Praying for a Heart of Thankfulness

May my day, my thoughts, my words, my plans, and my deepest emotions be enraptured by gratefulness, be enveloped in thankfulness, and may my thankfulness not be in stale sayings as I speak all the while sauntering the walkways of complaining and self-pity.

Oh my Lord Jesus please once again forgive me. May my thankfulness never be followed by “but” since that is the human’s sinful disguise of appearing spiritually thankful all the while lamenting our less than perfect situation. May I be mature in my gratitude and dismissive of the trivial inconveniences of this sinful world and my life so that I may truly “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

May I be thankful that I have a stomach when it hurts. May I be thankful for periods of painlessness when I am in pain. May I focus on what I have rather than what I do not have. May I bless You for the small and great things I have and You have given rather than have roving eyes and discontented heart of the flesh. May thankfully seek your presence in everything. “I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever” (Psalm 86:12).

A Pastor’s Prayer for Strength and Faithfulness

My Lord Jesus, I pray  You will keep me strong to continue my calling to “equip the saints” and to “preach the whole counsel of God” (Eph 4: 11-12; Acts 20:27). It seems I am surrounded by people, movements, and pressures to let other things push this to the side. To let such things as church problems, countless needs of the church, administration, a flurry of trendy ideas, and the desire to be liked draw me away from my call to preach and teach; may that fear never be realized in my life.

You have been faithful to protect me from abandoning your call to faithfully preach your Word; although it is at times quite lonely, scary, and difficult. I am thankful for the sweet freshness that the study of Your Word deposits in my life, and the maturity you so graciously have given me to both live and deposit in the lives of others. You are so true to Your Word.

While I never seem to fully escape the burden I feel for those who fail to grow in Christ, I thank You for the growth I see in so many; I am blessed beyond measure by the people who hunger to know You deeper. Lord, let me never forget the words of Peter, which remind we shepherds we can only shepherd those who are active in the body of Christ.

“shepherd the flock of God among you” (1 Peter 5:2). (italics added)

 

Keys to Experiencing God!

People often tell me God feels distant. They do not sense his presence as they once did. This is not because God has left us, but it is often because we are seeking him in ways he is not to be found. We cannot find God in our own way, or based upon our personal view of how we should be able to find him. Rather, God is to be found on his terms and according to his ways. 

The Lord is near, and will come close to us when we call out to him in truth. When we truly desire to hear him, obey him, and live for him he will come near. We cannot just call out to him, but we must seek him in his truth and with hearts desirous to live out his truth in our lives.

We must also seek him reverently. God is not someone we can manipulate or seek only for our own purposes as though we are God. He can be found, only when we pursue him in reverential fear. 

We must seek him because we love him. This is quite different from seeking him to get something rather than to find him. When we seek him with an adoring and loving heart, he responds by holding us close in an unbreakable security; one in which we can face today’s challenges. 

We need never believe God is distant if we call upon him in truth, reverence, and love; for those are the keys to experiencing the presence of God.

“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. The Lord keeps all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy” (Psalm 145:18-20).

A Prayer of Praise To Start the Day

May I praise You God with every breath and for every breath, the grand, minor, and even the humbling for even they remind me of Your greatness and grace. “Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:2–3).

“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation” (Psalm 146:1–3).

Oh Lord, may I not allow the worries, demands, and hurts of the ups and downs of life to silence my praise, love, and thankfulness to You while I live. Grant me spiritual maturity to never take anything for granted and thereby fail to praise You, or, even exceedingly more evil, give your praise to me.

Thank You for continuing to grow me so that I may praise You more when I ponder the majesty of Your being, the greatness of Your creation, and those daily actions that I so easily can take for granted; may I praise you for such things as the ability to see, speak, button a shirt, or comb my hair.

I repent of such ingratitude for these, and a thousand more that I have taken for granted or selfishly complained about in some way. I praise You for the thousands of things that must operate for me even to write out this humble prayer.

May I focus upon praising you for all things and with equal dedication fight every thought or act of pride until praise is all which comes from my lips.

“Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name” (Psalm 30:4).

A Leader’s Prayer

May I lead only out of what You teach me as I follow You. May I be strong in leading others to follow You while always being gentle in demeanor, patient in temperament, and forgiving in failure.

May I lead through the prism of my weaknesses so that I may more clearly see the strengths of those whom I lead. Protect me from leading through the prism of my strengths thereby unnecessarily highlighting weaknesses of some whom I lead.

Thank You for constantly reminding me of my woeful inadequacy, incalculable failures, and what others must accept to be led by me so that I may lead out of humility and not pride and arrogance. May I bless You and them for their strengths and pray for their weaknesses.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

A Prayer Against Pride

Pride is the great canopy for a galaxy of sins.

Today I am reminded once again of my pride because of the power of Your Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. I can truly say with David, “My sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3).

My pride calls, wants, needs, and forefends every whimper of my flesh. Lord, my fear of praying about my pride is that I cannot possibly see it in all of its ghastly horror as You see it. Confessing it is even harder because my blindness to its subtleties only allows a miniscule portion to be confessed. I hate it! I hate it! I hate it! For as I grow in my walk with You, I see it is the seedbed of everything ungodly.

Although in this life, I may never eradicate the pride of my flesh, may You say of me as you did Hezekiah, “However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart” (2 Chronicles 32:26).

 Thank You for increasing my walk and reverence for You so that I may hate my pride. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way, And the perverted mouth, I hate” (Proverbs 8:13).

 I do believe with all of my heart that “A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor” (Proverbs 29:23).

Oh my Lord, how You can love me is beyond my understanding, but I thank You that You do, and that I know it.

Praying Against Pride

I confess that my pride and self-centeredness are always lurking beneath each breath, glance, and turn of life. They are the ever-present combatants skulking in the shadows just out of sight until the attack. They seek to draw me into their dungeon of pride through both criticism and praise, poverty and prosperity, and love and hate. Thank you for humbling me and giving me a hunger for walking in humility before you, although, my failings and weaknesses, at times, envelop me as though I am but a small stem in the eye of a tsunamic torrent.

Thank You for your promise, “He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way” (Psalm 25:9). For because of you, this is my desire. “Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose” (Psalm 25:12).

Oh my precious LORD, “forgive all of my sins” (Psalm 25:18), and they are many, more sins than any one in the world it seems to me.

Help me to balance praise for how dramatically You have changed who I am and how I love while never ignoring or making light of the sinfulness I see in my heart, which immeasurably disheartens me because You are always good and deserving of infinitely more. May I prize humility in every thought and action so that honor comes to You first and then to those whom you bring to me. “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2).

Thank you that you have brought me to a place in which I can clearly see how dastardly despicable and de-humanizing pride is; this vividness affords a constant reminder that fighting the domination of pride is a noble endeavor. Yet, I know this has nothing to do with my own acumen or abilities (Romans 12:16–20).

May my pride lie in defeat today more than yesterday, having been slain by the sword of the Spirit, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6).

 “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2b).

A Pastor’s Prayer

Lord, I ask that I may shepherd Your flock with the same devotion that You shepherd me. May I not seek recognition, prosperity, status, or anything that detracts from being the shepherd of Your people.

May I be found faithful to feed, protect, lead, and care for them according to Your Word and not trends, visions, fears, and the ideas of man. May I not be tempted by the flesh to do those things that are pleasing to me, but only that which is pleasing to You. May I live daily knowing that the church does not exist for me but I vocationally exist for her.

May I pastor in the fullness of Your Word. If not for you oh God, I would not be able to contribute one thing to Your people, but by Your grace I will give what You give me.

“So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep” (John 21:15–17).

A Simple Prayer to be a Faithful Follower of Christ

Lord, let me never see myself as anything more than a follower of You, and never let me lean on the flesh, what others might or can do. May I never seek to be anything more than a follower. Please allow me to quickly see when I am seeking to lead myself, and as quickly step in line behind You. I pray for a decreasing fear of what may come in following You by a greater understanding of Your majesty, wonder, and incomprehensible nature and work.

I know that being a follower of You is the greatest blessing, calling, and endeavor that a human can be allowed the privilege of receiving, and I am grateful every day for that blessing of blessings.

May all of my errors, failings, mistakes, misjudgments be not from willful rebellion against You, out of a desire to promote me, but rather may they only flow out of a sincere misunderstanding of You. May they be failings of a pure heart on a quest for You.

Jesus’s call is simply “follow me” (Matt 4:19; 8:22; 9:9).

Betrayal

Serving in the work of our Lord Jesus provides ample opportunity for turning a servant’s heart into a cynic’s heart. An act of betrayal can hurt so deeply, disappoint so significantly, and rupture faith so cunningly that we can find ourselves moved a step or two away from the servant’s heart and closer to the cynic’s heart.

We may still serve others, but now with less passion, or we may even move to a fuller blown cynicism in which the foremost thought in serving others is protecting ourselves from the pain of betrayal.

Betrayal can only happen in such a poignant fashion by someone we love, and to whom we have unguardedly given ourselves. To guard against even the possibility of being betrayed again is to become only a shadow of the servant we once were. Whereas, we can rightly guard against cynicism by keeping our eyes upon our Lord Jesus, desiring to experience him in every way, and praying for his protection (Matt 6:13; Phil 3:10).

We may pray, let not my heart be guided by the wound of betrayal, and guard me from using prayer to heal my wounds by wounding others. Let me bear the pain of betrayal as my Lord Jesus did, and by doing so reflect his love to others and grow to love him more. May I rejoice that by his grace I am not the betrayer;  may I learn more of my Lord from the anguish of betrayal.

“Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.” (Psalm 41:9).