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).
Thank You for this blessing beyond the beyond. In this You have enabled me to grow deeper in my understanding of You as my Father, though, I make no comparison of quality, only of enlightenment. It has truly enriched my understanding of sacrificial love, devotion, caring, sadness, and joy that a child can bring.
It makes me weep for the sadness I bring to You when I act spoiled and ungrateful or untrusting. It makes me ever so grateful when I follow and grow, albeit by grace and grace alone, knowing this pleases You. Because you have graciously made me a father, You have allowed me to experience with my own children the majesty of what it feels like when they honor me, as well as the grief when they do not; thus, heightening my desire to please You.
You have allowed me the sadness of parenting to remind me of my frailness as well as theirs, and our constant need of Your grace. You have allowed me to give and receive love to help me grow in appreciation of Your love; although, it is unfathomable in all of its fullness.
May my fathering reflect you so that my children love and follow you more than they do me. Thank you my heavenly Father for granting me the honor of being an earthly father to my children.
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
I pray that You would grant me faith above my fear, and that my fear, no matter how dreadful, daunting, and hellish in velocity, would never cause me to shun the walk of faith. May my heart be willing to die where I am, lose all earthly possessions, be laughed at without mercy, and be capsized in the torrents of fear’s rage rather than to turn my back on the walk of faith.
May my physical and emotional traumas and ailments from the walk of faith through the lion’s den of fear be scars of faithfulness and not failure. Though my fear cause me trembling, may my fear not be allowed to displease You as I traverse the deep waters of depression, disillusionment, or human wisdom on my journey to Your chosen destiny. The things which kindle fear within me are ever so minor in light of Thy greatness as are the trials of some of my brothers and sisters in the faith, which serve as a humbling reminder of my weak faith. Grant that my weakness would display Thy strength and mercy.
Guide me through the maze of discerning the difference between faith and presumption, and may I fearlessly shun presumption, with its roots and nourishment drawn from the cisterns of pride and hell. May I rather dwell in Thy chosen place of humility.
My dear wonderful and holy Lord, my eyes are blinded in the clouds of bedevilment which hide from me even my next step. May it forever be so that in You and You alone I trust to keep me on the path you have chosen. “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2).
May I see the lost as You do and sacrifice as You do and mourn as You do. May I live so they may see You and not me. May my speech be your words. May I serve you with a daily burden for people who do not know the wonder of You and your salvation. Oh God, by your power and grace may we see untold numbers broken over sinning against You and drawn into Your presence with mourning over their sin and joy over Your grace.
I pray my lack of evangelism will decrease with every passing day, that my selfish, shortsighted flesh will be subdued. I look to the cross and see what it means to crucify the flesh, yet all too often I feed the flesh.
My Father, with wonder beyond words, holiness that I can feel when I pray, and power that the ages testify to, please forgive me for all too often loving things that are not the passion of the cross.
Thank you for permitting me to play even the smallest part in someone experiencing salvation by faith in my Lord Jesus Christ.
May I hear all reports of what you do through others to advance the kingdom with a grateful heart. May I be predisposed to see Your mighty works and rejoice, and only be inclined toward doubting because of heresy and sin. Oh God, let me not be critical because You have not chosen to so use me; even if you have chosen to leave me in the hollows of obscurity as long as You are with me. Let me rejoice when righteousness advances according to Your power.
My loving Father, forgive me when I run to self pity and flee from thankfulness. Thank You for speaking from Your Word to jostle me from my pride so that I may walk with You anew. Each time I am saddened by my plight, feel underappreciated, or that my cross is too much for me to bear, I am but shortly, awakened by your grace to the peace that I have with You; I am rescued by my joy and gratefulness for even my next breath, much less the superabundance that I really have from Your mercy. Thank You for not allowing me to live in such a sinful state, and may my visits there become shorter and less frequent as I learn of You.
May I cherish Your withholding of blessings that expose my sinfulness. May I see the lust of my heart as the evil tyrant it is and flee to the rule of my Savior. May I do so more quickly today than yesterday. When I look to my thoughts of what I need, need to do, or future uncertainties I find worry and anxiety, but when I trust in You, I find peace and fullness. May every anxious or discontent thought sound the trumpet of sin in my life, my own self-reliance, and be quickly banished by repentance and reliance on You.
Oh God, forgive me of thoughts so vile, and yet to You infinitely more so. Forgive me of even the slightest thoughts, aspirations, delights, or passions that do not have Your glory as preeminent. Expose my pride so that I will be ever mindful of my frailty, which makes me vulnerable to cast away everything that means anything in a weak second. I repent of selfishness, self-centeredness that would seek for me to justify that which You want me to repent of. Forgive me.
Thank You for grace a billion times unmerited, for protection from me, my greatest enemy, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit and Your Word, which You so lavishly bestow upon me. May I never lose the wonder and praise for Your conviction in me. Lord I repent today, and I pray, although in no way do I deserve it, that You will continue to convict me and call me to repent. I pray I will run to repentance and not from it so that I might not sin even more against You, or in some way show that I do not treasure grace. There is no doubt in my mind that I am the most evil, vile, sinful human being that You ever loved. Thank You for grace, mercy, patience unmerited, and of untold supply.
“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8–10).
Oh my Lord Jesus, I confess that I am one who desires to know my future. Only you know how often I have been troubled beyond measure concerning the uncertainty and troubles that tomorrow may bring. Please forgive me for the thousandth time of saying, by my thoughts, worries, and plans, that I am God. The thought of saying those words make me quake. For I would never say them vocally or even in my heart, and yet, my thoughts about the future have at times declared those unthinkable words.
May I face the future with my trust in you and you alone. Oh, may I grow to despise my own surmising about what will, may, can, or cannot happen. For by now, I should be most humble of all in trusting you because you have often shown me the results of trusting your leadership through blessing me beyond what I could ever have dreamed to pray for. You have even shown your immeasurable grace and superior plans through temporary hurt, loss, and grief that latched onto me as one being dragged into the abyss.
May I not look to the future as Pollyanna or as one sitting beneath the sword of Damocles. Rather, may I do so as one who knows You, Your Word, and my experience of walking with You through the years, which all testify that the future is not mine to know.
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.”” (James 4:13–15).
Father forgive me for not loving the mate that you gave me as she so needs and deserves. Oh God, what grace for you to have given her to me. She has now for these many days walked the walk of faith with me. She has encouraged me beyond measure, made laughter my friend, reared the most wonderful children beyond what mere man can even imagine, and not faltered in our tumultuous journey.
You have used her to mold me into a better dad, husband, friend, and follower of you. Our differences have blessed me with peaks of unadulterated giddiness and challenged me to humility and holiness beyond what I could have ever imagined.
Her uniqueness has caused me to face my own sinfulness in ways I surely would have shunned without her, for truly marriage, although densely peppered with bliss and joy, is the crucible of exposing sin and drawing one to holiness if they desire, and I do.
I do so desperately want to love as you love. I want to love my dear wife far more than I do or can on my own; although I love her more than anyone other than you. I want to love her with the love of your glory. There is no woman on earth that I want other than the one you have most graciously given me, and for that I thank Thee; but I so want to love her as my Lord Jesus “loves the church.”
That I love her so passionately and singularly can only be attributed to what you have done in my life even though she is on her own so deserving of such love, for I am, without your work and constant convicting, healing, and growing, woefully incapable of such love.
I pray for her to know my love daily. Help me to encourage and accept her; may you fill her days with reminders of your love for her and how you have and are using her. Protect her from making decisions without sufficient thought and continue to enrich lives through her heart of joy, sacrifice for others, love of family, love of you, and bountiful and generous giving heart.
I pray with John, “Oh that I might decrease that you might increase” (John 3:30). Let every compliment that I am paid because of my teaching, ministering, or helping people spiritually be immediately directed toward You, the rightful recipient. Let me not see myself as my friends or enemies see me, but only as you see me through the eyes of holiness, redemption, and grace.
Help me to see me last, lower than my peers, and may pride be immediately vanquished so that my mind may be stayed on You. May every compliment, every promotion, every success, every reward, every accolade, every accomplishment … cause me to give thanks to You the giver of all and never be a cause for boasting in me. And yet, may I ever so gently receive and direct those thoughts with regard to the giver so that my humility does not become false humility or hurt those whom You love and have been gracious through.
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)
By Your grace that has so radically and eternally changed me and Your Holy Spirit within me, the cry of my regenerated heart through the otherwise impervious layers of sin and selfishness is that my inner man wants to love, and love like You love me—the most unfathomable thought I could ever have.
Oh God, beyond my ponderings at heaven’s glory and wonder at the power of the forever sea is my ever-present humbling marvel at how You could—can—love me when You know my selfishness, sin, and un-Christlikeness. I live in grace because my constant failings are always before me, not in pessimism nor defeatism, but in the liberty and love of Your grace.
Let me love others with total disregard for myself. Let me see their failings and know even their assailing against me or my family, and let me love them like You do. Guard my heart and mind from the plethora of modern unbiblical ways that eschew the word sin and therefore the need to repent, but allow me to truly love as You and enjoy the restoration of relationship when repentance is present.
I choose love, gentleness, forgiveness, turning them over to You, rather than bitterness, sin, resentment. Thank You my Lord for even my desire to make that choice, for without You I would not and could not; although, in my sin I could easily cloak it in what You know to be self-righteousness.
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).