts in your loving hands. So very Amen we pray, in your grave-robbing name.


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Once And For All (via Scotty Smith)

From Scotty Smith’s prayer/blog Heavenward:

The Once-and-For-All-ness of Jesus’ Single Sacrifice for Our Sins

Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, once and for all. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. Heb. 10:11-14 (NLT)

Lord Jesus, O, the wonder of this Good News … We cannot hear it too much, believe it too deeply, or rejoice in it too fully. By your death on the cross, you have taken away our sins, once and for all. Nothing is left undone; nothing more needs to happen; nothing else could’ve met our need. It’s not, you did your part, now we must do our part. It’s, you did your part; now let us trust in your part.
And now, having justified us by your finished work, you’re perfecting us by your Holy Spirit. We who’ve been declared perfectly righteous will be made perfectly holy—not by our grit, but by your grace. One Day we’ll be as lovely and as loving as you, Lord Jesus. Justification now flows sweetly into sanctification; sanctification will eventuate into glorification, and glorification will be the beginning of our eternal vacation—a life of never-ending rest and worship, adventure and creativity, perfect relationships and perfect everything!
Even as we rest in your finished work, so we rejoice in your present reign, Lord Jesus. Atoned-for-sin will be abolished sin; already-defeated evil will be eradicated evil; vanquished enemies will be eliminated enemies. May the joy of this good news buckle our knees in humble adoration, and empower our hands for neighbor love.
As we are loved, so let us love; as we have been served, so let us serve; as we are encouraged, so let us encourage one another. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.


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The Eradication Of Shame (via Scotty Smith)

Scotty Smith provides these words, an encouragement as Jesus’ people prepare to gather in worship tomorrow:

Heavenly Father, drive the good news of these Scriptures deep, deep, deep into our hearts, for shame has marked and marred many of us. Heal and free us, by the power and truth of the gospel.

“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth.” Isa. 54:4 (ESV)
The eradication of all shame is one of the things I’m most looking forward about our life in the new heaven and new earth. Never again will we feel “dis-graced,” only “fully-graced.” Never again will we remember the shaming events of our childhood, or of our youth, or of our adult years. Never again will we feel the disintegrating and paralyzing power of shame, or the need to hide and cover up. Hallelujah!

The Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Rom. 10:11 (ESV)
And there’s only one reason for such a hope: Because Jesus bore the full weight of our guilt and has broken the eviscerating power of our shame. To believe in Jesus is to trust in the One who was shamed for us on the cross—the One who doesn’t despise our weaknesses or our insecurities; nor does he turn away from us when we feel fractured or fragile; painfully self-aware or the pain of self-contempt. Indeed, Jesus has clothed our vulnerable nakedness with the garments of his grace. Hallelujah!

Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Rom. 5:5 (ESV)
Father, thank you that the promise of a shame-free eternity isn’t self-hype; it’s a sure hope. As we wait for the Day of no more shame, we now live in the day of your lavish love. You’ve poured your love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and you’ll continue to do so. May the voice of the Spirit, witnessing to our beloved-ness, drown out all other voices pestering us about our brokenness. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ wonderful and merciful name.