The Essential Gospel: A Prayer based on Ephesians 6:14-20

O sovereign Father,

Thank You that I am Your child, heavenly Father. Since I am Your child, then I am Your heir – an heir of God and a fellow heir with Christ. When the enemy causes me to doubt my identity in Christ – telling me I’m a worthless sinner, a lost cause, an embarrassment to You – remind me of whose I am and who You say I am – a saint, a new creation, Your beloved child, living new in Christ. Because I am in Christ, I can now resist the devil as He did. In Christ, I claim the promise that no weapon formed against me or my family shall prosper (Romans 8:15-17; 1 Peter 5:8-9; Isaiah 54:17; Ephesians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:16).

I know that the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion wanting to devour me. He and his demons are seeking to steal, kill, and destroy everything good and godly that I hold dear. I recognize that the devil is attempting to incite me to sin – to prompt me to do evil. I’m desperately dependent on You to fight off the enemy’s deceitful attacks. Help me today to trust in You, to win today’s spiritual battles, and to bring glory and honor to Your name (1 Peter 5:8; John 10:10b; Ephesians 6:12; Luke 10:18; 1 Chronicles 21:1; John 13:2; Acts 5:3).

Sovereign God, keep me from the enemy: the evil one, the tempter, the accuser. Protect me from his followers, the fallen angels who are now the evil spirits who are seeking to minimize and neutralize my life in Christ. Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one (Revelation 12:7-9; Matthew 6:13; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; Revelation 12:10, Leviticus 17:7; Luke 8:30; Luke 7:21).

Help me remain strong in Your mighty power and stand against the enemy’s wicked schemes. Almighty Lord, thank You for spiritual armor for the spiritual battle – the belt of truth; the breastplate of righteousness; the helmet of salvation; and shoes that speed me on as I proclaim the Gospel of peace. Keep teaching me that truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Help me learn more and more how to apply them. Help me to hold the shield of faith that will quench every burning missile the enemy hurls at me. Help me to wield the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God which is an indispensable weapon. By faith, I now put on each piece of Your armor. Keep reminding me that prayer is the means by which I clothe myself in Your armor and by which I wage war in this ongoing battle (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Help me to submit again today to Your authority, Your control, and Your will. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done in and through me. Lead me to say “no” to the devil and his temptations and “yes” to You and Your abundant life. By Your power, help me resist the devil and see him flee (Matthew 6:10; Luke 9:23; John 10:10; James 4:7).

Thank You for spiritual weapons such as faith, truth, and righteousness that demolish strongholds.  Help me to keep my mind fixed on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Philippians 4:8).

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who shed His blood on the cross and rose from the grave, I ask You, Father to command any evil spirits to leave me, my family, and my ministry. Because I am in Christ and stand in His victory, all demons must flee. Through You, Father, evil spirits, rulers, authorities, cosmic powers, spiritual forces of darkness, are no longer free to steal, kill, and destroy my mind, my body, my soul, my family, my home, and my ministry. In the name of Jesus, I resist the devil and all demons.  

And now, Father, may Your Holy Spirit lead me and guide me today. Fill me. Bear Your fruit through me. Grant to me the ability to discern between righteousness and wickedness and the wisdom to choose the path of righteousness (Romans 8:13-14; Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:10; Joshua 24:14-15).

Lord God, help me to live in the light of Your presence. Lead me in Your paths of righteousness and away from anything evil. Thank You that because Christ is victorious, I need not wage war for victory but from victory. (John 17:15; Ephesians 1:18-23; John 12:26; Psalm 23:3).

Amen.

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 6:14-20. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, the J.B. Phillips New Testament, The Message, and the Living Bible. This prayer has also been composed with help from Dean Ridings, author of the Pray!Prayer Journal (NavPress) and Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology

The Essential Gospel: A Prayer based on Ephesians 6:10-13

My Father in heaven, 

You are my Hope, my Victory, and my Peace. Because you are the only sovereign King who rules over all heaven and earth, may I be confident and unafraid today. My strength, my courage, and my joy come only from You, Lord. You alone are my Savior (Matthew 12:20-21; Isaiah 9:6-7; 1 Timothy 6:15-16; Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 12:2).

I come to You, Father, only through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who died on the cross and shed His blood to forgive all my sins – past, present, and future – and who rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sent His Spirit to live in me (Romans 5:8-10; 1 Corinthians 15:3-6; Acts 1:8-9).

I come to You, Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit who has caused me to be born again, who now lives in me, and who intercedes for me with groanings too deep for words (John 3:3-8, John 14:16-17, Romans 8:26).

I come boldly to Your throne of grace to find Your help in my time of need. I need You today, Lord. I am desperate for You. I trust You, Lord God, to defeat my enemies – the world, the flesh, and the devil – that wage war against the physical, relational, emotional, and spiritual health of my family, my ministry, and my soul (Hebrews 4:16; Psalm 63:1; Ephesians 6:10-18).

Lord, please forgive me for the ways I have given the enemy opportunities to gain any foothold or stronghold in my life, my family, or my ministry.  By Your grace and for Your glory, help me take back any ground he’s gained. Help me to be aware of his schemes and to not be ignorant of his devices (Deuteronomy 18:9-12; Psalm 139:23-24; Ephesians 4:27, Ephesians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 2:11).

Thank You, Father, for sending the Lord Jesus to rescue me from my sins and from the devil’s strongholds by going to the cross for me. In Christ You have disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them through Christ’s work on the cross (Colossians 2:13-15; 2 Corinthians 2:14). 

Thank You for clothing me in the righteousness of Christ Jesus. I am Your property, Father. I belong to You, Lord. Grant to me Your prosperity as I delight in Your law and meditate on Your Word (Isaiah 61:10; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Psalm 1:1-3; Joshua 1:8).

I ask You, Lord God, to demonstrate Your great power over the enemy. Win victories this day in, through, with, and for me. Enable me to put on all of Your spiritual armor so that I will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. Show me how to stand up to everything the devil may throw my way so that I can successfully resist all the devil’s methods of attack. Teach me that this invisible spiritual warfare is an actual life-or-death fight to the finish against the devil and his fallen angels. Keep reminding me that I am not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12).

Now, I ask You, Lord God, to build a hedge of protection around me and my loved ones throughout this day and night. I ask You, in the name of Jesus, to send angels to surround us and to protect us today and every day. Guard our souls – our bodies, minds, wills and emotions.  May Your holy angels protect us from any and all harmful demonic attacks. Because the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is with me, I live by faith and know that You, the God of peace, will soon crush Satan under my feet (Job 1:10; Psalm 3:3; Psalm 34:7; Romans 16:20).

Almighty God, use me as a soldier in Your spiritual battles. I need not live in fear because greater are You who lives inside me than the enemy who is in the world. Enable me to fight the good fight and to advance Your Kingdom into the enemy’s occupied territory (Colossians 2:15; 1 John 4:4; 2 Timothy 4:6-8).

Father God, keep me alert to the evil one with spiritual eyes wide open as You use me to make a difference for eternity by helping other people come to know You, to grow in You, and to live for You (1 Thessalonians 5:6; Proverbs 4:23, 1 Corinthians 10:12; Matthew 28:19-20).

O Lord, thank You that absolutely nothing – not even the spiritual forces of evil – can separate me from Your love (Romans 8:38-39; Luke 4:1-13).

I ask all of this in the name of Jesus.

Amen and Amen.

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 6:10-13. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, the J.B. Phillips New Testament, The Message, and the New Living Translation. This prayer has also been composed with help from Dean Ridings, author of the Pray!Prayer Journal (NavPress) and Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology

The Essential Gospel: A Prayer based on Ephesians 6:5-9

O God, Ruler of all creation,

I praise You for being the Master who rules and reigns over all. As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, so my eyes look to You, Lord God (Psalm 123:2). As Your servant, it is right for me to give You my complete obedience.

But my loyalty to You as my one and only Master has wavered. Too many times I have sought to serve two masters. You have said, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Matthew 6:24). My love for the world and the things of the world has led me down the path of disloyalty to You. I have been a faithless servant. For this, I deserve to be cast out.

You, however, have invited me to turn to You. You declared, “Return, O faithless ones, for I am your Master” (Jeremiah 3:14). You made my return possible through the gospel by sending Your Son, Jesus, to be the Suffering Servant. He is my Pardon, suffering in my place as though He were the faithless servant. He is my Pattern, showing me how to be a faithful servant. He is my Power, sending His Spirit to live in me so that I can serve You fruitfully. When I repented and believed the gospel, You forgave my faithless servitude and have now accepted me as if I had served You as faithfully as Jesus did.

Even though I am now Your servant, I still fail to obey You in everything. One day, though, in glory, I will become completely conformed to the image of Your Son, Jesus Christ. On that day, I will serve You as my Master in all the ways You have always deserved. Until then, Lord God, You have made all master-servant relationships on earth to be profound pictures of the relationship that is to exist between You, our heavenly Master, and all Your servants.

As an illustration of the relationship between You, O heavenly Master, and Your servants, may leaders and followers – may employers and employees, government officials and citizens – learn to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21).

Help followers seek to please their leaders all the time, not just when they are being watched. May employees not just do what they have to do to get by, but may they work heartily as employees of Christ, doing the will of God from their hearts. Help citizens serve with enthusiasm, as though they were serving the Lord rather than serving governing officials. And may servants work with a smile, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, they are really serving God. Help us to know that whatever good anyone does, this we will receive back from the Lord.

Help people in positions of authority reflect Your authority, Lord God. May they be conscientious and responsible towards those who serve them. May they not misuse the power over others that has been put in their hands. May they never use threatening and abusive words. Help them not forget that they are responsible and accountable to You, their heavenly Master. Remind them that as their Master in heaven, you play no favorites and make no distinction between those who lead and those who follow.

May those who have been entrusted with the stewardship of leadership glorify You by imitating Your kindness, goodness, and love as our Master in heaven. May those who have been entrusted with the stewardship of followership glorify You by obeying their leaders sincerely with a proper sense of respect and responsibility, as service rendered to Christ Himself.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 6:5-9. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, the J.B. Phillips New Testament, The Message, the New Living Translation, and The Amplified Bible.

The Essential Gospel: A Prayer based on Ephesians 6:1-4

O God, my Father,

I give You praise that You have not only revealed Yourself as our Creator, King, and Judge – titles that emphasize Your power, authority, and sovereignty over us, but You have also revealed Yourself as the eternal Father – a title that emphasizes Your loving heart. It is Your nature as a Father to protect and provide, to lead and to guide. You are the Father who teaches, reproves, corrects, trains, and disciplines those whom You love. Your Fatherly lovingkindness is better than life.

Yet just like Your first creatures, I have spurned Your love. I have been unteachable. I have rejected Your reproofs. I have been determined to lead and guide myself. I have acted as though Your Fatherly wisdom is foolishness. Because I have been so very rebellious, I have sadly paid the consequences. I have missed blessings that I could have enjoyed. Even worse, my sin against You and enmity toward You have earned Your wrath. 

In spite of my waywardness, though, You determined to pursue me. You loved me so much that You gave Your Son as the propitiation for my sin. You drew me to Yourself so that I would offer You a broken heart and a bended knee of repentance. You turned me, a child of wrath, into an adopted child of God. Now, I can call You my Abba, my Father.

Even though I am Your child, I fail to obey You perfectly and honor You fully. One day, though, in glory, I will become completely conformed to the image of Your Son, Jesus Christ. On that day, You will be honored as my Father in the ways You have always deserved. Until then, Lord God, You have made the Christian home to be a profound picture of the relationship that is to exist between You, Father, and Your sons and daughters.

As an illustration of the multifaceted, beautiful relationship between you, Father, and Your children, may daughters and sons in our homes do what’s right, obeying their parents in the Lord. May they accept their parents’ guidance and discipline. Help our children to honor their fathers and mothers, esteeming them, valuing them, and respecting them. May You fulfill Your promise to those who honor their parents; may things go well with them so that they may live long in the land.

May parents, especially fathers, not provoke their children to anger, frustrating them. Hold back parents from demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive. May they not show favoritism or indifference. Keep parents from exasperating their children to the point of resentment. Give parents the desire and the ability to bring their children up tenderly, with lovingkindness in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Help them to take their children by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.

Father, Thank You for using the parent-child relationship to picture something profound – the relationship between You and Your children. Thank You for adopting me. Thank You for never acting in a way toward me that could possibly exasperate or frustrate me. Thank You for providing me with discipline and instruction that come my way day after day from Your heart of lovingkindness. Help me as Your child to obey You more fully and to honor You more deeply for being the good and great Father that You have been, that You are, and that You always will be.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 6:1-4. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, The Message, the New Living Translation, and The Amplified Bible.

A Gospel Prayer based on Ephesians 5:21-33

O holy God of love,

Long ago, in eternity past, You planned great good for Your people. Your intention all along has been to create a new community called the church that would stand before You in shining-greatness, in blameless holiness. Your purpose has been to create a people – to bring out their best – free from spots, wrinkles, or any other disfigurement.

Yet as I look at my life, I see darkness, shame, impurity, and uncleanness. And the people around me – family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, fellow believers – are full of faults, blemishes, and unholiness, too.

It is impossible for an unholy person, like me, and an unholy people, like us, to experience intimacy with You, a holy God. Apart from grace, we are doomed to miss out on a good and glorious future.

You, however, are full of grace. In spite of our faults, You sent Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to love us and to save us. He gave Himself up for us so we could become the church, His new community. On the cross, Jesus sacrificed Himself with a love marked by giving, not getting. His love makes us whole. Jesus nourishes and cherishes us. His love sanctifies the church and cleanses us by the washing of water with the word. His word brings about our beauty.

One day, Jesus will present the church as a bride to Himself in splendor, beauty, and glory. Until that day, Lord God, You have made marriage to be a profound, mysterious picture of the relationship between Christ and the church.

May husbands and wives leave their fathers and mothers and be joined together so that the two become one flesh. May husbands and wives be filled with the Spirit, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. May wives respectfully yield to their husbands with a passionate strength just as the church submits to Christ. May husbands lovingly lead their wives with a sacrificial tenderness just as Christ loves the church. May our marriage relationships be so blessed by You so that husbands will help their wives and wives will help their husbands stand before You in holiness one day and hear You say, “Well done.”

Father, You have made the marriage relationship to be a great mystery that speaks of something profound – the marriage of Christ and His Church. Thank You that Your love through Christ will fulfill Your plan, Your intention, and Your purpose by creating a new community. You will make Your church an altogether glorious bride in Your eyes.

Amen.

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 5:18b, 21-33. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, J.B. Phillips New Testament, The Message, New Living Translation, and the New Life Version.

What Gratitude Does for God’s People: Wisdom from CVCers

by Founding Pastor Rick Duncan

As I was getting ready for my message on Psalm 103 – The Remembering Soul – I reminded our friends that we must remember the great things God has done for us so we can bless Him and give Him thanks.

Then I asked the CVC Facebook group to brainstorm a quick list.

What are the benefits of gratitude?

I received a great many great thoughts from CVCers and friends of CVC about the power of gratitude.

Here’s the list below. As you read through this list, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Which ones did you most need to read?
  • What changes could you make in your life to better access that benefit of gratitude?
  • What habits do you need to form to become more grateful?

***

The Benefits of Gratitude

It focuses our mind on blessings, filling our soul with joy and peace as we remember that our heavenly Father cares so immensely for us!

Gratitude keeps you present in the moment and gives you perspective.

Gratitude glorifies God. Gratitude helps us to see God better! 2 Corinthians 4:15, James 1:16-17

Gratitude puts us in the dead center of God’s will. “…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Gratitude draws us to God. (Jesus healed 10 lepers, only one came back to give thanks.) Luke 17:17-19.

Gratitude for who God is and what He has done helps to keep us humble and content which results with more peace and joy.

Gratitude also helps us to remember what He has done which reminds us that He is faithful and can be trusted which grows our faith! From all this springs a deeper love for Him and a desire to serve Him!

You can’t be grateful and negative at the same time. Having gratitude for everything we have in our lives and for our salvation aligns us with God’s purpose for our lives.

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

When you bookend the day–with your very first thoughts and your very last thoughts–with gratitude, that mindset just doesn’t allow any room for complaints or discontentment.

Gratitude is the broom that cleans out that stuff…and when you find the room that had been previously occupied by complaints and discontentment. And that’s more room that blessings can fill. God longs to bless, but sometimes we have to make room…get rid of the junk in our minds and hearts, so He can fill it with good things.

I would say that when we rejoice, pray, and give thanks (gratitude) we are in God’s will for us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18); it glorifies God (Psalm 50:23); it helps us find the supernatural peace of God (Philippians 4:6-7).

It glorifies God! Also gratitude adjusts our attitude. It opens our eyes & heart to see God’s truth & love more clearly when our attitude is adjusted away from the attitudes & things of this world.

When we are grateful, or feeling feelings of gratitude, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin…. the “feeling good” chemicals! So it makes us feel happier!

It puts focus on Jesus and the eternal life and not how our various circumstances make us feel in the moment. He is with us, goes before us, goes through things with us, carries us, sustains us and is our everything. Therefore, we are grateful in all. Hallelujah! Thank you Father, Son and Holy Spirit!!

Gratitude gives us a more peaceful existence.

Gratitude fosters trust.

Gratitude enhances our humility.

Gratitude helps us give back to others.

Gratitude puts a smile on my face all the time.

Gratitude makes your heart feel good.

Gratitude fosters contentment.

When I turn my focus on thanking God I have peace and happiness in return.

Gratitude takes the focus off of me and any pride in my own strength or wisdom.

Gratitude helps me to remember how faithful God has been to me, always.

Gratitude reminds me of when life was hard.

Gratitude shows me just how much Jesus did on my behalf.

Gratitude leads me to praise God.

Gratitude is acknowledging what is true about God’s character and deeds! It keeps me firmly trusting in His ability to act in the world and on behalf of His children.

Gratitude acknowledges that God did it…not you.

Gratitude puts the focus on the positive so the negative cannot win. I feel it is human nature to complain and whine. Gratitude makes you feel blessed and safe with our Creator. Gratitude gives me energy and comfort like the sun.

Have you ever gotten new glasses and suddenly the world looks crisp and clear and beautiful? You look at the trees that had been hazy green and you see individual leaves that were there all along but you just had never seen them? That’s what I feel like thankfulness does for me. It gives me new lenses to view my world differently and actually be able to SEE things that have been hidden in plain sight.

Gratitude is one of those things I sometimes forget. I find myself taking things for granted and wondering how we got here. It’s little things sometimes…the kids folded the towels (wrong, but still folded), why am I ungrateful? I am learning along my recovery journey that even the littlest thing are big. Examples are endless. Waking up, having all my senses, having a job that I love, a car that runs, water, electricity, a house, clothes, a bed, a God that keeps me safe on the road, like I said the list goes on and on, but once we remove our blinders to all the things we take for granted, we begin to feel Blessed instead.

Even in my therapist trainings we were taught the importance of gratitude exercises for mental health clients. This included gratitude journals, simple daily verbal expressions. Here is a Ted Talk (be sure to watch till the end). Benefits are phenomenal for emotional, mental, and even physical health. Spiritually keeping focused on eternity and recalling all God has done and all He has yet to do brings my mind into focus and my heart into peace even in the midst of uncertainty.

Gratitude produces so many benefits. Sleep better. Improved self-esteem. Improved physical health even with dementia. Lessened resentment. A more positive, optimistic outlook. A happier life. Reduced blood pressure.

Material wants lessened.

If my gratitude (to God) is right, I can handle all situations whether I am rich or poor, sick or healthy. Thank you Jesus for your peace!

Gratitude is the way we bless the One who gives you the gift by saying “Thank you.”

Gratitude gives us a deeper walk with and dependence on God, His peace that passes understanding regardless of circumstances, and a full heart.

Gratitude requires you to be humble and others-focused. It shows love for others.

Gratitude gives us a freedom from anger, resentment, greed, lust, and all the other wicked deed of the flesh that war against us.

Gratitude is the antidote to discontentment. our joy and contentment is being fought for each day by the enemy. There is great power against Satan in having gratitude to Jesus. I have learned to verbalize daily and many times daily “Thank You, Jesus.” My kids hear that all of the time and others who are around me. Gratitude toward Him shows that we know He is the author of it all. I couldn’t imagine life without fighting for a grateful heart. Sometimes it’s harder than other times, but there is always something to be thankful for. And when we acknowledge God’s hand and kindness in it all, it humbles us and makes our hearts swell with even more gratitude!!!! AMAZING!!!!!! Thank You, Jesus!!!!!

Psalm 23 Flipped!

by Lead Pastor Chad Allen

Last weekend I taught a message on Psalm 23. You can find that message here.  This may be the most well-known passage of the Bible.  It is often referred to by its first line, “The Lord is my shepherd.”  I wanted to provide this post as a little extra food for thought and interaction on this passage.  So just follow along!

Review Psalm 23

Psalm 23 – A Psalm of David

[1] The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. [2] He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. [3] He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. [4] Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. [5] You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. [6] Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (ESV)

What if we flipped this Psalm?  What if we turned it inside out or backwards to see what it would read like if the Lord wasn’t our shepherd, but instead, if we continued to try and lead/shepherd our own lives?  Sometimes to grasp the beauty and depth of a passage of Scripture, we need to look at it from the opposite perspective to see the rich truths that God has given us in His Word.  If we did that to Psalm 23, maybe it would look and sound like this…

Psalm 23 Flipped

I am my own shepherd, so I’m always in want. I seek out green pastures in the fields of the world, but I cannot find them.  And what I do discover is inadequate and unfulfilling.  The water I drink of is tainted and poisoned. I am led by this world to a well with the appearance of sustainment, but after drinking, I am left thirsty.  I am never truly satisfied.  I cannot say that I lack nothing, for I find myself wanting everything.  I’m trapped trying to feed my greed rather than just my need.  Therefore my soul suffers.  

I feel trapped on uncertain and unsafe paths of unrighteousness, doing what I shouldn’t do and trying to make my own name. I walk through the valley of the shadow of death and I am distraught, alone, and afraid.  I see evil all around me and in me, and there is no possession, ritual, argument, philosophy, or even person who provides me comfort at the core of my inner being. My enemies surround me – fear, death, temptation, condemnation – and I feel overwhelmed, anxious, restless, weak, vulnerable and tired. 

Will I ever flourish?  Will I ever be at peace?  Will I ever have a sense of belonging and purpose?  Will I ever feel secure? Will I ever find true rest for my soul? Is there anyone who can help me or rescue me, or am I doomed to feel this hopeless and restless forever?

I am my own shepherd, so I’m always in want.

Reflection

After reading what God said in Psalm 23, followed by my distorted version, reflect on these questions:

  • How have I seen God shepherd my life and how has it led me to trust Him more?
  • How have I resisted God’s shepherding of my life and what has it cost me?
  • What is one action step I can take to better surrender to God’s shepherding over my life?  When will I take that step and who will I tell about it?

National Day of Prayer – Thursday, May 6, 2021

We can pray for America today and every day by lifting up seven critical centers of influence in our nation.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  1 Timothy 2:1-2

1. GOVERNMENT (Federal/State/Local)

“For God is the King of all the earth; sing to Him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on His holy throne. The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; He is greatly exalted.” Psalm 47:7-9

“May all kings bow down to Him and all nations serve Him.” Psalm 72:11

2. MILITARY and FIRST RESPONDERS

“From His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth — He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in You.” Psalm 33:14-22

3. MEDIA

“…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

4. BUSINESS

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”  Proverbs 22:1

5. EDUCATION

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

6. CHURCH

“So then, just as you received Jesus Christ as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:6-8

7. FAMILY

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” Romans 12:9-13

Sources

https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/prayer/pray-for-government-leadership.html

https://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/prayforamerica

A Gospel Prayer based on Ephesians 5:15-21

O Lord God, the Source of wisdom, truth, and goodness,

How deep are Your riches and wisdom and knowledge, God! How unsearchable are Your judgments and how inscrutable are Your ways (Romans 11:33). Your foolishness is wiser than men, and Your weakness is stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1:25). You are wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom (Isaiah 28:29).

I thank You, Lord, that You do not keep Your wisdom to Yourself. You have been gracious and generous in offering Your unfailing wisdom to me. From Your mouth come knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6).

Yet I have spurned Your wisdom. I have sinned against You and have lived foolishly. I have not looked carefully enough at how I’ve been living my life. I have not made the most of every opportunity that You have provided me. I’ve not used my head and watched my steps. Even though You have revealed Your ways in Your Word, I have not understood Your will.

As a result, my unwise choices have not only hurt me, but have hurt the people around me. I deserve to experience the painful consequences of my ill-advised attitudes and actions. 

But You, Lord, are a God of grace. You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ – Wisdom personified – to pay for all my foolish ways. He suffered on the cross in the place of a fool like me. He rose again and became my wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). Thank You for this gospel of grace.

So, Lord, help me to be careful how I live. Since these are evil times, help me to make every minute count. Teach me what You want me to do. Save me from being drunk on anything that could distract me from You. Instead, help me to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that I am constantly being guided by Him.

Help me to surround myself with Your wise children. Help me to be in a gospel-saturated community with people who address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, who sing and make melody to You, Lord, with our hearts. I want to live in close proximity with people who always give thanks for everything to You, Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And teach us all how to submit to – to yield to, to honor, to prefer – each other because of our common reverence for Christ. This truly is the way of wisdom.

My Father in heaven, only You can teach me to walk in wisdom. That’s why I give praise to You, the only wise God! To You be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ (Romans 16:27)!

Amen.

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 5:15-21. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, the Amplified Bible, the Contemporary English Version, the J.B. Phillips New Testament, The Message, and the New Living Translation.

ephesians

A Gospel Prayer based on Ephesians 5:8-14

O God of hope,

In a world filled with distress and despair, darkness and death, You are the blazing center of light and life. Because of who You are, You are able to fill everyone who comes to You with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may abound in hope (Romans 15:13).

Yet I have chosen to walk in the world’s darkness rather than in Your light. I have chosen to embrace what is bad and wrong and false. Over and over, I have done what is displeasing in Your sight. I have wasted time pursuing the fruitless deeds of darkness. It is shameful to even speak of the things I have done in secret. No wonder I feel depressed and dejected.

Even though I don’t deserve Your light in my life, You graciously offer me hope. You sent Your Son, Jesus, the Light of the world, to step down into my darkness. He lived the life I could not live. The fruit of His life was light, all that is good and right and true. He died the death I should have died. He suffered on the cross in darkness to pay for the shameful deeds I have done in secret. He rose again to give me light and life. Jesus is the Source of new life and new hope for all who believe. Truly, this is good news!

So, again today, I repent and believe the gospel. At one time I was darkness, but now I am in the light. Therefore, help me to walk as a child of Your light, taking in and giving out all that is good and right and true. Let my life be a living proof of all that pleases You, God.

May I take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness. Instead, help me to expose them. Keep me from a scandalous waste of my life. Save me from doing shameful things in secrecy.

Remind me that nothing escapes Your eternal, watchful, loving eyes. Your light shows everything for what it really is. All my intentions will be exposed when Your light shines on me. Your light makes everything visible.

So, Lord God Almighty, awaken me. Don’t let me sleep spiritually! I now live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. By Your grace and for Your glory, I have risen from the dead to new life in Christ.

So, may there be no more distress and despair, darkness and death for me. Because of the power of Your indwelling Spirit, I abound in hope. I claim the promise that Christ will shine on me. Shine, Jesus, shine on me, in me, and through me. Right now. This day. And every day.

Amen.

***

This prayer has been inspired by Ephesians 5:8-14. Some of the words and phrases in this prayer have been taken directly from the English Standard Version, the New Living Translation, The Message, the New International Version, and the J.B. Phillips New Testament.