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Heartfelt Prayers

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The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.”
James 5:16, The Message

It is a blessing to start my day with the reading of a devotional (or two or three) before reading from my Bible.  It’s sort of like stretching before going out to run—a bit of a warm-up to get my mind tuned-in before studying His Word.  I hope Excellent or Praiseworthy does the same for you—getting you to think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.  God commanded us to do that in Philippians 4:8 and it is the goal of our twice-weekly postings. 

Because I enjoy devotional books so much, I was thrilled to receive two new ones specifically written for military members and those who love and pray for them.  Particularly inspiring are the prayers at the end of each Scripture-based devotional entry. Since these prayers were written for you, let me share some of them as a means of encouraging you during these tender days. The following are from The One Year Yellow Ribbon Devotional, authored by Brenda Pace and Carol McGlothlin:

“Father, thank you for the encouragement of your Word today.  Help me to stand firm in your grace and to speak words of hope to someone today.  I pray for those in the military who might feel discouraged.  May they look to you for help and guidance, and may they know that they are not alone when they call out to you.  Amen.”   (“You Can Do It!reading for February 22)

“Creator of the universe, ‘How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!’ (Psalm 139:17-18). Remind me of the sacrifice military personnel make being away from family and loved ones. Comfort their hearts, and give them an awareness of your closeness and care. Amen.” (“Somewhere Out There”, reading for March 16)

“Father, I choose to be grateful for the trials you allow me to experience. I pray my attitude would be one of perseverance and hope as I look forward to the day when trials on this earth will be complete. Bless those who are persevering under extremely difficult circumstances as they serve on battlefields around the world. Amen.” (“An Ugly Couch”, reading for March 31)

“Great Physician of body and soul, thank you for your delivering power. Help me to stand still in prayer and devotion, not from duty but for love. Make my faith strong and steady as I trust you to work in the situations that concern me today. I pray for the faith of those who feel as if their world is spinning out of control because of circumstances brought on by the War on Terror. In your name I pray. Amen.” (“Stand Still”, reading for April 9)

“Loving Savior, you came to bring a personal message of love and hope to individuals like me, my neighbors, and my fellow Americans serving the country in the military. Thank you for your personal presence and involvement in my life. Your coming changed the world, and your coming changed me. Help me never to lose the child-like wonder as I stand to praise you! Bring that same wonder to those servicemen and women who do not yet know you. Amen.” (“Hey, unto You a Child Is Born!”, reading for December 25)

The other new devotional I received is entitled Faith Deployed, and is written by Jocelyn Green and fourteen other contributing authors from every branch of the U.S. military. One of the writers included also writes for Excellent or Praiseworthy—Vanessa Peters is her name. It touched my heart that this book is devoted to the memory of Denise McColl, who impacted my life with her book, Footsteps of the Faithful. You can read about the influence Denise had in our EorP devotional from March 31st entitled, “What Would It Look Like?” 

There are eighty-six devotionals in Faith Deployed, and each one ends with a prayer. Let me share some of them:

“Lord, Increase my faith and give me the discipline and courage so that I might surrender my life, my hopes, and my dreams to You daily. Help me to desire Your glory more than my own comfort and convenience. Show me what it means to be submitted to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” (“When Surrender Means Victory” by Jocelyn Green).

“Lord, Thank you that You are totally in control of the decisions the nations’ leaders are making presently. I choose not to lean on my own understanding. Bind the ugly spirit of fear from me, from my husband, from our children, from our family and friends.  Draw us close to You through all of this, to hear You, to see You, to serve You better than ever before.  And, Lord when it’s all over, may we never revert to the place from which You moved us, grew us, and strengthened us.  Help us, at this difficult intersection, to choose to stay on the road You’ve marked out for us in Your perfect wisdom and love. Use me, Lord, as You see best.  Don’t allow me to be overcome by fear or paralyzed by hopelessness or anger. Empty me of me and fill me with You. Not mine, but Your will be done. In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.”  (“Though My Heart Quakes. . .” by Marshele Carter Waddell)

“Lord, First John 4:8 reminds me that Your very nature is love. When my trust in You is shaken, remind me of Your character.  As I journey through the difficult places in this life, teach me to draw near to You and be covered in Your great love for me. El-shaddai, You are sufficient for the needs of Your people.  Give me courage and hope as I choose to trust You with all my heart.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” (“Trust” by Rebekah Benimoff with Jocelyn Green)

I hope these prayers spoke to your heart today. Perhaps they even inspired you to pray more fervently for your loved ones serving in the military—or even for yourself. 

Consider what the great writer on prayer, E. M. Bounds, wrote about the purpose of prayer:

“Without prayer the Christian life, robbed of its sweetness and its beauty, becomes cold and formal and dead; but rooted in the secret place where God meets and walks and talks with His own, it grows into such a testimony of divine power that all men will feel its influence and be touched by the warmth of its love. Thus, resembling Our Lord and master, we shall be used for the glory of God and the salvation of our fellowmen. And that, surely, is the purpose of all real prayer and the end of all true service.”  E. M. Bounds, who served as a chaplain during the Civil War, wrote The Purpose of Prayer which was published in 1920.

“Is any one of you in trouble?  He should pray.”  –James 5:13

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”       — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

Bounds, E. M., The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds on Prayer (Grand Rapids:  Baker Books, compiled in 1990), p. 365.

Green, Jocelyn. Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives (Chicago:  Moody Publishers, 2008).

Pace, Brenda and McGlothlin, Carol. The One Year Yellow Ribbon Devotional (Carol Stream:  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2008).

Questions to Share:

  1. Right now, take some time to pray for those whom you know are in need.
  2. Pray for yourself, that you will grow in faith, hope, and love as you serve our country.
  3. Ask your spouse to pray for you in specific areas in which you are struggling.
  4. Ask your spouse how you can pray for them in areas in which they are struggling. 

 

 

 

 

 

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