Thirty-one Ordinary Prayers, #14

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Prayer of Blessing (Paraphrasing Psalm 128)

The only blessing worth having comes from You, Lord-from fearing You, from holding You in highest esteem, and from living the nitty-gritty of our lives by Your principles and power.

For one thing, our labour, when it is focused on Your kingdom, results in a grand spiritual harvest; we benefit both now and for eternity. We become more Christ-like and we see others join in on the journey toward holiness.

For another thing, our families produce a social harvest of loving relationships, husbands, wives, sons and daughters complementing and caring for one another with uncommon compassion. It’s like a feast at a dinner table, abundant, nourishing and comforting.

We truly reap what we sow. Fear of You, Lord, produces all this blessing and more. I want this blessing for others too, Lord. I want to say to them:

‘May the Lord bless you with His presence all the days of your life; may you have eyes to see His kingdom come in your life now and for eternity; may you find that life with God is life to the fullest; and may you bless future generations by passing on to them the great inheritance of the gift of Jesus.’

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Thirty-one Ordinary Prayers, #13

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A Prayer Considering God’s Involvement in Our Lives (Paraphrasing Psalm 127)

Creator, All-powerful and eternally present Father, help us see Your involvement in our lives. Any plan of ours that leaves You out of the picture is only doomed to fail—it’s useless, fruitless and hopeless. It’s like building a house without an architect, or like guarding a national border without knowing where the boundary lines lie. We just don’t have the big picture like You do, Lord.

We ourselves don’t have the resources to provide what we really need because everything ultimately comes from You. Even the strength to accomplish our daily tasks is from You; it is good for that day, but then we must rest. The hours we spend in unconscious slumber ought to remind us of the true picture, Lord: You are the only all-powerful One. You grant life and You grant sleep. You grant strength for the day. The successes of our work are thanks to You.

Take children, for instance. They are a gift from You, a wonderful example of Your design to bless us and this world You made. You are the living Spirit who breathes soul into every child’s life—the gift of bearing Your image. Your intention is to bless that life by fulfilling Your wonderful plans for each of them.

Earthly families are only a shadow of the Real Family, though. Through Jesus, You invite us to join Your family, making us children of Yours, heavenly Father. Then, like a bowstring, You send Your children out, arrows in flight to accomplish Your life-giving goals—results bringing peace and hope and love.

Almighty God, successful in every good thing, we acknowledge and thank You as we consider Your involvement in our lives. Fill us and empower us to bless You and to bless this world of Yours.

(Photo Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=110243)

Thirty-one Ordinary Prayers, #12

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Prayer of Joy (Paraphrase of Psalm 126)

Lord, when I think of how You rescued me from my own foolishness, I feel like a freed captive. I was mindlessly intent on achieving my own goals and didn’t notice the hole into which I had dug myself. It became a prison with walls of selfishness, hurt, bitterness and pride before I began to recognize my yearning for home, my longing for the clean fresh air of release.

One call of Your Name brought You here. You broke down the walls, lifted me up, and brought me out of my dark place. I looked around and found You had set me among a family—brothers and sisters rescued just like I had been.

It fills my mouth with laughter and my tongue with songs of joy to think of it. Not only do I partake in Your blessing in the corporate sense with the body of believers, but Your blessing, the good You bring, is directed to me individually too. It really fills me with the deepest joy.

It’s like irrigation spreading across fields, making everything it touches green. It’s like harvest time in those fields—the land You love—the hard work is all worth it to You. Even my tears become songs of joy under the influence of Your blessing.

Not that all is rosy now. There are still the temptations—but now I know You are with me and offer me an escape.

There are still the hurts—but now Your love and comfort heal me in ways I never knew before.

And there are still the questions—but now I trust You will one day answer every one of them for me.

So no matter how hard, how heavy or how daunting the day’s events seem to be, I’m going to envision it all as seed to sow in a land You irrigate. The harvest is Yours, God. Its abundance is Yours and I’m filled with joy at the thought of it. You do all things well.

(Photo Credit: By Herry Lawford – originally posted to Flickr as Harvest, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11269097)

Thirty-one Ordinary Prayers, #11

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Prayer Concerning Security (Paraphrasing Psalm 125)

There are so many good reasons to trust You, Lord—here’s one of them: When we trust You, we, Your people, become like an unshakable holy mountain, not just today or tomorrow, but for eternity. And You, Lord, are like a whole range of mountains surrounding us, girding us up, protecting us by the sheer volume of Your granite-like presence. The Alps, Himalayas and Rocky Mountains are like sinking sand compared to the security of trusting in You!

You move to transform the hearts of those who trust You, like mountains whose cores are becoming solid gem: where we were wicked, You make us righteous; where we were evildoers, You, Lord, make us doers of good; crooked and wayward, we become upright in heart by Your life-changing Spirit.

What could be more secure than knowing Your trustworthy character and presence—like granite—filling us, lifting us up, making mountains from the quicksand and molehills of our lives—enabling us to endure into eternity?

We stand in awe of Your great transforming, all-encompassing protection of lives sustained by You. Increase the number of those who find this security and peace, LORD. We trust in You.

(Photo Credit:[[File:Mount Everest as seen from Drukair2 PLW edit.jpg|thumb|Mount Everest as seen from Drukair2 PLW edit]])

Thirty-one Ordinary Prayers, #10

Prayer Acknowledging God’s Help (Paraphrasing Psalm 124)

Without You, God, without Your faithful, loving and all-powerful help, I would have been swallowed up alive by the enemy; the subtle attacks of the spirit of this age, the insinuation of the evil one—enemy of my soul—and my own foolish whims and rebellious plans would have engulfed me. Like a great and hungry wave they would have crashed over my head and drawn me into their deep watery grave, senseless, faithless, hopeless.

But You were there for me; You were and are and will be ever near, protecting my soul for Your eternal kingdom.

Somehow I sensed Your presence, believed what You said about me, and came to You for forgiveness. And what did I receive? Love—Your soul deep, ever-present, faithful compassion, calling me Your dear child.

Like a bird released from the fowler’s snare, I have escaped the deception and self-destruction I see all around me. I am breathless thinking about my narrow escape. May I never forget that my help is in Your Great Name, Jesus, O Maker of heaven and earth.

Thirty-one Ordinary Prayers, #9

Prayer of a Servant (Paraphrasing Psalm 123)

I’m thinking of Your right to rule, God. My mind’s eye is looking through the heavens and catching Isaiah’s glimpse of You enthroned as King of Kings. This upward-looking attitude is a ready reminder that You are the Sovereign Ruler of this universe, and I am a creation of Yours. It is right that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

As a creature before her Creator, as a servant before her Master, and as a child before her Father I come to You asking for Your mercy; this world that I live in has gone crazy. Everywhere I look in this culture around me—even in myself—I see evidences of pride and arrogance, foolish ‘wisdom’, impatience and contempt.

Please protect me from these negative and destructive attitudes. I’d rather have a servant’s heart than see myself become like the godless—rebellious against Your right to rule, proud and angry, lost, wounded and dangerous. Rejecting You is a slow soul suffocation, minds dulled to the horror of an eternity without You.

Have mercy on us, Lord. Protect us from that influence. Keep us always looking upward, aware of Your all-encompassing presence, breathing You like air, knowing You as our great and merciful God.

Thirty-one Ordinary Prayers, #8

A Prayer Anticipating Worship (Paraphrasing Psalm 122)

There is something big happening, LORD, and we’re so happy to be part of it. You’ve called us to be a body of worshipers of You, the One true and sovereign God. Our corporate feet stand on the doorstep of Your house, yearning to praise You the way You designed us to, longing to see You in all Your glory.

We’re a tribe, LORD; we’re a people, a family held together by Your grace, mercy, love, and redemption. It’s fitting that we should also be drawn together by worship of You, O complete One.

We joyfully long for the new Jerusalem, the spiritual home You are creating for Your family, LORD. Those who love You will finally and eternally be reunited with You and with each other. Those who have trusted in You will be secure. Peace will rule within its domain because of You, Jesus, Prince of Peace and King of Kings.

Brothers and sisters in Your family will finally be at home with the Father of our souls—that is peace and prosperity. We worship You.