Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Father of Righteousness,
You are good and merciful and you created a perfect world. Yet because evil entered this place, things have degenerated to the point that a brief glance at the news shows us a terribly-wounded earth and makes us fear our world is heading toward chaos. The grief from Japan’s natural disasters breaks our hearts and we pray for those dear people continuously. Yet unbelievably, natural disasters account for only a small portion of the ongoing human suffering in the world today. Most of the difficulties on earth come from man’s mistreatment of man. We don’t have space or time to list all the wars, murders, abuse and betrayal. Even those of us who are blessed with good families and live in a prosperous country that enjoys peace within our own borders have suffered because of the wrong choices of others. 
We’ve also suffered because of our own wrong choices.
Sadly, the human race as a whole has lost the ability to discern right from wrong. We confess we’ve lost our sense of loyalty. We no longer feel shame when we sin. But because of your power to heal human beings who submit themselves to you, we don’t have to feel hopeless and helpless. Because you still answer prayer, we believe there can be a worldwide change for good if enough of us turn from our wicked ways and look to you.
We accept our responsibility to make a difference by conforming to your character, but we can’t do that without your help because we are so often blind to our own errors. Open our eyes to recognize when we do wrong and help us choose righteousness. Make opportunities for us to teach the concepts of right versus wrong to our children and grandchildren. We commit to pray for the people with whom we come into contact daily. Help us push away selfishness, square our shoulders and follow your Golden Rule. You will give us godly character, Jesus. You can change our nation and the world. We ask for those things in your generous name, amen.

Supporting verses:
The Apostle Paul describes a man or woman of character. “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach . . . , sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable hospitable . . . not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well.” 1Timothy 3:2-4
The Apostle Peter said, “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, your virtue with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.”  2 Peter 1:5&6, 9
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.” Romans 12:17
The Golden Rule: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” Matthew 7:12
If my people, who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 1 Chronicles 7:14

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gracious Father,
Our hearts cry out to you for the people of Japan. We don’t claim to comprehend what they’re feeling because we have never experienced anything so devastating. But we do understand bits and pieces of their grief and fear. Some of us understand loss of loved ones and empty loneliness. Others of us know how it feels to lose jobs and wonder how we’ll find shelter. All our hearts pound when danger threatens. The mere mention of losing sons, daughters, spouses, parents, sisters, brothers or a home overwhelms us.
Yet these precious people have lost more. So much more.
We sorrow with the Japanese people.
Our prayers feel paltry and we barely know what to ask you for. Thank you that you see each of them through your eyes of love and you know exactly what they need. We know their troubles must necessarily continue for a while as repair of the country and healing of lives takes its natural course, but we also know that you are able to lessen the impact. You can supernaturally ease their pain even as suffering surrounds them.
Be merciful to them, Lord. Quiet the earth under them. Keep Mt. Fugi silent. Protect them from nuclear meltdowns and radiation exposure. Heal both the Japanese citizens and the American servicemen who have already been contaminated. Provide food and water for the people forced to search through rubble for something to eat. Warm them through the frigid nights. Guide them to locate lost loved ones.
Just as generous people around the world and across America donated to Haiti, prod them to open their purse strings to help the Japanese people.
Reveal yourself to the Japanese people, God. Draw them to you; save their bodies and souls. Offer comfort; be the balm for their grief and teach them to turn to you for courage when they fear. In the name of Jesus, we ask you to show yourself strong in the midst of those people. Pour out your blessings on them. Amen.

Supporting verses:
Two years before the earthquake of King Uzziah’s reign Amos prophesied a scene similar to Japan's earthquake and tsunami. “The LORD roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds mourn, and the top of Carmel withers. . . . The Lord God of hosts, he who touches the earth and it melts, and all who dwell in it mourn, and all of it rises like the Nile, and sinks again, like the Nile of Egypt, who builds his upper chambers in the heavens and founds his vault upon the earth; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth – the LORD is his name.” Amos 2:2; 9:5,6
In the midst of devastation for the Jewish people, Jeremiah wrote, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.” Lamentations 3:22—26
I, I am he who comforts you.” Isaiah 51:12
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotton Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gracious God in Heaven, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
            You are the incredible God who created the universe and loves each of us. You give only good gifts. We thank you because when we turned to you from disobedience and asked for forgiveness, you instantly forgave our sins. You released us from the miserable domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of your beloved Son. You sent the Spirit of your Son to live in us and change us on the inside. You offered us your peace and the hope of heaven -- no matter what we’d done or how bad we’d been. You qualified us to share in the inheritance of your saints even though we didn’t deserve it.
We are so grateful, Jesus. It’s such a relief to know we belong to you.
Yet sometimes, though intellectually we know you forgive and love us, the truth of that can be difficult to comprehend -- because we know we don’t deserve you. Our thoughts return to past sins and we feel so unworthy. Help us believe in your love and forgiveness. Bless us with the ability to feel your love.
Strengthen us according to your glorious might. Help us endure the difficulties we face today. Give us each patience and joy in the midst of problems. Your Word says that if we ask for wisdom, you’ll give it. Please give us wisdom. Fill us with the knowledge of your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so we can walk worthy of you and please you fully. Make us more and more like you. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Supporting verses:

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus . . . because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. We have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption; the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1: 3 – 5, 9 - 14

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." James 1:5          

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

O Gracious God who guards us  with power,

     We know you have an enemy who hates us because we belong to you, and he is bent on our destruction. Teach us to take responsibility for and confess our sins while keeping our eyes open to recognize when our troubles come from Satan rather than just our own failings.

     Help us understand that any time we feel worthless, we are suffering Satan’s fiery darts. We can be certain of that since all through your Word you assure us we are of great value to you, like a sparkling jewel in your hand. Remind us that when Satan rears his ugly head to point the finger at us he is at his most vulnerable, and that’s when we can resist him. Help us lift our heads and square our shoulders for battle rather than shrinking back in fear and shame. Give us muscle to lift the spiritual weapons listed in Ephesians while we turn to you in faith and prayer. Because you will help us. And when you do, it brings glory to your name. We pray in your name, Jesus, amen.

Supporting Verses:
“. . . who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” I Peter 1:5

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your Adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood through-out the world.” 1 Peter 5:8

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.” Isaiah 62:7

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” Ephesians 6:13 – 18

A final word from, A.W. Tozer, my beloved late father’s favorite author:
“When God allows the enemy to appear in our lives, it is that we may do him irreparable and eternal injury, thus glorifying God! For this purpose, God frequently brings to light in our own lives evils that were concealed, not that they might crush us, but that we might put them out of the way. If not for their discovery and resistance, they might continue to be hidden and some day break out with fatal effectiveness. God allows them to be provoked into action in order to challenge our resistance and lead us into an aggressive and victorious advance against them.”