52 Simple Prayers
Our sense of worth, along with our fundamental self-identity, comes from what we believe people think of us. And it colors everything we see, feel, think and do. That’s too bad! We ought to rather base it on what God thinks of us! And what does he think? How does he see us? Just look at the cross of Christ. God loves you so unconditionally, unstoppably, inexhaustibly much that he gave his one and only Son to redeem you and bring you into his forever family. You are not loved because you are valuable; you are of inestimable valuable because Who loves you!
A Simple Prayer for Grasping Gods Love:
Heavenly Father, through the revealing work of your Holy Spirit, help me to grasp that I am the one you love. Help me to see how wide, long, high and deep is your love for me. Remind me throughout the day to look at the cross of Christ, with Jesus’ arms stretched from right to left, as if he is saying, “This is how much I love you.” Root my identity in your love, establish my worldview in your love, color my every word and deed through your love, and grant me divine power to live as the beloved of God. Throughout the day, may these transforming words be on my lips: “I am the one the Father loves!”
52 Simple Prayers
The God who is able to keep you from falling in your eternal salvation is just as able to keep you from stumbling in the daily journey of that same salvation. At this moment he is giving you the will to and the power to work out your salvation with deep commitment and unfading energy. By far, God bears the yeoman’s share of getting you to your eternal destination, so work with him a little in the next step or two.
A Simple Prayer for Sustained Effort:
Heavenly Father, as I enter the second week of this year, having submitted my desires to your scrutiny and requested your blessings up my goals, I now ask you to sustain my progress. Help me to take the next step of faith, to do the next right thing, to love the next person you place in my path, to exhibit the character of Christ in the next moment, even when I am tired, distracted or just want to give into my selfish, disobedient, short-sighted flesh. You have promised to keep me from falling and bring me to glory on the final day, but I pray that you will keep me from falling today. You have promised to finish the work you’ve begun in me, but I pray that you will advance that work even in the next few moments. Help me to keep putting one footstep of faith in front of the other, until I string together a long obedience in the same direction. Make me an example of an enduring disciple. And may I glorify you every day and in every way even in the minute details of my life. In the name of your Son and my Savior, Jesus, I pray. Amen.
The raynoah.com blog will post only on Mondays during the month of January as “52 Simple Prayers.” In February, regular posts will resume on Wednesdays and Fridays in addition to the Monday prayer posts.
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52 Simple Prayers
God has no reluctance granting the desires that he has placed in your heart. So surrender your wants to him and invite him to replace them with what he wants. His are far better, infinitely so, than what you could ever imagine.
A Simple Prayer for a Great Year:
God, as I stand at the starting line of a brand new year, I intend to run strong and finish well. But I will need your help to run in a way that glorifies you. So my sincere prayer is that you would replace my desires for the things that I would like to achieve and put within my heart the things that you desire to accomplish. I confess that the wants of my flesh are strong, and so are the influences of this world. Purge me from all the selfish, sensual and sinful forces, both internal and external, that daily bombard my mind and compete for my affection. Protect my heart and my mind; help me to delight in you continually. Dear Father, place your desires in my heart, then grant them I pray. And when this year draws to a close, may I have been a living example of one for whom you have granted the desires of the heart.
ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude
True friends are willing to get “unfriended.” You see, friends don’t let friends violate God’s law without saying something. An old Jewish proverbs says, “A friend is someone who warns you.” We desperately need a revival of those kinds of accountable relationships today, because many of our friends are being lured into dangerous living by the deceitfulness of sin—and while there are plenty of people to cheer them on, few are willing to warn them. For the love of God, and for the right reasons, quit being afraid of being unfriended!
Going Deep // Focus: 1 Kings 1:5-10
About that time David’s son Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, began boasting, “I will make myself king.” So he provided himself with chariots and charioteers and recruited fifty men to run in front of him… Adonijah took Joab son of Zeruiah and Abiathar the priest into his confidence, and they agreed to help him become king. But Zadok the priest, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and David’s personal bodyguard refused to support Adonijah. Adonijah went to the Stone of Zoheleth near the spring of En-rogel, where he sacrificed sheep, cattle, and fattened calves. He invited all his brothers—the other sons of King David—and all the royal officials of Judah. But he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benaiah or the king’s bodyguard or his brother Solomon.
Nathan, Benaiah and Solomon got unfriended! They were blackballed, excluded from the group, not invited to the party. And that was okay. In fact, they wore their unpopularity like a badge of honor. And it was just that—a badge of honor—because to go along with Adonijah’s plan would have been to bless what God was about to curse.
Adonijah was King David’s son. He was popular, had movie star looks, and the popular support of both high-ranking officials and run of the mill citizens.
Now Adonijah’s father, King David, had never disciplined him at any time, even by asking, “Why are you doing that?” Adonijah had been born next after Absalom, and he was very handsome. (1 Kings 1:6)
He was the obvious choice to replace the aging David. Worst of all, Adonijah believed his own press, and came up with a shameless scheme to promote himself. And he had plenty of cheerleaders to encourage him along the way.
Epic fail! In one of the biggest upsets in the history of elections, the newly self-minted “king” was immediately dethroned when David learned of his son’s rebellion and instead coronated the rightful replacement to the throne, Solomon. And the “unfirended” ones, Nathan, Benaiah and Solomon, were now looking pretty good, while those who had supported Adonijah—some pretty powerful people—were now looking pretty foolish. As a matter of fact, those who cheered him on in his sin now shared in his sin—an enduring lesson we ought to take to heart.
We worry too much about getting friends—and keeping them. Not that friends are unimportant, but in this day of social media where being “friended” is everything, we have begun to worship unthinkingly at the altar of popularity. We stress over what people might think of us, of being labeled as a hater, and Lord forbid, of being “unfriended.”
And all the while, many of our so-called friends are steering their lives right into a ditch, but we don’t say anything to warn them off. A person with whom we are connected posts photos of themselves engaged in questionable behavior, or uses vile language or proudly announces they are now in a lifestyle that has been declared sin in the immutable Word of God, and we say nothing. In fact, some who know better will actually fawn all over them with “I am so proud of you” or “you gotta be true to who you are,” which is, in reality, tacit approval of our friend’s sin.
Friends don’t let friends violate God’s law without saying something. An old Jewish proverb says, “A friend is someone who warns you.” We desperately need a revival of that kind of true friendship today, because many of our friends, cheered on by the crowd, are being lured into dangerous living by the deceitfulness of sin.
Now I am not promoting that you go out of your way to be a buzz-kill, but there is a point when you need to say something. You need to risk being unpopular, of being labeled, or being “unfriended.” I am not suggesting you do that publically. Watch your motives. Go in love—and in private. But for the love of God, be a friend.
True friends are willing to be “unfriended.”
Going Deeper With God:
Ask the Lord to help you love enough to confront your friends lovingly when they are drifting into behavior that God cannot bless. Remember, a friend is someone who warns you.