A Prayer to Escape Doubt

“For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love.” Ephesians 1:4 

(NET)“Are you ready?!”I asked my daughter excitedly as we drove away from the school day and onto a new adventure.“Mommy …” she trailed off in amazement as the ballet company practice came into our line of sight. Nervous, but sure of her dream, she stretched and gazed upon the very thing she had envisioned herself doing so many times.

Our dreams are road maps to God’s growing process for our individual purpose. He chose us so specifically and specially to walk out into the world equipped with the ability He put in us, to spread His love in the way that only we can.

The word chose in the above verse is the Greek word, eklegomai, a verb that means “to choose, set apart, elect.” “It sometimes refers to decisions made by people …but can also signify the electing activity of God according to his divine purpose and grace.” -Mounce’s Complete Expository DirectoryDo we realize, when we walk out into a day filled with clouds of doubt, that the God of the universe is concerned about what we’re up to?

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A Prayer for the Heartbroken and Lonely on Valentine’s Day

In a matter of days after Christmas passes, the retail industry shifts from Christmas trees to heart-shaped chocolate boxes. Those in love embrace Valentine’s Day as another reason to celebrate, while others nurse broken hearts and mourn seasons of loneliness. This may be the year a man spends his first Valentine’s Day without his wife of over fifty years. It could be the premiere of a mom’s new, separated life and broken family. For someone else, the occasion may signify the inaugural holiday since the diagnosis. Others scroll through life wishing for more. Some clutch tightly to the smiles they are fighting for.

Few get to celebrate a soul-filling love. Christ is all we need to live a full life, yet we seek satisfaction from our earthly relationships. We craft, build, counsel, seek, and pedestal-place our significant others and spouses where they are bound to fall. Where do we turn? How do we heal? Does God care about our broken hearts, tear-stains and cracked promises?

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A Prayer for Peace in the Job Search

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:19 (NASB)

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone, and you get the feeling that what they are saying isn’t what they really mean? It can be hard to extract a straight answer in this world. We’re so obsessed over keeping the peace and accepting everyone’s truth, that we’ve muddled the conversational waters with FOOP – Fear of Offending People.

God doesn’t operate like this. His Word is Truth. When we are unemployed or desperately seeking for another career to replace the one we have, it can seem hard to understand God’s good plan for our lives. But take His Word to heart. When He says that He will supply all of our needs, He means it. However, it’s not always what we think we need. He knows, beyond our own ability to discern, what we truly need. “According to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19).

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A Prayer for Struggling Relationships

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Relationships remain imperfect because humanity is incapable of selfless love. Due to the fall in the garden of Eden, we are continually cursed with sin, keeping us from accomplishing correct communication with each other. Only one pair of feet have ever trod the earth in perfect obedience to God. Jesus came out of compassion for us. It’s through Him, that we can find victory in life, and our relationships. Not through perfection of our behavior, but through the perfect forgiveness and hope that His love grants us.

The very definition of ‘struggle’ is “to content with an adversary or opposing force.” We often pit the people on the other side of our relationships against ourselves. In addition to the disagreement at hand, we internally mull over all of the ways that we want them to treat us, and expect to be treated. We are set to a defensive default, but created to love.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Jesus taught that this was the most important command. The NIV Notes on this verse say that “Jesus’ teaching united his followers around love.” Unity is the opposite of struggling opposition. There’s nothing we can do to force our relationships to work. But we can focus on Love.

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A Prayer for the Strength to be Joyful

“Be joyful always.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (GLT)

The Bible commands us to “be joyful always,”(1Thessalonians 5:16) but it takes strength to hold onto joy when life threatens to snatch it from our hands. How do we recognize a threat to our joy, employ a strategy to refute it, and come out stronger on the other side of it …still gripping our God-given joy?

The misconception of Biblical joy is that it feels like happiness. Even though “always”encompasses happy times and feelings of bliss, true Christian joy can endure through extreme hardship and pain. Happy feelings aren’t a requirement to be “cheerful no matter what,” as the Message paraphrase of 1 Thessalonians 5:16reads.

“Be full of joy all of the time,” the New Life Version translates. “Always be joyful,”reads the New Living Translation. “Celebrate always,” the VOICE paraphrases, and“Rejoice always,” the New International Version states. Joy is an emotion of great delight. Praise expresses approval. Worship regards something as sacred. Celebration makes something known! (dictionary.com) Where do we find the strength to rejoice in the middle of trials, frustrations, and heartbreak …sickness, death, and despair …loneliness, fatigue, and unfairness? The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible states that “rejoicing might be associated with praise.”

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