Against the Blank Page

Almighty God, I sit and stare,
a blank white screen
before me where
soon should be seen
the things I want to write.

It's hard sometimes
to make a start
to fashion lines
to practice art
with what I want to write.

Help me rely on you
to move my mind
to push me through
until I find
the words I want to write.

Forgive Us Our Debts

Forgive us our debts.
Literally.
Forgive the things I've charged or financed
to assuage my desires
instead of waiting
instead of saving
instead of giving.
Forgive the money I've wasted
on impulse purchases
on interest payments
on fees and penalties.
Forgive the consumer mentality
that makes me buy now
pay later
pay more in the long run.
Teach me to wait
to save
to resist temptation,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(photo by Chance Agrella via freerangstock.com)

So Full and Free

Saturday Psalm #5

Give ear to my words, O Lord,
listen to my sighs and groans.
Turn your attention to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
as I pray to you.
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
morning after morning I lay my requests at your feet
and wait expectantly.

I know that you are not a God who takes pleasure in evil;
I know that as infinite as your presence is,
there is no room there for the wicked.
I know the arrogant cannot stand before you,
and you hate all who do wrong.
You destroy those who tell lies;
you abhor those who are cruel and deceitful men.

Only by your great mercy
can I come into your house;
awestruck, I bow down
before you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies—
make straight your way before me.

Protect me from the lies of the Attacker,
and from those whose hearts are filled
with destructive thoughts and emotions,
whose throats are yawning graves,
whose tongues speak deceit.
O God, let me not traffic in
the intrigues and resentments
of those who rebel against you.
Let me walk in openness and honesty,
forgiveness and mercy toward others.

Let all who take refuge in you be glad;
and let me always be among them, singing for joy.
Spread your wings of protection over your people,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Let my life, O Lord, show how you bless the righteous
and surround them with your favor as with a shield.

A Thanksgiving Prayer by George Herbert

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more–-a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.

On Thanksgiving

Our Father in Heaven,

If ever we had a cause to offer unto Thee our fervent thanks, surely it is now, on the Eve of our Thanksgiving Day, when we, the people of this Nation, are comfortable, well fed, well clad, and blessed with good things beyond our deserving. May gratitude, the rarest of all virtues, be the spirit of our observance.

Let not feasting, football, and festivity end in forgetfulness of God. May the desperate need of the rest of the world, and our own glorious heritage, remind us of the God who led our Fathers every step of the way by which they advanced to the character of an independent nation.

May the faith and conviction of George Washington be renewed in us as we remember his words:
...there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exits in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage; between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained...
For if we do not have the grace to thank Thee for all that we have and enjoy, how can we have the effrontery to seek Thy further blessings? God, give us grateful hearts.

For Jesus' sake.

Amen.

(a prayer from the Senate of the United States, November 26, 1947, by Rev. Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain)

Grit

God, make me a man with "grit" in me;
a man who, when he knows a thing to be right,
will not turn away, or turn aside, or stop;
a man who will persevere all the more
because there are difficulties to meet
or foes to encounter;
who will stand all the more true to my Master
because I am opposed;
who, the more I am thrust into the fire,
the hotter I become;
who, just like the bow,
the further the string is drawn
the more powerfully it sends forth its arrows,
and so the more I am trodden upon,
the more mighty I will become
in the cause of truth against error,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(modeled on lines by Charles Spurgeon; photo by frozenchipmunk via everystockphoto.com)

Saturday Psalm #4

Lord, I trust you're listening--
You, my Defender and my Advocate.

Proclaim Jubilee in my heart, mind, and life.
Have mercy on me and answer my prayer:

For freedom from insults, real or imagined,
freedom from lingering regrets and resentments,
freedom from people-pleasing cares.

I am sure of this:
I belong to you.
I matter to you.
I am clean in your sight.

Set an angelic sentinel at the entrance to my mind,
a guard against untrust and ungrace,
especially in the night watches.

Let me offer you pleasing sacrifices,
and passionate worship.
No looking back.
No wishing or longing for what is not.
Just your smiling face,
the joy of your presence,
the abundance of this moment, this season,
and the restful spirit
of a soul kept by you.
Amen.

(photo illustration by gmarcelo via stock.xchng)

Sense

Thank you, Lord,
that I can walk without pain,
see without impediment,
hear without assistance,
sleep without fear,
chew without discomfort,
swallow without effort,
work without end!

Amen.

No Untimely or Uncharitable Judgments

Abba, Father,
help me to do as your Word says,
and make no untimely
or uncharitable judgments about anyone
but to wait until the day of the Lord's return
when he will bring our darkest secrets to light,
reveal our private motives,
and give to each of us whatever is due,
in Jesus' name, amen.

(based on 1 Corinthians 4:4-5)

Perseverance

My prayer today for my kids and my grandkids, from the "31 Ways to Pray for Your Kids" app for iPhone and iPad.

Chase

O God, come to my assistance;
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Hear my prayer for Calleigh:
Chase this current infection from her body.
Expel it from her lungs.
Sweep through her with health
and freedom from infection,
that she can once again get a green light
and a reprieve from more drastic measures,
in Jesus' strong name, I pray,
amen.

Saturday Psalm #3

O Lord, how many are my foes!
Discouragement. Self pity. Weariness.
Stress. Allergies. Struggles with my weight.
Perfectionism. Procrastination.
The desire to please people.
They all rise up against me.
And make me believe
that you will not deliver me.

But you are a shield around me, O Lord;
you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
Every single time I cry to you, Lord,
you answer me from your holy hill.

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because you sustain me...
And it's been this way for forty-seven years now!
So I will not fear, even if tens of thousands of troubles
draw up against me on every side.

Arise, O Lord!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people, amen.

Veterans' Day

God of peace,
we pray for those
who have served our nation
and who laid down their lives
to protect and defend our freedom.

We pray for those who have fought,
whose spirits and bodies
are scarred by war,
whose nights are haunted by memories
too painful for the light of day.

We pray for those who serve us now,
especially for those in harm's way:
shield them from danger
and bring them home.

Turn the hearts and minds
of our leaders and our enemies
to the work of justice and a harvest of peace.

Spare the poor, Lord, spare the poor!

May the peace you left us,
the peace you gave us,
be the peace that sustains,
the peace that saves us.

Christ Jesus, hear us!
Lord Jesus, hear our prayer!

Amen.

(from A Concord Pastor Comments blog)

On Election Day

God, thank you
for the right
and responsibility
to vote.
Thank you for volunteers
who man the polls.
Thank you for poll watchers
who try to keep the process honest.
Thank you for all who exercise,
and for all who worked
and fought
and died
to protect and preserve,
this freedom
for all.
Amen.

For The Persecuted

Heavenly Father,
We pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering for Your Name's sake -
for those who have lost homes and possessions, family and friends simply because they profess faith in your Son, Jesus.

We pray for those who have been arrested, beaten, imprisoned, tortured beyond what we can even imagine, for the sake of Christ and the Gospel,
for the multitude of Christians who are in prison even now as we gather in the comfort of our church sanctuary.

Grant these Your grace that they may endure,
grant them courage that their faith would not waver;
may they remain true to the One who suffered and died for them.

Give them the assurance that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Give them love for their enemies that they might bless and not curse them,
that, in their suffering, they might testify of the love of Jesus for sinners.

May they rejoice that they are considered worthy to suffer for His name.
Give them joy in spite of their suffering,
and peace in spite of their pain,
knowing that a great reward awaits them.

We pray for their families,
that You would meet all their needs,
that they would not lose hope,
that their faith in You would remain strong.

We do pray for the release of these, Your children,
but until that day, may Your grace prevail and the
name of Jesus be glorified.

We ask this in the name of Your Son Jesus,
Who suffered and died for us. Amen.

(a prayer by monkatheart; photo by chidsey via everystockphoto.com)

Saturday Psalm #2

Lord God Adonai,
how the nations rage
and politicians plot.

The news is all bad
and getting worse, it seems.

But you are still there
on your throne,
looking down from heaven, laughing.

I don't have to listen to their raging
or watch their finger-pointing.
I will simply focus on serving you,
day by day and moment by moment,
and rejoice in your sovereignty.

Blessed are all who take refuge in you.

(based on Psalm 2; photo by C. K. Hartman via everystockphoto.com)

A Writer's Offering

Creator God, you made centipedes, oak trees, mountains and snow. Your creativity is endless, timeless, boundless and downright amazing. While I run out of ideas, you never do. You are God and I am not, but take my words as an offering of praise.

(excerpted from a blog post by Dan Balow; see more here. Photo via everystockphoto.com)

7 Prayers for the Upcoming Elections

God, your Word says that you control the course of world events; you remove kings and set up other kings (Daniel 2:21). So I pray, exert your control over the events of this election; remove and install leaders according to your “good, perfect, and pleasing” plan (Romans 12:2, NIV).

I pray for every candidate for every office, and the people who love them: God, be merciful to them and bless them; look on them with kindness (Psalm 67:1), whether they win or lose, and accomplish what is best for them, their loved ones, and their constituents.

I pray Isaiah 11:2 for every voter: Holy Spirit, speak to every person who votes in this election. Send the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD on everyone who casts a ballot.

I pray for justice to roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream, through my neighborhood, city, state, and nation (Amos 5:24).

I pray for your people to participate in this election and respond to the results not in a spirit fear and timidity, but in a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

As Jesus prayed, I ask for your will to be done rather than mine (Matthew 26:39). Dispel suspicion and hatred, heal divisions, repair the damage to and by your church, and restore the unity of our nation.

And, finally, Father, I ask for the faith to see your hand in the results of this election, even as I remember those people around the world who have no voice and no vote. Let my reaction to this election reveal my faith in You and my awareness of my privilege and responsibility as a citizen, in Jesus’ name, amen.