The Lord’s Prayer—A Perfect Model

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”
(1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, NIV).

Introduction:  In Matthew 6:9–13, our Lord Jesus Christ gave His disciples (and us) a perfect prayer model. For, just as the Ten Commandments are the rule of our life, and the sum of our faith, so the Lord’s Prayer is meant to be the pattern of our prayer: “Pray then like this . . .” (Matthew 6:9a). In other words, Christ has established the rule and model upon which our prayers should be framed. However, this does not mean we are to be tied to the exact words of the Lord’s Prayer. Rather, Christ was basically saying, “This, then, is how you should pray.” As much as possible, all of our petitions should therefore be in agreement and harmony with whatever He expressed in the Lord’s Prayer. With that in mind, author-pastor Dr. John S. Barnett suggests that Christ’s perfect prayer model be divided into these daily prayer themes: [1]

Sunday:          Prayers of Worship – Matthew 6:9b
Monday:          Prayers for Ministry – Matthew 6:10
Tuesday:         Prayers for Family Needs – Matthew 6:11
Wednesday:    Prayers for Forgiveness & Reconciliation – Matthew 6:12
Thursday:        Prayers for Victory – Matthew 6:13a
Friday:             Prayers of Reflection – Matthew 6:13b
Saturday:        Prayers of Praise and Preparation for Sunday – Matthew 6:13c

In A. W. Tozer’s beloved classic called The Pursuit of God is a Study Guide with this excellent suggestion: “Why not try relating God’s Word back to Him when you pray? Often referred to as ‘praying the Scriptures,’ this is a good discipline that helps us focus on God. It allows God to speak to us. . . . You may not want to pray this way all the time, but see if it doesn’t bring a deeper sense of intimacy into your prayer life. [For then] your focus will turn from a ‘prayer list’—gazing at needs—to the Supplier—gazing at God.” [2]

To help you establish a pattern for systematic Word-filled praying, this daily prayer journal was based upon the Lord’s Prayer plus related Scriptures to pray back to the Lord. (Since it is God’s will in Christ that His children “pray continually,” as the Holy Spirit leads, other prayers should also be offered throughout each day.)

In addition, to help you “Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19, NIV), eight beautiful hymns were included. As a result, through Word-filled prayers plus worshipful singing you will be blessed with some of the sweetest times possible with the Lord Jesus Christ!  (Note: To access the eight recordings, press Control plus click on each title’s link.)

[1] Portions of the Lord’s Prayer themes are from Dr. Barnett’s The Joy of a Word Filled Family (Appendix B, pp. 380–394.) Used by permission. That excellent book plus his Word Filled Families Walk in Truth (Dec 1, 2009, Mullerhaus Publishing) are available through Amazon.com in a variety of formats.

[2] The Pursuit of God with Study Guide (Camp Hill, PA: Wing Spread Publishers, © 2006, pp. 139, 140).

Sunday: Prayers of Worship

“Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9b, NKJV).

God is everywhere, watching, superintending, overseeing, governing everything in the highest interest of man, and carrying forward His plans and executing His purposes in creation and redemption. He is not an absentee God. . . . The wonders of God’s power are to be kept alive, made real and present, and repeated only by prayer.[1]

What better way to prepare for the Lord’s Day services than to fill our heart and mind beforehand with prayers of worship! For, if there is no worship, there is no change in the life. What is worship?[2]

Worship is the submission of all our nature to God: quickening of our conscience by His holiness—being renewed through the life and power of our endless lives in Christ; nourishment of mind by His truth; purification of imagination by His beauty; openness of our hearts by His love; submission of our wills to His purpose. All of this gathered together in adoration is the greatest of all expressions of which we are capable.

One clear way our Father in heaven invites our worship is by revealing Himself through His divine names and titles in His Word. And, one of the greatest insights into adoring the Lord Jesus Christ is in Revelation—a twenty-two chapter gold mine of real treasures as the LORD unveils Christ’s deity through more than sixty-seven names and titles. For, “All things have been handed over to [Jesus] by [his] Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father . . . [who] so loved the world, that he gave his only Son . . . in order that the world might be saved through him” (Matthew 11:27a; John 3:16a, 17b, ESV).

So then, let us now focus on worshiping our awesome Father God through heartfelt praises for our Lord Jesus Christ and His majestic names and titles in Chapters 1–22 of Revelation:

Chapter 1: He is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, ruler over the kings of the earth, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Almighty, the First and the Last, the Son of Man, the living One!
Chapter 2: He is the administrator of the church who has the sharp two-edged sword, eyes like a flame of fire, and feet like fine brass!
Chapter 3: He is the One who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, who is holy and true, who has the key of David, who is the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the Creation of God!
Chapter 4:  He is the One who sits on the throne in heaven!
Chapter 5:  He is  the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, and the Lamb who was slain—who lives forever and ever!
Chapter 6:  He is the wrathful Lamb!
Chapter 7:  He is the redeeming Lamb and the providing Lamb!
Chapter 8:  He is the patient collector of our prayers!
Chapter 9:  He is the One who holds back the monsters from the abyss!
Chapter 10: He is the Creator of heaven and earth and sea!
Chapter 11: He is Christ, the Lord God Almighty!
Chapter 12: He is the Christ, the Lamb, Jesus!
Chapter 13: He is the Lamb, whose is the Book of Life!
Chapter 14: He is the Lamb on Mount Zion, Jesus, the Lord, the Son of Man!
Chapter 15: He is again the Lamb, the Lord God Almighty, the King of saints, the Lord!
Chapter 16: He is the One who was and is and is to be, the Lord God Almighty!
Chapter 17: He is Jesus, the Lamb—Lord of lords and King of kings!
Chapter 18: He is the Lord God!
Chapter 19: He is the Lord our God, the Lord God, the Lamb, Jesus, the Faithful and True, the Word of God, Almighty God, King of kings and Lord of lords!
Chapter 20: He is Jesus, the Christ!
Chapter 21: He is the Alpha and Omega, the Lamb, the Lord God Almighty!
Chapter 22: He is the Lamb, the Lord God, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, Jesus, the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star, the Lord Jesus—our Lord Jesus!

What a joy and privilege it is to worship our great God!

  • “The Lord lives! Praise be to [our] Rock! Exalted be God [our] Savior! . . .
        Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
        worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness” (Psalms 18:46, 29:2, NIV).[3]
  • “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
       You have set your glory in the heavens. . . .
    When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
         the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
     what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
         human beings that you care for them?
    You have made them a little lower than the angels
         and crowned them with glory and honor. . . .
    Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1, 3–5, 9, NIV).
  • “Lord, you have been our dwelling placethroughout all generations.
       Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world,
          from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:1–2, NIV).
  • “O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
    In wisdom You have made them all.
    The earth is full of Your possessions—
        May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    May the Lord rejoice in His works” (Psalm 104:24, 31, NKJV).
  • “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High,
           proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, . . .
     For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
     How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts!” (Psalm 92:1–2, 4–5, NIV).
  • “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. . . .
     [For] the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
          on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, . . .
     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 33:8, 18, 21–22, NIV).
  • “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. . . . [For] the government will be on [your] shoulders. And [you] will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.[4]   . . .  [May] your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Psalm 57:5; Isaiah 9:6b; Matthew 6:10, NIV).

Suggested Hymn:  “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending”  (—Charles Wesley)

Lo! He comes with clouds descending, Once for favoured sinners slain;
Thousand, thousand, saints attending, Swell the triumph of His train;
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God appears on earth to reign.

Every eye shall now behold Him,  Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who set at naught and sold Him, Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
Deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing, Shall the true Messiah see.

The dear tokens of His passion Still His dazzling body bears;
Cause of endless exultation To His ransomed worshipers;
With what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars!

Yea, Amen! let all adore Thee, High on Thy eternal throne;
Saviour, take the power and glory, Claim the kingdom for Thine own;
O, come quickly! O, come quickly! O, come quickly!
Everlasting God, come down!

            “‘Holy, holy, holy
      is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”

  “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
      for you created all things,
  and by your will they were created
and have their being” (Revelation 4:8b, 11, NIV).

Today’s Living Hope Summary Prayer—
We worship You,  oh mighty King, for there is none like You! It is truly extravagant of You to have taken us from the pit, out of the miry clay, to wash and robe us with Your righteousness; to set our feet upon the Rock; to give us a new name, and a personal intimate relationship with You—and to promise to us all the rights of being a joint heir with You, oh Jesus! We are overwhelmed with unspeakable gratitude! At the conclusion of Your Revelation, we pray that we will understand how You are truly pouring out Your grace, mercy, and love in abundance—our inheritance in Christ. And we thank You in advance for that! Bless us as we study [Your Word] this week; fill our hearts with the wonders of who You are, Lord Jesus. Then help us to choose to live in such a way that we, too, will reflect Your wonders. In Your precious name we pray. Amen.[5]

[1] E. M. Bounds’  A Treasury of Prayer (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1961), pp. 190–191, as cited in Dr. John S. Barnett’s Appendix B of The Joy of a Word Filled Family (Mullerhaus Publishing, Tulsa, OK, © 2004).  Used by permission.

[2] This initial introduction to worship plus the “Today’s Living Hope Summary Prayer” at the end of each day’s theme are from Dr. Barnett’s Living Hope for the End of Days (Tulsa, OK, Discover the Book Ministries, © 2007; Foreword by John MacArthur). Used by permission. This extremely encouraging book of 365 daily devotions on Revelation is rated “5 stars” at Amazon.com and is available in Paperback, Unlimited Kindle, and other formats.

[3] All NIV quotes are from the New International Version, © 2011.

[4] In Isaiah 11:1, just as the Spirit of the Lord came upon David when he was anointed king, … so He will rest upon David’s descendant, Christ, who will rule the world. In Isaiah 11:2, “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him” refers to the 3 persons of the Holy Trinity (see 6:3). “The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD” are Spirit-imparted qualifications that will enable the Messiah to rule the earth justly and effectively. (Compare the 7-fold Spirit in Rev. 1:4.) In the New Testament, Christ dwells in believers through the Holy Spirit. Hence, “the Spirit of truth” is the source of all truth which centers in Christ (John 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13-15; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:12-16). [Source: The MacArthur Study Bible, © 1997, Word Publishing]

[5]  To ask in Jesus’ “name” doesn’t mean simply tacking such an expression onto the end of a prayer as a habit. Rather, as we come to the Father through Christ (John 14:13; 15:16; 16:23,24; Eph 5:20) with a reverential attitude, we do so with the Holy Spirit working within us, energizing us to pray. For, when we pray, we are praying “in the [Holy] Spirit” (Eph 6:18; Jude 20). Thus, it is a great privilege to come to our Father (Abba) as adopted children in the name of the Son and on the basis of his mediation for us (Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6) for then our heavenly Father loves and actively cares for us in Jesus’ “name”—and His eternal glory!

Monday: Prayers for Ministry

Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10, NKJV).

God requires to be represented by a fiery Church, or He is not in any proper sense, represented at all.  . . . The great and eternal interests of heaven-born God-given religion are the only things about which His Church can afford to be on fire.[1]

Isaiah’s vision of our majestic, holy, and righteous God sitting on His throne, full of all His glory, instantly brought him to his knees with a sense of his total unworthiness. (Isaiah 6:1–8) His worship of the Most High God thus produced repentance, obedience, and finally ministry, as he cried out, “Here I am, Lord! Send me!” Though still very conscious of his sin, Isaiah was prepared to serve anywhere, anytime, anyhow, or anyway God directed because he was completely submitted to God’s will. Our own worship should likewise be focused on punctuating every moment with inward whisperings of adoration, praise, and thanksgiving for our Most High God. May He grant us a “fiery Church” with Holy Spirit-prompted prayer ministries which inspire us all to:

  • Come before God with reverence by remembering His holiness vs. our own sinful nature.
  • Pray out of insufficiency since “. . . apart from [Jesus, we] can do nothing” (John 15:5).
  • Pray pleading the Lord’s mercy because we don’t deserve anything
  • Pray with confidence for “if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us [and] . . . we have the requests that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:14b, 15b).
  • Pray in Jesus’ Name—our beloved Intercessor and Mediator!

Because Christ has called His church to be faithful, pray that He will energize us to daily:

  • “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which [we] were called and about which [we] made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12).
  • “Watch and pray that [we] will not fall into temptation.The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41, NIV).
  • “Put on the whole armor of God, so that [we] can take [our] stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11, NIV).
  • Use “. . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God [to] . . . pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, [may we each] be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:17b, 18, NIV).

We should also pray that all governmental authorities will be led according to God’s perfect will because “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people” (Proverbs 14:34, NIV).

  • [Heavenly Father, may] “. . . petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. [For] This is good, and pleases God our Savior,who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1–4, NIV).
  • [Sovereign LORD, since You require a “fiery Church” to represent Your eternal interests, may a holy fire be sent from above to rekindle those souls who are about to lose or have already lost their “first love” for Christ. For You,] “. . . the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy [have said]:’I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones'” (Isaiah 57:15, NKJV).
  • “Will you not revive us again,that your people may rejoice in you? . . . We wait in hope for [you,] Lord;[you are] our help and our shield. In [you] our hearts rejoice,for we trust in [your] holy name.  May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you” (Psalms 85:6, 33:20–22, NIV).

Suggested Hymn:  Revive Us Again”  (—William P. Mackay)
We praise Thee, O God, for the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus who died and is now gone above.

We praise Thee, O God, for Thy Spirit of light.
Who has shown us our Savior and banished our night.

All glory and praise to the Lamb that was slain.
Who has taken our sins and has cleansed every stain.

Revive us again—fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.

Hallelujah, Thine the glory! Hallelujah, amen!
Hallelujah, Thine the glory! Revive us again. Amen.

Prayers for Church Ministries

 Because of their deep faith in the Lord Jesus and love for the saints, we should praise our heavenly Father often for His “good and perfect gifts” of church leadership, Sunday school teachers, music ministries, and missionaries serving Christ throughout the world. (See  www.persecution.com for insights into how to best pray for the persecuted church,)

  • [Oh, Father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, please grant each of these beloved servants] “. . . the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that [they] may know Christ better. [Enlighten their hearts] in order that [they] may know the hope to which he has called [them], the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,and his incomparably great power for [all] who believe” (Ephesians 1:17b-19a, NIV).
  • “And this is my prayer: that [their] love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that [they] may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9–11, NIV).
  • [LORD, may they also] “. . . eagerly expect and hope that [they] will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in [their] body, whether by life or by death.For . . . to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20–21, NIV).
  •  [Father,] “. . . out of [your] glorious riches . . . strengthen [them] with power through [your] Spirit in [their] inner being,so that Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith. And I pray that [they], being rooted and established in love,may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that [they] may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16–19, NIV).

Prayers for a Personal Ministry

Because of Christ’s immeasurable love for lost souls, we should also faithfully pray for our unsaved friends, neighbors, and co-workers. For that reason, especially ask the Lord to give you a Christlike love through which He can build relationships that will draw many of them to Jesus for salvation.

  • [Precious LORD,] “I pray that [my] love will overflow more and more, and that [I] will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want . . . to understand what really matters, so that [I] may live [a] pure and blameless [life] until the day of Christ’s return. May [I] always be filled with the fruit of [my] salvation—the righteous character produced in [my] life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God” (Philippians 1:9–11, NLT).

      Suggested Hymn:  O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” (—Samuel Trevor Francis) Alternate Tune by Sovereign Grace

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean In its fullness over me,
Underneath me, all around me, Is the current of Thy love;
Leading onward, leading homeward To Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,  Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, Changeth never, nevermore;
How He watches o’er His loved ones, Died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, Watcheth o’er them from the throne.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, Love of every love the best;
‘Tis an ocean vast of blessing, ‘Tis a haven sweet of rest,
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,  ‘Tis a heav’n of heav’ns to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, For it lifts me up to Thee. Amen.

  • [Glorious Father, please help me be] “. . . resolved to know nothing while [with my unsaved friends, neighbors, and co-workers] except Jesus Christ and him crucified. . . . [May] my message [not be] with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that [their] faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:2, 4–5, NIV).
  • “Moreover, . . . far be it from me that I should sin against [You] Lord in ceasing to pray for [them]; but [help me] teach the good and the right way [so they will] . . . serve [You] in truth with all [their] heart; for consider what great things [You have] done for [them]” (1 Samuel 12:23–24, NKJV).

Today’s Living Hope Summary Prayer—
Thank You,  dear Father, for our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ [who has so clearly expressed in His written Word] what those who will be good and faithful servants are doing during their earthly lives. How we long for Your approval! Do we have Your approval? If not, what can we do? How can we live? What can we invest our life’s breath in that will lead to Your saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”? That is what we long to be. We want to have Your spiritual ears today to hear what You have to say. We want to be doers of Your Word, . . . and not just hearers. To that end we commit ourselves and pray with expectancy for You to illumine our hearts and quicken our wills that we might have Your approval. In the lovely name of Jesus we pray. Amen

[1] Ibid., E. M. Bounds, p. 133.

Tuesday: Prayers for Family Needs

“Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11, NKJV).

Prayer goes by faith into the great fruit orchard of God’s exceeding great and precious promises, and with hand and heart picks the ripest and richest fruit. The promises, like electricity, may sparkle and dazzle, yet be impotent for good till these dynamic life-giving currents are chained by prayer, and are made the mighty forces which move and bless.[1]

Whether family members are near or far, we should pray for their needs which may include physical, financial, spiritual, or specific personal needs. But when we approach God’s throne of grace, we need to do so in faith. For, “without faith, [taking God at His Word,] it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6a).

  • [Father God, just as the first century church needed Christ’s discourse on worry and its cure, so do we when being tempted to feel torn apart by circumstances. Therefore, please remind us that His message applies to today’s church as well.  For, Jesus said:]

“I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? . . . For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:25, 32–34, NIV; cf. Matthew 6:25–34).

  • [God of All Comfort, even though] “The spirit is willing, [sometimes] the flesh is weak. . . . [For that reason, we need your additional grace and strength to] . . . not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, [help us] present [our] requests to [you]. And [then] the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus” (Matthew 26:41b; Philippians 4:6–7, NIV]

      Suggested Hymn:  Like a River Glorious”  (—Frances Ridley Havergal)

       Like a river glorious Is God’s perfect peace,
       Over all victorious In its bright increase;
       Perfect, yet it floweth Fuller every day,
       Perfect, yet it groweth Deeper all the way.

Refrain:
Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest,
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

       Hidden in the hollow Of His blessed hand,
       Never foe can follow, Never traitor stand;
       Not a surge of worry, Not a shade of care,
       Not a blast of hurry Touch the spirit there.

       Every joy or testing Comes from God above,
       Given to His children As an act of love;
       We may trust Him fully All for us to do—
       Those who trust Him wholly Find Him wholly true.

       Trusting in Jehovah, Hearts are fully blest—
       Finding, as He promised, Perfect peace and rest.

  • [Oh, Gracious Jehovah, the Self-Existent One, the Great I AM, how incredibly grateful we are that your] “. . . steadfast love . . . never ceases;[your] mercies never come to an end;they are new every morning; and great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23, ESV).
  • [LORD, we are also very thankful for]  “. . . the confidence we have in approaching [you]: that if we ask anything according to [your] will, [you hear] us.And if we know that [you hear] us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we [have] asked of [you]” (1 John 5:14–15, NIV).
  • [As we] “Take delight in [you,] Lord,  . . . give [us] the desires of [our] heart [which are aligned with your own]” (Psalm 37:4, NIV).

Pray for reality in your family’s spiritual lives, such as:

Saving Faith—[Oh, Merciful Father, please hear this earnest prayer that you give a saving faith to all family members by] “. . . open[ing] their eyes and turn[ing] them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in [the Lord Jesus Christ]” (Acts 26:18, NIV).

Living in Victory—[Father of our Lord Jesus, also give each true believer a victorious life of faith in Christ who promised:] “ ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. . . . [For,] the Spirit of truth . . . will guide you into all the truth’ “ (John 8:31–32, 16:13, NIV).

Loving God’s Word—[Through the Spirit of truth’s teachings, may each of Your beloved children] “. . . grow [mightily] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ [and] . . . not [depart] from the commandment of [His] lips; [but treasure] the words of His mouth More than [their] necessary food” (2 Peter 3:18a; Job 23:12, NKJV).

Thinking of Heaven—[Furthermore, may those who have been made alive in Christ] “. . . set [their] hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at [your] right hand . . . . [And,] Set [their] minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1b–2, NIV).

Finding Sin Repulsive—[Should any family members grieve your Holy Spirit, please work in each heart to so hate such sin that they will humbly pray:]  “I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin” (Psalm 38:18, NIV).

Staying Tender Toward God—[LORD, let this then become their fervent prayer:] “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. . . . Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. . . . My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (Psalm 51:10, 15, 17, NIV).

Today’s Living Hope Summary Prayer—
Father, our hope is in You. You are our refuge. Although You do not remove the difficulties of life, You just make it so much sweeter in those times when we flee to You [and trust You wholly]. For there in Your embrace we find hope and joy and peace and strength to go on—and to go back and [patiently] endure until You come or call. . . . It could even be that the days written in Your book for us end this week. We pray that we would therefore be those who live for You, Lord Jesus, a life  that is true and right. I pray that You,  Holy Spirit, will put Your finger into the hearts of each one of us and point out those untoppled idols, unforsaken sins, those unrestrained areas of flesh in our lives, and that we would say, “Lord, I don’t want to be found living, talking, acting, or doing that in my last moments when You come or call for me.”  I pray that we would make those choices while we’re thinking about getting ready to stand before You with all the redeemed, with all the angelic hosts, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.” We love You, Lord! Captivate our hearts we pray! In the name of Jesus. Amen.

[1]  E. M. Bounds, pp. 178-179

Wednesday: Prayers for Forgiveness and/or Reconciliation

“And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12, NKJV).

Men must walk in upright fashion in order to be able to pray well. . . . Praying takes its tone and vigor from the life of the man or the woman exercising it. When character and conduct are at a low ebb, praying can but barely live, much less thrive.[1]

Immediately following the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus said that if we don’t forgive the trespasses of others, then our heavenly Father will not forgive us. (Matthew 6:14) Furthermore, God tells us that if we regard iniquity in our heart, He will not hear our prayers. (Psalm 66:18) While it’s true that sins should be confessed daily (1 John 1:9), we also need a regular quiet time of concentrated examination to insure that our walk is not slowly being tarnished by undetected “black spots.” Thus, keeping “clean accounts” with God and others is imperative if we are to live the Word-filled life.

  • [Father God, please] “. . . forgive [me my] debts,as [I] also have forgiven [my] debtors. . . . [For] you, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you” (Matthew 6:12; Psalm 86:5, NIV).
  • [Thank you, Abba, Father,[1] for your great mercy which] “. . . does not treat [me] as [my] sins deserve or repay [me] according to [my] iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is [your] love for those who fear [you]; as far as the east is from the west, so far [have you] removed [my] transgressions from [me]” (Psalm 103:10–12, NIV).

Suggested Hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”   (—Isaac Watts)   Alternate Tune – Chelsea Moon
                             Piano Only

       When I survey the wondrous cross, On which the Prince of glory died,
       My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.

       Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God;
       All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.

       See, from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down:
       Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

       Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were an off’ring far too small;
       Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.  Amen.
Love so amazing, so Divine, Demands my soul, my life, MY ALL. Amen.

Prayers for Stability in Your Family’s Relational Lives

Cultivating Love for Family Members[Beloved Father, because of all you have done for us through Christ, may our behavior and attitude glorify you as we] “. . . clothe [ourselves] with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. [May we also] Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of [us] has a grievance against someone.  . . .  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds [us] all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12–13b, 14, NIV).

Trusting God When Troubles Come—[Should some family members rebel, LORD, please empower them to repent because] “. . . rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:23a, NKJV).

Waiting for God’s Chosen Partner[In addition, grant wisdom so that no one will become] “. . . yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14, NIV).

Loving God’s Plan for Their Lives—[As believers grow in faith, may each one gratefully say to you, the awesome Creator of the Universe:] “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. . . . How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:14, 17, NIV).

  • [Sovereign LORD, because they are your] “. . . handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which [you] prepared in advance for [them] to do,” [please instill a deep longing in them to lovingly and faithfully follow your perfect plan for their life!] (Ephesians 2:10, NIV).

Today’s Living Hope Summary Prayer—
Father, I pray that Your Spirit will touch our hearts with the reality that You own the universe and are sitting at the finish line. May we live this life acknowledging that You own “me and mine.” I pray that we would hold our unclenched hands toward You and say, “All I am, and all I have, I give to You.” Father, I pray that You, who inhabit our thoughts and hear our words before they are on our tongues, would have heard from Your people the most transforming word we could give You from our salvation onward—”We relinquish the care of all that we are and have so that we can be free to live and walk by faith as Your servants.” Lord, we want to be good stewards; help us to invest time in Your Word getting our marching orders. Help us to spend time talking to You to find out how You want us to manage our time, treasures, and talents. Help us to desire to do things that draw us to You, oh Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

[1] E.M. Bounds, p. 163

[2] Abba. An informal, Aram. term for Father that conveys a sense of intimacy. Like the Eng. terms “Daddy” or “Papa,” it connotes tenderness, dependence, and a relationship free of fear or anxiety (Romans 8:15; cf. Mark 14:36 and Galatians 4:6). MacArthur Study Bible.

Thursday: Prayers for Victory

“And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13a, NKJV).

Prayer is a wonderful power placed by Almighty God in the hands of His saints, which may be used to accomplish great purposes and to achieve unusual results. [1]

In John 15:5, Jesus said that without Him, we can do nothing. For, only through abiding in Christ and His Word can we have the power to be victorious. Thus, by putting on the whole armor of God through prayers flowing from a Word-filled life He will “deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13a)!

  • [Father in heaven, please lead me to daily] “Put on the full armor of God, so that [I] can take [my] stand against the devil’s schemes. . . . [Also, help me] Watch and pray so that [I] will not fall into temptation. [For] The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Ephesians 6:11; Matthew 26:41, NIV).
  • [Should I “fall into temptation,” Father, please remind that] “No temptationhas overtaken [me] except what is common to mankind. And [that you are] faithful; [you] will not let [me] be tempted beyond what [I] can bear. But when [I am] tempted, [you] will also provide a way out so that [I] can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV).
  • [LORD, because] “. . . the weapons of our warfare are not of the [world] but have divine power to destroy [satanic] strongholds, [may the Spirit of truth guide me to] destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ [through] . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God . . .” (2 Corinthians 10:4–5; Ephesians 6:17b, ESV).

                        Suggested Hymn:  How Firm a Foundation
(Based on  2 Timothy 2:19; Isaiah 43:1-2; Hebrews 13:5)

How firm a foundation, you saints of the LORD,
Has been laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He has said—
Unto you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

And “When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be your supply.
I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”

“The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not, desert to his foes.
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”

How firm a foundation, you saints of the LORD,
Has been laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
The promise of God to His children below:
“Do not fear, I am with you wherever you go!”

  • [Beloved Father,] “. . . thanks be to [you, oh] God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, [may I] be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord [my] labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:57–58, ESV).
  • [Because] “. . . our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against . . . the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms . . . [please lead me to] . . . pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, [help me] be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:12, 18, NIV).

Prayers for Integrity in Your Family’s Personal Lives

Maintaining a Clear Conscience—[Oh, Father, please energize each of your children with a love characterized by self-denial and selflessness which leads to] “. . . a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5b, NIV).
Learning to Stand Alone—[In addition, help them truly comprehend that Christ’s] “. . . divine power has given [them] everything [they] need for a godly life through [their] knowledge of him who called [them] by his own glory and goodness [to salvation]” (2 Peter 1:3, NIV).
Seeking to Stay Pure in Mind and Body—[Because young Christians are] “. . . sojourners and pilgrims [in a hostile world, grant them empowerment to] abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, . . . [and may they] Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (1 Peter 2:11; 2 Timothy 2:22, NKJV).
Evidencing a Servant’s Heart—[Through your precious Holy Spirit also enlighten] “. . . whoever wants to be first [that they] must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:44-45, NIV).
Not Becoming Bitter in Trials—[Sovereign LORD, should our family be providentially allowed to suffer some severe trials, grant us grace and strength to never]  “. . .  grieve the Holy Spirit . . . [but] Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. [Instead, may we] Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ [you] forgave us” (Ephesians 4:30a, 31–32, NIV).

Today’s Living Hope Summary Prayer—

Oh Lord, thank You that we have the precious privilege of having the greatest Bible teacher of all time living within us—the author. By Your grace and through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have the anointing of  Your Holy Spirit.  . . . Therefore, as we study and ponder and consider Your Word, gently illumine and quiet our hearts to the truth of the response that You wish from us. For, in this conflict of the ages, in the swirling celestial battlefield that is amassed around Your children, we are the focal point of the dragon who seeks to disarm us from being able to walk in the power of Your Spirit through Your Word. I pray that we would say yes to You, oh God. May we resist the devil so he will flee from us, and may we see many turn from darkness to light around us. May our words of witness be effectual as Your Spirit wings into the heart of each one we speak to. I pray that we will learn about the victory of Jesus and be confident that we are more than conquerors through Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.

How to Detect and Defeat Satan

“. . . deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13a, NKJV).

 “. . . the weapons of our warfare . . . have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God [by taking] every thought captive to obey Christ . . .” (2 Corinthians 10:4–5).

In The Strategy of Satan: How to Detect and Defeat Him (© 1979), its well-known author Warren W. Wiersbe emphasized conquering the enemy by obeying God’s truth. In Chapters 1–4, his material centers on Satan’s attacks as a Deceiver, Destroyer, Ruler, and Accuser. From then, Wiersbe discusses how to defeat the devil in the church and in the home. His entire book reveals the nature of the spiritual warfare every believer in Christ will encounter—and even more so as our Lord’s second coming approaches.

Through use of either a paraphrase or direct quote, the following represents a few highlights from Chapters 1–4’s excellent foundational material. (Where to purchase Wiersbe’s outstanding book appears after these highlights.)

Satan – THE DECEIVER.

  • Satan’s Target—Your Mind. “Why would Satan want to attack your mind? Because the mind is the part of the image of God where He communicates with you and reveals His will to you.” (p. 4) Therefore, Satan relished deceiving Eve’s mind “by his cunning” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
  • Satan’s Weapon—Lies. If he can’t trick you into questioning or denying God’s Word, like he did Eve, then he will disguise his own lies as God’s truth. (John 16:13; John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:13–14)
  • Satan’s Purpose—To Make You Ignorant of God’s Will. Why is that so important? Because “… the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).
  • Your Defense—The Inspired Word of God. The Holy Spirit wants to transform your life by renewing your mind through the truth of God’s Word. (Romans 12:2; John 17:17)

Satan – THE DESTROYER.

  • Satan’s Target—Your Body. If the devil can’t deceive your mind, he will try to destroy your body. For, “. . . when Satan attacks your body, he is attacking the one means God has of revealing his grace and love to a lost world.” (p. 29) (1 Corinthians 6:19–20; Philippians 1:20; Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:9; Romans 6:12–13; Romans 12:1)
  • Satan’s Weapon—Suffering. He wants “to control the circumstances around the body so that the believer will suffer.” (p. 33) But, except for how believers respond to personal suffering, God is always in control. (Job 1:6–12)
  • Satan’s Purpose—To Make You Impatient with God’s Will. Although the devil tried to cause Job to impatiently lose faith in God, Job persevered and trusted the Lord instead. (Job 23:10; James 1:2–4, 5:11)
  • Your Defense—The Imparted Grace of God. The Apostle Paul also suffered from Satan’s attacks against his body, but through Christ’s power he became victorious. (2 Corinthians 12:7–10) God’s grace is never deserved or earned; it is only given. (Ephesians 2:8–9) Therefore, “God can give you grace for serving (1 Corinthians 15:9-10), for sacrificing (2 Corinthians 8:1-9), for singing (Colossians 3:16), and even for speaking (Colossians 4:6). It also means that God can give you grace for suffering, as he did with Job and Paul.” (p. 42)

Satan – THE RULER.

  • Satan’s Target—Your Will. “Satan’s original sin was a sin of the will. Five times in Isaiah 14:12–14 Satan says ‘I will!’ [Therefore,] he seeks to duplicate this sin in our lives, and he will if we are not careful.” (p. 53)
  • Satan’s Weapon—Pride. To some degree, pride enters into all of Satan’s temptations. Pride is thus the root of all sin because pride competes with God for control and glory. Therefore, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5–6).
  • Satan’s Purpose—To Make You Independent of God’s Will. Seeking to be independent of God is to believe Satan’s lie that “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). “If Satan can get you to act and think independently of God’s will, he can then control your will and control your life.” (p. 57)
  • Your Defense—The Indwelling Spirit of God. The only way to conquer Satan is to wholeheartedly surrender to God. (James 4:6–7; Romans 12:1–2) By yielding your mind, body, and will daily to the Spirit of God, He will empower you to defeat the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:10–12)

Satan – THE ACCUSER.

  • Satan’s Target—Your Heart and Conscience. “See how subtle and merciless Satan really is. Before we sin—while he is tempting us—he whispers, ‘You can get away with this!’ Then after we sin, he shouts at us, ‘You will never get away with this!’ Have you ever heard his hateful voice in your heart and conscience? It is enough to make a Christian give up in despair!” (p. 76)
  • Satan’s Weapon—Accusation. After cleverly deceiving you to believe lies about God until you fall into sin, Satan might happily decide to appear “before our God” to accuse you of that very sin. (Revelation 12:9–10) Hence, it is very important that you learn to discern between the Holy Spirit’s conviction through God’s Word to restore fellowship with the Lord versus Satan’s hateful “fiery darts” of accusations which he hopes will make you give up in despair.
  • Satan’s Purpose—To Bring an Indictment by God’s Will. As long as the devil can make you feel guilty, but not repent, you will remain under indictment and will likely move farther and farther away from God. In contrast, true conviction from the Spirit will usually result in moving you closer and closer to the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Your Defense—The Interceding Son of God. “It is true that Satan stands at our right hand to resist us and accuse us. But it is also true that Jesus Christ stands at God’s right hand to intercede for us!” (p. 80)  (1 John 2:1; 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 13:20–21)

In other words, “. . . when you listen to Satan’s accusations, you will focus your attention on yourself and your sins; and this will only lead to defeat and despair. But when you listen to the Holy Spirit’s conviction, you will look by faith to Jesus Christ in heaven, your Advocate at the throne of God. You will remember that he died for you and that God cannot reject you, because you belong to Christ. It is because of the heavenly intercession of the Son of God that you and I can defeat Satan’s accusations.” (p. 82)  Hallelujah!

Note: The Strategy of Satan: How to Detect and Defeat Him (© 1979, Tyndale House Publishers) can be purchased at www.Christianbook.com or 1-800-247-4784. It is also available at Amazon.com.

About the Author: Warren W. Wiersbe is a well-known Bible teacher, author, and conference speaker who has ministered in churches and conferences in Canada, Central and South America, Europe, and the United States. He has published more than 150 books and was awarded the Gold Medallion Lifetime Achievement Award by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

[1] E. M. Bounds, p. 179.

Friday: Prayers of Reflection

“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom . . .” (Matthew 6:13b, NKJV).

Humility is an indispensable requisite of true prayer. It must be an attribute, a characteristic of prayer. Humility must be in the praying character as light is in the sun. As a ship is made for the sea, so prayer is made for humility, and so humility is made for prayer.[1]

The word “kingdom” in Matthew 6:9–13 refers to both the future (v. 10) and the present Kingdom of God (v. 13). In Luke 17:21, Christ tells us that presently the kingdom of God is within believer’s hearts. In other words, wherever the sovereign King of kings is, there is a kingdom, and He is to have complete rule over us. Friday’s prayer theme therefore places an emphasis upon examining whether or not we are giving Him first place in our lives. Since God knows how we are made, He knows both our changeable and unchangeable features. He is thus never caught off guard by our weaknesses, anxieties, and fears. As we open up to Him, we will realize that God sees us, and that He will help us walk confidently in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23–24) Have you been showing vitality in your eternal life so you can lead your family to do the same?

  • “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;Try my mind and my heart. . . . [For] Who can understand [their] errors? [Therefore,] Cleanse me from secret Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. . . . Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart [always] Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalms 26:2, 19:12–13a, 14, NKJV).
  • [Father, since] “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall, . . . [please lead me] . . . to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud. . . . [For] man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor” (Proverbs 16:18–19, 29:23, NKJV).
  • [LORD, through Your grace and strength, help me be a godly example to my family so] “. . . all of [us will] be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for [You are] ‘God [who] resists the proud,But gives grace to the humble’ ” (1 Peter 5:5b, NKJV).

Prayers for Vitality in Your Family’s Eternal Lives

Choosing a Life of Contentment—[God of All Comfort, please teach every family member the secret of  being able to testify like the apostle Paul:] “. . . I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. [For] I can do all this through [Christ] who gives me strength[!]” (Philippians 4:11b-13, NIV).

Choosing a Life of Consecration—[LORD, also encourage] “Whoever wants to be [Christ’s] disciple [to] deny themselves and take up their cross and follow [him, for]  . . . apart from [Christ they] can do nothing” (Matthew 16:24; John 15:5c, NIV). [May the lyrics of this beautiful hymn eventually become their heartfelt prayer as well:]

Suggested Hymn:  Take My Life, and Let It Be Consecrated”  (—Frances R. Havergal) – Alternate

Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands and let them move At the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee,
Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing, Always, only for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be Filled with messages from Thee,
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my will and make it Thine, It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.
Ever, only, all for Thee. Ever, only, all for Thee.

Choosing a Life of Commitment—[Loving Father,] should one of your children commit to follow Christ, but then be tempted to find an excuse to postpone doing so, please bring to their remembrance what Jesus has said:] “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62, NIV).

Giving a Life Back to the Lord—[Oh LORD, my continual earnest prayer is that every family member will] “Worship and serve [you] with [their] whole heart and a willing mind[!]” (1 Chronicles 28:9b, NLT).

Today’s Living Hope Summary Prayer—
Dear Heavenly Father, bless us with Your enlightening power by [opening] our eyes to behold wonderful truths from Your Word! May the humility of Christ, the insights of Your Spirit, and Your blessed plan be present in our lives. As we increase in knowledge, may we not become puffed up with pride, but rather humbly receive Your engrafted Word that we may grow in Christ-likeness. We pray that in Jesus’ name and love we will also go out to reach the world around us—the world that is dying without the hope of the Savior. Help us to be constantly ready to step heavenward, and to know less of this world as our home and be more expectant of heaven! We pray all this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

[1] E. M. Bounds, p. 148.

Saturday: Prayers of Praise and Preparation for Sunday

“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (Matthew 6:13c, NKJV).

 Prayer puts God’s work in His hands, and keeps it there. It looks to Him constantly and depends on Him implicitly to further His own cause. Prayer is but faith resting in, acting with, and leaning on and obeying God. This is why God loves it so well, why He puts all power into its hands, and why He so highly esteems men of prayer.
…And, giving thanks is the very life of prayer. It is its fragrance and music, its poetry and its crown. Prayer is bringing the desired down so it breaks out into praise and thanksgiving.[1]

To prepare for the Lord’s Day services, make sure you’ve asked God to search your mind and heart to reveal if there is anything displeasing in you (Psalm 26:2). Then, to experience the Lord’s presence more fully, ask Him to fill your mind and heart with praise, for God says that He inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3).

  • “You, God, are my God,earnestly I seek you;
    I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, . . .
    Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
    I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
    I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you” (Psalm 63:1a-b, 3–5, NIV).
  • “[I] give thanks to [you]Lord; [and] call upon [your] name;
    make known [your] deeds among the peoples!
    Sing to [you], sing praises to [you];
    tell of all [your] wondrous works!
    Glory in [your] holy name;
    let the hearts of [all] who seek [you] Lord rejoice!
    [May they] Seek [you] Lord and [your] strength;
    seek [your] presence continually!
    Remember the wondrous works that [you have] done,
    [your] miracles, and the judgments [you] uttered . . .” (Psalm 105:1–5).
  • [I] “Shout for joyto [you,] Lord . . . [and]
         Worship [you] with gladness;
    come before [you] with joyful songs.
    [For you] . . . Lord [are] God.
    It is [you] who made [me], and [I am yours];
    [I am one of] the sheep of [your] pasture.
    [I will] enter [your] gates with thanksgiving
       and [your] courts with praise;
       give thanks to [you] and praise [your] name.
    For [you], Lord, [are] good and [your] love endures forever;
    [your] faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100, NIV).
  • “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
    I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
    I will be glad and exult in you;
    I will [forever] sing praise to your name, O Most High[!]” (Psalm 9:1–2).

“For by grace [I] have been saved through faith, and that not of [myself]; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. . . . [And] I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. . . . Thanks be to [Father] God for His indescribable gift—[Jesus Christ!]”  (Ephesians 2:8–10; Romans 8:38–39; 2 Corinthians 9:15, NKJV).

Suggested Hymn: My Jesus, I Love Thee”  (—William R. Featherstone, 1846–1873) Alternate – Darlene Zschech

My Jesus,  I Love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
   I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
  If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now!
My Jesus, ’tis now!

Today’s Living Hope Summary Prayer—
Oh Lord God, our Father, Creator, and builder of that glorious home You are preparing for us, we love You! Thank You that You are going to make all things new so that we need not despair about our bodies getting old or our world decaying. Nothing is enduring here because our pilgrimage is heading us to the Celestial City, to a building not made with hands, to a place that has foundations that shall never be moved. We praise You, Lord Jesus,  for purchasing our place of abode forever with Your own blood! We pray that by Your grace we will enjoy discovering more of the wonders of heaven—the mansions of Jesus  to which we are headed, and where we long to be. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus. As we wait, may we not be shamed before You when You come. Thank You for what great things You will do in our lives today [and throughout eternity] as we bow before You. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Special Note: Because reverent meditations on the nature of God can bring an even deeper sense of intimacy into your prayer life, may the Holy Spirit lead you to download a free copy of “What Is God Like?”—a compilation of excerpts from A. W. Tozer’s beloved classic, The Knowledge of the Holy, related Scriptures, additional comments on the nature of God, and seven worshipful hymns.  If you are among those for whom Tozer wrote—”plain persons whose hearts stir them up to seek after God Himself”—you will be mightily blessed through “What Is God Like?” which is available at www.oakbrookpca.org/what-is-god-like.

[1] E. M. Bounds, pp. 159 and 151.