Category Archives: Prayers and Encouragement

Using Halloween to Share Christian Truth and Love

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).

As Halloween approaches this Sunday, I found these facts about Americans to be relevant:

  • 70 percent of us will celebrate the upcoming holiday; the figure rises to 91 percent for parents with children in their home.
  • 88 percent of parents say they eat their children’s candy.
  • 32 percent say there is no age limit for trick-or-treating.
  • 46 percent believe ghosts are real.

As to why so many Americans believe in ghosts, the New York Times cites the rise of Americans claiming no religious preference and quotes sociologist Thomas Mowen in response: “People are looking to other things or nontraditional things to answer life’s big questions that don’t necessarily include religion.” Interestingly, Mowen says he is finding that “atheists tend to report higher belief in the paranormal than religious folk.”

In other words, many do not believe in the supernatural when it refers to God, but they do when it does not.

For example, the Washington Post is carrying a feature-length portrait of a “teenage witch” who lives in Austin, Texas. The article reports that the hashtag #witchtok on TikTok has 19.4 billion views. The teenager profiled by the Post says, “I’ve never felt more peace than when I’m with my gods. Reading a prayer or doing a ritual. It’s like the earth is alive, a way of stepping into my power as a person.”

An illusion that illustrates a cultural fact

The “Delboeuf Illusion” is an optical illusion of relative size perception. The best-known version of the illusion is below. The two dark-circled discs are the same size, though the one on the left seems smaller than the one on the right.

This illusion illustrates a cultural fact: the more chaos we see in the world around us, the smaller our individual challenges can seem.

There was a day, for instance, when concerns about witchcraft and the occult in the Harry Potter series were front-page stories. Now the enormous escalation of interest in witchcraft raises few eyebrows. So many people are fascinated with astrology and occult practices that the phenomenon is being called an “occult revival.” In a day dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, political divisions, and natural disasters, this “revival” can seem innocuous. But this is far from true.

My purpose is not to disparage all Halloween activities. We took our boys trick-or-treating in the neighborhood, and they will do the same with their children this Sunday. Halloween can be a fun holiday and even a way of building relational bridges for the gospel with our neighbors and community.

It is estimated that Americans will spend $10.1 billion on Halloween this year, including $3.3 billion on costumes and $3 billion on candy. Such a popular event can be a great opportunity to reach out to those around us with Christian truth and love (Ephesians 4:15).

“Do not turn to mediums or necromancers”

Rather, I’d like to use what the teenage witch said in the Washington Post article to contrast Halloween and the day it precedes. She claimed that communing with her occult “gods” is “a way of a way of stepping into my power as a person.” By contrast, God’s word consistently forbids engagement with the occult:

  • “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them” (Leviticus 19:31).
  • Scripture says of King Manasseh that he “used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers.” As a result, “He did much evil in the sight of the Lᴏʀᴅ, provoking him to anger” (2 Chronicles 33:6).
  • “The household gods utter nonsense, and the diviners see lies; they tell false dreams and give empty consolation. Therefore the people wander like sheep; they are afflicted for lack of a shepherd” (Zechariah 10:2).

Satan’s first strategy is always to claim that we will “step into our power as a person” by being our own god (Genesis 3:5). This is because the “will to power,” as Nietzsche described it, is basic to our fallen human nature.

As a result, we don’t have to engage in witchcraft and other occult practices to be tempted by the self-sufficiency our secular culture applauds and reinforces. I can refuse the occult but still write this article in my own ability for my own glory. You can read it in the same way.

If we do, neither of us will experience the omnipotent power available to everyone who refuses self-reliance for Spirit-dependence by yielding our minds and lives to the Holy Spirit.

Why we should “keep in step with the Spirit”

In contrast to Halloween, the following day is All Saints Day. (Halloween is a contraction of “All Hallows’ Eve,” referring to the day it precedes.) The day celebrates all the saints from Christian history.

But know this: all Christians qualify. We are all God’s “saints” (cf. Acts 9:13; Acts 9:32; Romans 1:7; Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 4:12; Philippians 4:21). However, to live out our identity requires power beyond ourselves.

By his Spirit who dwells in every Christian (1 Corinthians 3:16), God will enable us to defeat temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13), guide us into “all the truth” (John 16:13), and empower our global witness and ministry (Acts 1:8). But if we turn to any other source—be it occult, secular, or self-reliant—we forfeit what our omnipotent Father wants to do with and through us.

I’ll close with an illustration: I walked early yesterday morning in our neighborhood in the midst of a windstorm blowing twenty miles per hour, with gusts twice that strong. When I walked against the wind, I had no help from its strength. To the contrary, I had to work much harder than if there were no wind.

But when I went with the wind, its force at my back enabled me to walk with power beyond myself. (For more, see my blog on my personal website, where you’ll find other blogs, videos, and a way to ask me questions about faith and life.)

Jesus likened the Holy Spirit to the “wind [that] blows where it wishes” (John 3:8). Scripture calls us to submit to this “wind” every day (Ephesians 5:18), refusing to quench (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or grieve (Ephesians 4:30) his power through sin.

If we will “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25), we will have his omniscient wisdom to guide us and his omnipotent power to strengthen us.

Would the Spirit say you are “in step” with him today?

If not, why not?

Genuine, heartfelt prayer takes courage, pope says at Angelus

People should pray with genuine and courageous faith, revealing their whole heart to God, confident he listens with care and mercy, Pope Francis said.

“When faith is alive, prayer is heartfelt: it does not beg for spare change, it is not reduced to momentary needs. We must ask everything of Jesus, who can do everything,” the pope said, speaking to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his Angelus address on Oct. 24.

God “cannot wait to pour out his grace and joy into our hearts; but unfortunately, it is we who keep our distance, through timidness, laziness or unbelief,” he said.

The pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading about Bartimaeus, who was blind and begging on the road to Jericho. When the man heard Jesus of Nazareth was there, he repeatedly cried out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”

While the people around him scolded him to be quiet, Jesus called out for Bartimaeus and asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

The pope said this shows “God always listens to the cry of the poor and is not at all disturbed by Bartimaeus’ voice.”

God hears that the man is “full of faith, a faith that is not afraid to insist, to knock on the door of God’s heart, despite not being understood and being reproached. And here lies the root of the miracle,” the pope said, because Jesus restored his sight and said, “your faith has saved you.”

“Bartimaeus’ faith is evident from his prayer,” the pope said. “It is not a timid and standard prayer,” but one prayed with his whole heart.

“And what about us? When we ask for God’s grace, in our prayer do we also include our own history, our wounds, our humiliations, our broken dreams, our mistakes and our regrets?” the pope asked.

When people pray, he asked, “Is it courageous? Does it contain the good insistence of Bartimaeus? Does it know how to ‘take hold’ of the Lord as he passes? Or is it rather content with making a formal greeting every now and then, when I remember?”

“Furthermore, is my prayer ‘substantial,’ does it bare my heart before the Lord? Do I take my story and life experience to him? Or is it anemic, superficial, made up of rituals, without feeling and without heart?” he asked.

When people pray, they must believe that the Lord can work miracles, Pope Francis said.

“Of the one who can give us everything, let us ask everything, like Bartimaeus,” who had “genuine, insistent and courageous faith” and should be an example for everyone, he said.

Original Article:

Teenager Who Died After Drowning in Icy Water Comes Back to Life When Mother Prays

It was a chilly winter morning when 14-year-old John Smith fell through an icy Missouri lake. When emergency workers finally pulled him out, he’d been submerged under the frigid water for 15 minutes.

At the hospital, John lay without a heartbeat for more than 60 minutes.

“After I entered his room, I put my hands on his feet, and they were cold and grey, and I just knew he was gone,” John’s mother, Joyce Smith, told The Gospel Herald in an exclusive interview. “I began praying out loud, begging God for my son’s life, and calling on the Holy Spirit, saying, ‘Please give me back my son.'”

And then, something miraculous happened.

As soon as Joyce prayed over her son, his pulse immediately returned, astounding the nurses and doctors around him.

“The nurse had her finger on John’s pulse for 27 minutes, and had gotten nothing,” Joyce said. “She told me, ‘The minute you prayed, something moved up John’s body with such force, it pushed me back — and suddenly, I got a pulse.’ They were stunned.”

The Smith’s incredible story of healing and restoration is the subject of Joyce’s book, “The Impossible.” A film is also in development through 20th Century Fox, by Executive Producer DeVon Franklin (Heaven is for Real, Miracles from Heaven). Titled “Breakthrough,” the film slated for 2019 release stars actress Chrissy Metz (“This Is Us”) as Joyce, while John is played by Marcel Ruiz (“One Day at a Time”).

“My family isn’t publicizing this story for our benefit,” John told GH. “We’re doing this because our country needs hope. We’re not the answer — God’s the answer. We’re just sharing the story so this country will see how great our God is. He’s not dead, He’s alive, and He’s still in the miracle working business. I’m blown away by how great He is.”

Three years later, John remembers little about the accident. He, along with two friends, Josh Sander and Josh Rieger, were “messing around” at a local park when the ice on Lake Sainte Louise cracked, and the three friends plunged into the 40-degree water.

“In the moment, we all knew that the possibility of the three of us dying was very real,” Josh told GH. “Me and Josh were about 50 feet out from the dock, and Josh was screaming, ‘I don’t want to die.’ I was screaming, ‘Call 911!’ Sander rescued himself, and I was able to push Rieger above water, saving his life.”

John, however, wasn’t so fortunate.

“I got the phone call, hearing my son had been in a terrible accident,” Joyce shared. “It’s the one phone call every parent dreads. I don’t even remember how I got to the hospital — I was praying, begging God to spare my son. We waited 17 years to have him; we adopted him from Guatemala. I just couldn’t believe that God would take our son after all we’d gone through. God, in his grace and mercy, ended up getting me to the hospital in one piece.”

When Joyce got to the hospital, the medical team had been performing CPR for almost a half-hour with no success.

“When I walked into the room, I didn’t realize they were about to call time of death,” she recalled.

Shortly before the accident, Joyce had been participating in the Believing God Bible study by Beth Moore, which hinges on the statement that “I believe God is who He says He is, and I believe He can do what He says He can do.”

“I don’t believe it was a coincidence,” Joyce said. “When I walked into the ER, I was of the mindset that God was there, and He was going to be with us through this.”

After her son’s pulse returned, Joyce thought the worst was over — but doctors disagreed.

“The doctor told me, ‘Even if John lives, he’ll be a vegetable. There’s brain damage, and the only brain function is brain stem function and it’s very rudimentary,'” she said. “I told him, “Do your best. God will do the rest, but I want no negatives to be spoken around him. When you are in the room, I only want him to hear positive things.”

Two days later, John woke up and began communicating with those around him. Seven days after waking, John went off the ventilator, and 16 days later, he walked out of the hospital, basketball in hand. His rapid recovery defied every expert, every case history, and every scientific prediction.

“To this day, John has not had any side effects from the accident, despite doctors’ predictions,” Joyce said. “God has totally and completely healed him. He carries a 3.0 in high school, he went back to play basketball, and at one game he scored 30 points. God has been so miraculous and good in all the things that He has done.”

To a watching world, John and Joyce Smith hope their miraculous story proves the power of prayer, the goodness and nearness of God, and that with faith, nothing is impossible.

“We’ve had so many people come up and say, ‘This story has changed my life and restored my faith in God,'” Joyce said. “That’s what we hope people take away from our story, that it draws everyone who hears it closer to God.”

Watch the trailer for the upcoming film, “Breakthrough” below.

‘Pray for all involved in tragic accident’ says Alec Baldwin’s Christian brother, Stephen

Alec Baldwin’s brother, Stephen has asked people for their prayers after the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on a film set in Hollywood.

42 year old Halyna Hutchins died after being shot in the chest during the making of the Western movie, ‘Rust’. 

Court documents suggest ‘cold gun’ was shouted on set – indicating the prop was safe – before it was handed to Alec Baldwin. 

Actor and producer, Stephen Baldwin who is a devout Christian, wrote on his social media sites :

“Asking for your prayers tonight friends not much can be said other than please pray for all involved in the wake of this tragic accident thank you.” 

He also cited Psalm 91 :” ‘I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.’

He’s also attached the hashtag #Psalm91 to his Twitter page.

Stephen Baldwin was baptized Roman Catholic but became a born-again Christian after the 9/11 attacks. He now travels speaking to young people about bringing Christ into their lives.

His 24 year old daughter, Hayley is married to the singer Justin Bieber and she has previously spoken about how faith is the major reason she and her husband are together :

“It’s our faith. It’s what we believe in. If we didn’t have that, we wouldn’t even be here. We wouldn’t even be together.”

Alec Baldwin, who’s 63, was questioned by law enforcement, but no-one has been charged over the incident.

He said he was “fully co-operating” with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and writing on Twitter said :

“My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna, There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours.”

The film’s director, Joel Souza, who was standing behind Ms Hutchins, was wounded.

The 48-year-old received emergency treatment for a shoulder injury and was later released from hospital.

Prayers for Evening and Peaceful Sleep

Ending your day with prayer is a wonderful way to let go of stress and find peace before falling asleep. No matter what you faced today, talking to God through a night prayer will renew your faith and help you experience true rest. Evening prayers also help you reflect on all the events throughout your day and the ways that God has been present with you. 

Share these night prayers for evening bedtime with your children, spouse and friends so they too can fall asleep feeling blessed and thankful! God is wanting and waiting to give you peace and comfort at night time! 

Goodnight Prayer for Blessings

Bless us with rest tonight, Jesus, and a good night’s sleep. Forgive us for the things we did today that did not honor you. Thank you for loving us so much and that you know us through and through. We need your help every day, and we thank you for the strength you give and for helping us know that with you, even hard things are possible. Bless our family and our home, and keep us safe through the night. May your angels guard us and watch over us, just like you promised.

You’ve told us we are just like sheep. And that you lead us and guard us like a shepherd. You know our names, and you make us feel special and loved. When we hurt, you help us feel better. Thank you, Jesus, for your good care and for giving us [mom/dad/parents/foster parents/pastors] to help. Thank you for the Bible, and for teaching us stuff in life that helps us grow. Bless the people in our world, and help them to know you love them, too. Thank you for all the people who help us so much: teachers, doctors, policemen, and firemen—and so many more.

Thank you for your good plan for our lives. Help us to obey you and love you more and more. When we awake in the morning, put a smile on our face and your purpose in our hearts, ready to start a new day. We love you, Jesus. Good night. In Jesus’s precious name, Amen.  ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan

For A Good Night’s Sleep

Grant me a good night’s sleep tonight, God, so that I can awake refreshed and ready to begin another day loving you. Thank you again for blessings so undeserved and too numerous to count. I love being your child, and I long for the word “faithful” to describe my service to you, each day of every year. When I awake in the morning, may it be with a joyful smile, not a grumpy spirit. May your protection and your presence bathe this place with peace and safety against the enemy. Good night, Lord. In Jesus’s name, Amen. ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan

Before You Go to Bed

Father, thank you for holding me together today. I needed you, and you were there for me. Thank you for every bit of love, mercy, and grace that was shown to me though I did not deserve it. Thank you for your faithfulness even in my suffering. To you alone be the glory. Amen. – Topher Haddox

goodnight evening prayer for bedtime and sleep

At the End of A Hard Day

Father, I can barely lift my eyes to you. It’s all I can do to cry out for help. Please extend your grace to me this day. Help me to see that you are in this and that you are with me. Help me to remember that you are not surprised or taken off guard by the events of this day. Forgive me for my fears about this day.

Forgive me for how I have complained and muttered about how hard this day has been. Forgive me for forgetting that you are with me. Forgive me for forgetting who I am because of what your Son, Jesus Christ, has done. Forgive me for failing to remember the glorious truths and riches I have because of the gospel. Father, hear my prayer. Grant me gospel hope in the midst of this hard day. Help me to cling to your grace, your wisdom, and your strength. ~ Christina Fox

A Beautiful Prayer to End the Day

Heavenly Father, my day is drawing to an end, and I’m ready to turn in. But before I do, I have to thank you for your faithfulness today. It’s always a good day, even when things may not go the way I plan, or when the world seems in chaos because you are in control.

For all the times when I was aware of your help today, all the times when your unseen presence seemed so near, thank you, God. But for all the ways you worked behind the scenes, unknown to me, moments when heaven-sent angels moved on my behalf in ways I’ll never know, thank you for those also, Lord. Amen. ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan

For Sweet Sleep

Heavenly Father, who gives rest to His children – will You wash over me a peace that passes all understanding as I lay down to sleep tonight?  I ask that You would ease the load of the burdens I am carrying.  My desire is to be an effective mother, wife, and friend and I know my attitude, energy level, and spiritual life will not be sufficient to do this if I don’t have the deep spiritual rest You long to give me.  Be merciful, O Lord, and give sweet sleep to Your child. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Lysa TerKeurst

A Bedtime Prayer to Stop an Anxious Heart

Dear Lord, please help me trust You and empower me through Your Spirit to stop my emotions from bossing me around. I want to quit worrying about what might happen and focus on what has already happened by remembering and praising You for Your faithfulness in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Renee Swoop

Prayer for a Reset

Lord, I long for those moments early in my faith when I felt your closeness, your joy, your energy and zest for life. I confess that the daily grind has ground down my passion for you. I confess that I allow the cares of the world to choke out the joy of the gospel. Lord, turn my heart toward you again. Fix my eyes on you, fix my heart on you. Help me have a reset in my faith and in my life, starting today. Renew my heart, renew my life for you and your ways. Help me see the daily routines of life as moments to gracefully submit to your will. Thank you for being the Lord of my life everyday. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Jennifer Waddle

Giving Thanks Evening Prayer

Dear God, we thank you tonight for the good day and for the special way you take care of us all the time. Thank you for the fun times outside and the quiet times inside, and for helping us learn new things every day.

Thank you for creating us special, exactly the way you wanted. Thank you for protecting us throughout the day. Forgive us for the wrong things we do. Thank you for loving us even when we disobey or try to do things our way. Help us to always choose your way, God, because it’s always best. We pray for all the people who don’t know you, and that they will come to understand your love for them, too.

Bless our family and thank you for good times together and apart. Bless our friends and those we love, including our grandparents, our aunts and uncles and cousins. Thank you for our home and a place to sleep and good food to eat. Help us rest well, give us peaceful dreams, and send your angels around our home to protect us throughout the night. Teach us to trust you and to love you more and more. You are good; you are great; and you are faithful, God. And we love you. Good night. In Jesus’s precious name, Amen. ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan

Night-time Blessing Prayer

Dear God, Thank you for your great love and blessing over our lives. Thank you that your favor has no end, but it lasts for our entire lifetime. Forgive us for sometimes forgetting that you are intimately acquainted with all of our ways, that you know what concerns us, and you cover us, as with a shield. We ask for your guidance so that we might walk fully in your blessing and goodness today. We ask that your face would shine on us. That you would open the right doors for our lives and for our loved ones, that you would close the wrong doors and protect us from those we need to walk away from. Establish the work of our hands and bring to fulfillment all that you have given us to do in these days. We pray that you would make our way purposeful and our footsteps firm out of your goodness and love. Give us a heart of wisdom to hear your voice, and make us strong by your huge favor and grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Debbie McDaniel

For True Rest

Dear Lord, break me of the need to be busy pursuing a sense of self-worth. Make me secure in who You are and who You’ve made me to be, and as a result, teach me what it means to truly rest. Help me catch my breath. In Jesus’ Name, Amen ~ Max Lucado

To Sleep Worry Free

Lord, I’ve shouldered my cares as if I’m the one in control. Help me become like a child, handing all my stresses, worries and responsibilities to You, my faithful Father. I trust You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Amy Carroll

Forgiveness at the End of the Day

Forgive me for any foolish actions on my part today or things I did without first asking your blessing or wisdom. Those are moments I’d rather forget, but I’m so grateful for your forgiveness when I ask. I never want to go to bed without clearing the air between us, Lord. Our friendship means too much, and your holiness deserves that. Thank you for loving me just as I am.  In Jesus Name, Amen.  ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan

A Short Night-time Prayer (2 Timothy 1:7)

For God’s not given me a spirit of fear,
But a spirit of love,
and of power, and a sound mind,
To live each day and glorify his name. 

Popular Child’s Bedtime Prayer, 18th Century

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Alternative Version for Children:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
Watch and guard me through the night,
and wake me with the morning light.

At the End of a Dissapointing Day

Lord, thank You for working in my life, even in ways that look like failure. Help me keep my eyes on You and not on my situation. Help me trust You more, especially when I face what looks like a disappointment. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Glynnis Whitwer

For Loved Ones

As I close my eyes tonight, I’m praying for loved ones around me, for friends and those who need to know you, Lord. I’m praying that your love, like the billions of stars in the night sky outside, will touch them and help them see who you really are. I pray for our world and those in it. I pray for their needs as well as my own. ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan

For Peaceful Sleep

Dear Jesus, teach me to daily lay my burdens at your feet. Show me I can trust in your loving care. Grant me, your beloved, the nourishing blessing of rest and peaceful sleep. ~ Rachel Olsen

To Rest Well

Dear Lord, thank You for rest. Thank You that I can rest while You continue to hold everything together. Help me rest well and worship You through rest. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Rachel Olsen

Rest from Striving

Dear God, I’m realizing it’s not my curse that I believe I’m not enough; it’s my sin that I keep trying to be. Thank You for the reminder that life with You means I can rest, and I have nothing to prove. Will You continue to show me Your freedom, Your power and my need to stop striving to please You and instead just live life with You? In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Jennifer Allen

Father, We Thank Thee

Father, we thank thee for the night,
And for the pleasant morning light;
For rest and food and loving care,
And all that makes the day so fair.
Help us to do the things we should,
To be to others kind and good;
In all we do, in work or play,
To grow more loving every day.
— Rebecca Weston – 1890

For the Overwhelmed Heart

Lord, when my heart is overwhelmed, overwhelm me with Your peace. Lead me to You, my rock. Guide me to Your Word which gives me strength and refuge. Help me not to run to lesser things. Draw me to run to You first. Help me get into the habit of taking my “overwhelmed” and placing it under your will. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Jennifer Rotheschild

Evening Prayer of Confession

Gracious Lord, give us the courage to seek forgiveness. Remind us that confession is never a mistake; it frees us from the chains of the enemy. We know we cannot hide our hearts from you. Help us to let go of our bitterness and fear, and purify us with the knowledge that you have taken away every sin. In your name, Amen.

When You Can’t “Feel” God

Dear Father in Heaven, Thank you for your steadfastness and continual presence in our lives. Sometimes, we can feel you right next to us. But sometimes, it is hard to know that you are there at all. Sometimes life gets so difficult that our hearts just cannot feel you through the pain. Sometimes you take away those feelings so that we may seek you even more fervently. I pray today, Father, that I may rely not on my own feelings but rather on your love for me. May I rely on your Word to be the truth that rules my life over my own understanding. Help me to see you and believe in your character even though my feelings may tell me otherwise. You are kind, you are good, and you are gracious. You are both all-powerful and all-loving. You care deeply for me and for my loved ones. Be with me as I live out these truths no matter what my circumstances are today, Lord, as we walk forward together. I love you and pray all of these things in your Son’s amazing name, Amen. ~ Kelly-Jayne McGlynn

Bedtime Prayer For a Weary Mom

Dear Father in Heaven, I come before you weary and beat down by this long day. Being a mother can be so hard! I often feel helpless and inadequate. I never know what to expect. I often don’t know what to do. The constant change leaves me reeling. The twists and turns of each day is a glaring reminder of how needy and dependent I am.

The book of Hebrews tells me I can come to you in confidence and find the grace and mercy I need. And so I come to you now to lay all these burdens at your feet. I feel so overwhelmed by the details of life. It seems like I can never get ahead. Just when I clean up one mess, another one pops up somewhere else. Just when I think I know what I am doing as a mom, my child enters a new age and stage. Just when I think I have a steady routine in place, someone gets sick or hurt. Some days I wonder if I’m really cut out for motherhood.

I know I failed to glorify you today. I failed to love as you love me. I failed to extend the grace you’ve given me to my children. Forgive me for striving in my own strength. Forgive me for my fears over all the unknowns of motherhood. Forgive me for putting my hope in things, circumstances, or in my own strength rather than in you. Forgive me for my impatience and for wanting life to go my way. Each of these sins and failures reminds me of just how much I need a Savior. Today reminds me that I need Jesus more than I did yesterday and that tomorrow I will need him even more.

I pray that tomorrow you would be with me in all ups and downs of my day. Help me to find my joy in you and not in my circumstances. Help me not to fear whatever twists and turns may come. Help me to love my children and serve them well. Help me to enjoy each moment with them and not spend my time worrying about the next moment to come. May I remember that even when it feels otherwise, you are always with me and will never leave me or forsake me. Tonight, may I sleep in peace knowing that even when I lose my grip, you never let go of me. And may I open my eyes in the morning to find mercy, fresh and new, ready for the taking. ~ Christina Fox

Soul Rest

Lord, thank You for providing a rest for my soul that’s not attached to a person or experience. You created me for this rest, and I accept it now. Help me fully trust You with my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Glynnis Whitwer

Bedtime Prayer (song by Twila Paris)

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray dear Lord that you will keep
Your eyes upon this sleeping world
Every little boy and girl

Bless the children far away
The ones who don’t know how to pray
Those who are not feeling well
The little one the slipped and fell

Bless the puppy down the street
The neighbors I have yet to meet
Bless my mom and dad especially

Just one more thing I’d like to say
Before I close another day
I’d like to thank you Lord for all the ways
That You bless me

Bless the child whose home is torn
The babies who are not yet born
Bless the ones who take your word
To all the hearts that have not heard

Bless all your children everywhere
I hope they know how much you care
Maybe someday I can go
And tell them that You love them so

Bless Grandma and my Grandpa too
And all my friend and all they do
Bless every twig upon my family tree

Just one more thing I’ll say to you
I’m so amazed by all you do
I’ll thank you once again because it’s true
That you bless me

Night Prayer for Peace

God, teach us what it means to have faith in silence. When we face trials that are beyond our understanding, help us to find peace. Help me be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. You set all things in accordance to your time. Remind us to wait patiently, and find peace in your plan. ~ Dick Woodward

The Examen (Evening Reflection)

Written by St. Ignatius Loyola, the Examen is a daily process for prayerfully reflecting on your day. 

1. Remember God’s presence.
Even after a trying day, God will quiet your soul as you remember His presence and intentionally seek to enter into it. Remember He’s with you. Invite Him to make Himself present to you. 

2. Respond to Him with thanks.
Giving thanks gives God glory and helps us look on the bright side of a bad day. What small blessings can you thank God for?

3. Reflect on how God showed Himself to you.
God reveals himself through scripture, but we also see glimpses of him in nature, events, and people. Sometimes He shows up loudly through miraculous, divine intervention. Other times He shows Himself quietly through the beauty of a flower or an earnest conversation. As you look back over your day, can you identify moments where you sensed God’s revelation or intervention? 

4. Repent of your failings.
I don’t like recognizing my own sin, but repentance is key to continual renewal in our relationship with God.As you reflect on your day, remember specific points where you failed. Bring your shortcomings before God and ask Him to forgive you.  

5. Resolve to grow. 
God is in the business of changing us, so don’t let your failings discourage or define you. His mercies are always new. Accept His forgiveness. Ask Him for grace to change. Is there anything you need to make right or anyone you need to apologize to? What can you do differently tomorrow?

Do you have a favorite goodnight prayer you use at bedtime? Share it with our community in the comments below!

Morning Prayers to Start Your Day with Right!

A morning prayer is a wonderful way to focus your time and attention on seeking God’s plan for the day ahead.

Whether you need encouragement, peace, strength, or rest, God can meet you in a very real and present way when you come before Him with a humble heart. Seek God’s presence each morning before your energy and attention are pulled by all the tasks you have ahead.

1. A Morning Prayer for God’s Presence 

Lord, may nothing separate me from You today. Teach me how to choose only Your way today so each step will lead me closer to You. Help me walk by the Word and not my feelings. Help me to keep my heart pure and undivided. Protect me from my own careless thoughts, words, and actions. And keep me from being distracted by MY wants, MY desires, MY thoughts on how things should be. Help me to embrace what comes my way as an opportunity… rather than a personal inconvenience. And finally, help me to rest in the truth of Psalm 86:13, ‘Great is your love toward me.’ You already see the ways I will fall short and mess up. But right now, I consciously tuck Your whisper of absolute love for me into the deepest part of my heart. I recognize Your love for me is not based on my performance. You love me warts and all. That’s amazing. But what’s most amazing is that the Savior of the world would desire a few minutes with me this morning. Lord, help me to forever remember what a gift it is to sit with You like this. Amen. – Lysa Terkeurst

2. Today with Jesus

Lord, Jesus, today is Your day, and I want Your will to be done. So, whatever happens, hold my hand and let’s face it together. Amen. – Back to the Bible

3. God’s Promises for Today

Heavenly Father, I have been so wishy-washy when it comes to taking hold of Your promises and making them mine. But today, I’m putting my foot down! I will not allow my human reason to talk me out of my spiritual inheritance. I will set my foot down on every promise that You have given me today. I’m going in! In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Sharon Jayes

4. Good Morning Lord Prayer

Good morning, Lord! Today’s a new day, a chance for a new start. Yesterday is gone and with it any regrets, mistakes, or failures I may have experienced. It’s a good day to be glad and give thanks, and I do, Lord. Thank you for today, a new opportunity to love, give, and be all that you want me to be. Amen. – Rebecca Barlow Jordan

5. Fill Me With the Spirit Today

Dear Lord, as we rise to meet each new day, please let us be filled with Your spirit. Wherever we go, let us spread love, joy, peace, goodness, and faithfulness. Let us desire to become more like you and to worship you in all we do. Help us desire these things so much more than the sin that entices us. Thank you for always going before us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Dr. Charles Stanley

6. A Daily Prayer of Thanksgiving

Dear God, Thank you for your amazing power and work in our lives, thank you for your goodness and for your blessings over us. Thank you for your great love and care. Thank you for your sacrifice so that we might have freedom and life. Forgive us for when we don’t thank you enough, for who you are, for all that you do, for all that you’ve given. Help us to set our eyes and our hearts on you afresh. Renew our spirits, fill us with your peace and joy. We love you and we need you, this day and every day. We give you praise and thanks, for You alone are worthy! In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Debbie McDaniel

morning prayer

7. For My Family 

Father, thank you for the blessing of a family. Today, please keep the enemy at bay. Increase their faith. Protect them from falling into temptation. Grant them the opportunity to shine a light in the darkness and lead others to you. Whatever is making my family anxious today, I ask that you comfort them, and that they can rest in your complete sovereignty. Amen. – Topher Haddox

8. A Prayer to Start the Day

Dear God, at the start of each day, help us to recognize you above all else. Enlighten the eyes of our heart that we might see you, and notice how you’re at work through our lives. Give us wisdom to make the best choices, fill us with a desire to seek after you more than anything else in this world. Let your Spirit and power breathe in us, through us, again, fresh and new. Thank you that you are greater than anything we may face in our day. Thank you that your presence goes with us, and that your joy is never dependent on our circumstances, but it is our true and lasting strength, no matter what we’re up against. We ask that your peace lead us, that it would guard our hearts and minds in you. We ask for your grace to cover our lives this day. We love you Lord…we need you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Debbie McDaniel

9. A Prayer to Follow God Today

Dear Lord, I don’t know who or what will cross my path today. But I do know that You are my Rock and my Fortress. You are my Shield and my Strong Tower. Help me to anchor myself to You today. Teach me how to stand strong in You and choose only Your way today. Help me walk by Your truth and not my feelings. Help me to embrace anything that comes my way as an opportunity to see You at work and as an opportunity to point others to You. Thank You that You love me and nothing can ever take that away from me! Even if I fail today and fall short, You whisper Your unconditional love deep into my soul and remind me that Your mercies are new every morning. That truly amazes me, Lord. Thank You for meeting with me today. Would You wake me again tomorrow with the same sweet whisper of Your love? I can’t wait to meet with You again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Wendy Blight

10. A Morning Prayer for Strength

Lord, I am weary and don’t know when this “race” will end in my life. I feel like I’ve been running forever, trying to outrun this trial. Help me to stop trying to outrun my pain but rather run with endurance the race you have set before me. I know that because of you I am ultimately a victor over the trials in my life. I know that nothing in this world can separate me from your steadfast love. Please give me a measure of your love today; give me the strength to endure this trial. Thank you for your love for me that never ends! And thank you for the crown of joy that awaits me forever in your Kingdom! – Adrian Rogers 

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3

11. A Morning Prayer for Courage

Lord, grant me tenacious winsome courage as I go through this day. When I am tempted to give up, help me to keep going. Grant me a cheerful spirit when things don’t go my way. And give me the courage to do whatever needs to be done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 Dr. Ray Pritchard

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

12. Prayer to Seek God Each Day

Father, Praise You for the sky and sun, for both remind us of a new day’s challenge and chance to chase You. Thank You for reminding us life is not always easy, but that we don’t have to carry the hard into each new day. Forgive us for dwelling on the past and for holding onto grudges. Bless our hearts to be held back by nothing as we seek You each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Meg Bucher

13. A Daily Prayer of Rejoice

Father, thank you for intervening in my life and allowing me to have a personal relationship with you. Thank you for your love for me today and forever. Thank you for the blessings you’ve given me and my family. Help us use those blessings to bless others. May I live a life of true joy as I see you at work around me today! In Jesus’ name. Amen. – Ron Moore

14. For Guidance from the Holy Spirit

Lord, I pray you would move the Spirit more boldly in my life. I know that any sin can grieve and diminish the voice of the Spirit, and I pray against the temptation to sin. Help me crave your presence more than I crave sin. Help me grow in the fruit of the Spirit and so walk closer with Yourself. I pray for guidance from your Spirit- let your will and promises always be a meditation of my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Kenny Luck

15. For God’s Grace Daily

Lord, thank you for your abundant, abounding grace. Thank you that we don’t have to earn a drop of the mighty river of grace that flows freely for us today. Thank you for the unexpected, unmerited favor you’ve showered on my life. Help me put myself in the path of your love and grace. Help me not neglect the disciplines I need to meet with you regularly and to drink from the water of life. Thank you for your rich love. Amen. – David Mathis

todays morning prayer for joy and peace

16. A Prayer to Love the Life You Have

God, help me love the life I live right now. Show me the good things I often overlook and help me be content with what I have. Forgive me when I compare myself to others, forgive me for longing for things outside of you and your kingdom. Thank you for loving me right where I am, right as I am. Help me keep my eyes on you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Nicki Koziarz

17. Prayer Against Distractions Today

As I start this day, help me remember that I belong to you, and my desire is to act accordingly. Keep my feet from stumbling and my mind from wandering into distractions that could steal precious time and energy from the most important things you have designed for me. I’m proud to be your child, Lord. And I’m so grateful that you died for me—rising again on your own new morning—so that every day could be filled with the wonder of your love, the freedom of your Spirit, and the joy of knowing you. – Rebecca Barlow Jordan

18. A Prayer for a Heavy Heart

Father, my heart is heavy. I feel like I have to carry the burden alone. Words like overwhelmed, distraught, exhausted seem to describe where I am. I am not sure how to let you carry my heavy load, so please show me how. Take it from me. Let me rest and be refreshed so that my heart won’t be so heavy in the morning. In Jesus’ name. Amen. – Ron Moore

19. To Focus on God’s Voice

Father, I need to hear from You. Today, I make the commitment to start having a daily quiet time. I will listen for Your voice above all of the other voices in my life. Lord, teach me how to center my life on You and help me obey what I hear You say. In Jesus’ name, amen. – Mary Southerland

20. Rely on God Today

Lord, we ask today for more of Your Holy Spirit in our lives. Lord, it can be easy for us to become consumed with the fears that surround us in life, but we know that just as Your eye is indeed on the sparrow, so also do You care for and see us.

Teach us today to become more reliant on You. Bring us into a greater discernment of how You operate, so that we may come into a deeper understanding that all we see with natural eyes is not all that is. Today we ask for eyes to see Your hand in all matters, and hearts open to Your work. Amen. – Callie Logan

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

21. Morning Prayer to Walk with God

Dear Lord, I love You. All that I’ve expressed above is the desire of my heart. I confess that sometimes my actions and reactions betray my love for You. Please forgive me. Thank You for Your grace that is able to recognize this new day as a new chance to walk closer with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Lysa TerKeurst

22. A Morning Prayer for God’s Guidance

Dear Lord, help me remember what a difference it makes when I make time with You a priority in my morning. Awaken me in body and spirit each day with a desire to meet with You and to hear You speak words of affirmation, assurance, and wisdom over my heart as I prepare to go into my day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Traci Miles

“If any of your lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

23. A Simple Morning Prayer

God, please enlighten my mind with truth, inflame my heart with love, inspire my will with courage, enrich my life with service. Pardon what I have been, sanctify what I am, and order what I shall be. Amen – Author Unknown

a morning prayer

24. A Prayer for the Work Day Ahead

Father, thank you for all the ways you’ve blessed me, specifically with this job that pays my bills and puts food on my table. Thank you that ALL work has significance because work is good. Help me bring you glory today, through my actions, my words, through the good work I do to bring order to my little corner of the world. Help me view my work as a blessing and not a curse. Give me grace and strength for the hardest aspects of my job. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen. – Renee Davis

25. A Morning Prayer for Cares and Concerns

Dear Father in Heaven, so much in my life is broken. I have so many concerns and cares, and they weigh me down. While I desire to cast my cares upon You, I find I usually pick them back up again, and they only add more anxiety and stress. Please help me learn to cast my cares on You as I learn what it means to rest and trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. – Chrystal Evans Hurst

26. For Hope Today

Lord, help me to hear you saying, “I am your hope” over all the other voices. Lord, your word says, you are the hope for hopeless so I’m running to you with both hands stretched out and grabbing on to you. Fill me up with hope and give me a tangible reminder today that hope is an unbreakable spiritual lifeline (Hebrews 6:19-20). God, you know those things in my heart that I barely dare to hope for, today I give them to you, I trust them to you, and ask that you because I know that you can do more than I could ever guess, imagine or request in wildest dreams (Eph 3:20). God, you are my hope and I trust you. Amen. – Wendy can Eyck

morning prayer blessing

27. Courage for the Day Ahead

God, I want to believe that you’re with me and that I am known and loved by you… but some days, it’s hard. Help me to speak the truth from your Word back to myself. Take it from my head to my heart. Give me peace and wisdom courage to live like a conqueror – because you’ve already given me victory over every challenge and obstacle. Amen. – Amy Green

28. For a God-Honoring Work Day

Establish the work of my hands by helping me to be productive, patient, focused, and insightful. Keep me from distractions and from technology hindering my work instead of helping it. May your Spirit lead me in my work and help me to be joyful, creative, and worshipful–constantly reminding me of your love and that you’re the reason I have breath in my lungs. Teach me to align my work, family, church life, and rest in a way that would maximize your glory and allow me to bear the most fruit for your kingdom.

And as I work, fix my eyes on Jesus and his finished work on the cross that gave me treasure I could not earn, rest that I could not otherwise experience, and a living hope that will fuel me to work for the glory of God. Amen. – Kevin Halloran

29. Prayer to Step Out in Faith Today

Gracious Father, as we begin a new day, help us to engage your will with a reckless faith. Teach us to trust in you, and help us grow in righteousness. Heavenly Lord, give us the courage to step out in faith this day. Fill our hearts with your spirit, and let us speak your words with pride. – Debbie Przybylski

30. A Morning Prayer of Praise

Father, I praise You today for all that You have done in my life. You are faithful even when I am faithless. Your love pursues me even when I am unlovable. Your forgiveness covers my sin and frees me from its penalty. I praise You for your love and faithfulness to me. Your presence in my life changes everything, empowering me to live each moment of every day, content in knowing You are in control. As I face today, Lord, remind me that no matter what happens, I can praise You! In Your Name, Amen. – Mary Southerland

Suffering and Hope in Christ Homily

Suffering is one of the greatest mysteries we face as human beings, a mystery that poses the greatest threat to our happiness and to our hope.  Perhaps it’s better described as a stumbling block.

We are well aware that we not live in an ideal world: sure, we enjoy moments of intense joy and happiness, but we also experience loss and pain.  We are well aware that the world leaves us wanting… nothing is whole or complete.

The Scripture readings today remind us that pain and suffering are not a mistake.  When we experience it, we are tempted to believe that God has forgotten us.  Yet, nowhere in Scripture does it say that Jesus came to take away our suffering or to explain it in a way that we become comfortable with it.  Jesus came into the world to suffer with us, to fill our aching hearts with His presence, and to remain with us forever, most perfectly in the Eucharist.  It is because God claims us as His own sons and daughters that we can stand in front of a tragedy with certainty and hope.

The Prophet Isaiah speaks of the Suffering Servant in the first reading, “The Lord was pleased to crush him in infirmity.  Through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.”  The suffering of this man is not in vain, but rather his suffering is redemptive: it brings about goodness.  Suffering is not absurd, but rather we can find hope in it.

As Christians we are called not to avoid suffering, not to look for it either, but rather to carry the cross.  The go straight in, because it is only by engaging the reality of suffering that we are able to find peace.

I recently heard that God’s grace always enters through a wound – like a baby who enters the world causing painful labor pains to his mother, but after the pain comes the beautiful presence of the new born child.

It is through our vulnerability and weakness that our hearts and minds are opened to the workings of God.  When we are vulnerable and weak we more easily recognize God at work, and our need for Him.

The world wants us to be strong, to pretend we have it all under control.  Yet, we suffer sometimes in silence, sometimes alone.

Saint Paul writes, “for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.  So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.”

Saint Paul teaches us to identify with Jesus, not in his power and glory, but rather in his weakness.  God has taken upon himself a human nature and experienced everything we experience: hunger, sorrow, pain and suffering.  Our God is not a distant God sitting far away on a throne over some clouds… but rather He is a God who wishes to be near.

In Jesus we see God become vulnerable – the humanity of Jesus teaches us that God loves us to the point of suffering with us.

Take a few seconds to remember an experience where someone you know experienced the same type of suffering or pain you did in the past.  Perhaps the loss of a parent, or a child, or a difficult diagnosis.  Or perhaps a divorce, or the sudden need to relocate.  Our own woundedness allows us to show compassion toward others.  We are able to relate to them, and provide comfort because we know what it’s like.  The person hurting finds hope because now they know that someone else has suffered like he or she is suffering.

Jesus Christ has done the same.  He has felt pity and compassion for us by becoming like us in all things but sin!  Nobody has told him what it’s like to be one of us, he has experienced it first-hand.  He identifies with our sufferings, and invites us to join ours to his.

Jesus told his apostles that “whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant… for the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus gives it all, and through his experience of pain and suffering, we are redeemed.

He is the Suffering Servant that fills our lives with hope – a hope that is will grounded on His resurrection from the dead.

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