Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.
I’ll admit I’ve had a bit of a rough relationship with God the last few weeks. I have an on-going health issue related to my sinuses. For years I’ve suffered through swollen sinuses, infections, allergies, clogged ears, excruciating headaches and more. I’m in my third year of allergy shots and recently had a second sinus surgery. And I feel worse.
A few weekends ago I spent most of the time feeling like my head was either in a tight vise or underwater. Conversations were muffled and my eustachian tubes felt as though a needle was being jammed in them. I got on my knees and started praying desperately for God to heal me. While at church I prayed continuously for healing. And the pain continued.
Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.
Have you ever felt the way the psalmist did when he wrote that verse? Like God just isn’t listening? That Sunday evening, I sure did. I was in tears. And so, I cried out to God even louder to please heal me. For a brief moment I even felt myself being pulled back into my old way of thinking that God didn’t care about me or worse, maybe didn’t even exist. But my faith journey has brought me too far to let me slide backwards.
There is no relapse where Christ heals; no fear that His patients should be merely patched up for a season. He makes new men of them; He give them a new heart and He puts within them a right spirit.
My knowledge of God has led me to a place of greater wisdom. Instead of asking God to “wake up” I started asking Him if this was to be my thorn, my constant affliction to cause me to rely more and more on Him.
It also led me to put my pain and suffering in perspective. While my issues are painful and irritating, I am not debilitated. I can still rise every morning and serve Him and the people around me. And through a pounding headache I can still go out for a walk and experience a beautiful day. I put my troubles up against my mother-in-law’s, who through a year battling cancer and diverticulitis has managed a smile each time I talk to her. Yes, at her lowest she has cried. But I’ve watched her turn back to God in faith, searching for His hand in all things.
I want God to take away my pain. I know He can. He can heal me as I write this. And it is not for me to know why He doesn’t.
I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:7-9
I would prefer not to be held to the same spiritual standards set by the Apostle Paul. To seek God’s goodness when I feel my worst. To feel His presence when my head is pounding. To do the work required of me when the pain is almost overwhelming. At times I just can’t. That’s when I beg God to help me, to rescue me.
I’m not going to stop asking for healing. But I’ve decided that I trust God that there is a reason He hasn’t. And I know for certain, that in trusting Him, one day we will all be free from affliction and experience His amazing glory.
Therefore, since we are surrounded
by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that
hinders and the sin that so easily
I was at one of the lowest points in my life. Sure, I realized at some point that my hormonal situation was partially to blame but so was my environment. More specifically, I had surrounded myself with friends who, to be honest, weren’t all that great of friends. When I asked for help one day because of a medical problem my friends said, “no.” Even my parents said, “no.” I found myself at the end of my spiritual rope.
I remember sitting at my computer looking at Facebook and slowly deleting every single “friend” while sobbing. But the Holy Spirit doesn’t let go of us.
I will not leave you as orphans;
I will come to you.John 14:18
What I was led to do in the coming weeks was to seriously evaluate what environment I had created and how I could create a better one. I went down the list of women I knew casually and had shown themselves to be people of character. And I started calling them, inviting them to lunch, Bible study, or for a walk. About a year later I told some of them what had happened that day I needed help. Some of them cried for me and said, “I wish you had called me. I would have dropped everything for you.” And then I cried. But this time tears of love and joy.
Sometimes we need to have a truly hard moment to see what we have created around us and how it hinders our spiritual connectedness. And the Holy Spirit will be there to guide us to our new home. I found this prayer about laying aside all our hinderances that I thought you might enjoy.
“Lord, I want to stay in an environment that will keep my faith alive and strong. Help me recognize those relationships and places I should avoid to keep my faith from being negatively affected. As you show me places, people, and things I should avoid, give me the strength I need to do what is right — and give me the wisdom I need to know how to avoid those places and people! I pray this in Jesus’ name!”
If only there were someone to
mediate between us, someone to
bring us together, someone to
remove God’s rod from me, so
that his terror would frighten
me no more.Job 9:33-34
When we read Paul’s letter to Philemon yesterday it’s clear that he is acting as an intercessor or in Biblical terms a “daysman.” That’s what Job is asking for in this verse because he knows God is not a man to face directly.
As a Christian we can be thankful that Jesus is our “daysman.” We lift our prayers and requests for forgiveness up “In Jesus’ Name.” But that task isn’t just on the burden of Jesus.
If anyone sins because they do
not speak up when they hear a
public charge to testify regarding
something they have seen or learned
about, they will be held responsible.Leviticus 5:1
In other words God holds us to account not just for things we’ve said or done but for those we should but haven’t said or done. So, when a friend, colleague or family member is seeking forgiveness or to forgive and we can be a “daysman” for them we need to step up like Paul.
How do we do that? Pray. We pray that the right words and right time are placed before us. We follow the guidelines of the Bible and don’t play favorites (James 2:1) and we don’t seek punishment or shame. We seek to be peacemakers, not for our glory but for the glory of God’s kingdom. And we pray that hearts are softened and opened to healing.
A prayer to be deeply knowledgeable about God’s Word
Holy God, I confess that I have spent much of my Christian life hearing your Word and yet not absorbing and living out our Word. I’ve sat in your Holy presence at church and listened, then walked out of the doors and turned my thoughts solely on selfish and worldly pursuits. So I often, when I hear a conviction through your Word, I think of someone else who needs to hear the message – all the while it is me that needs to accept the correction. I allow my endless “to do lists” to take time away from learning more about you, from soaking my soul with your loving spirit. I allow my “study” of your Word to just be catchy verses that scroll by on social media. LORD, with your teaching and guidance I will proclaim that I am deeply knowledgeable about your character through your Word. I will be your faithful student. I lift this up in Jesus’ name, Amen.
A prayer to live a joy-filled life.
Gracious God your gifts and blessing to me cannot be counted. And yet so often I turn to the negative parts in my life and place my constant thoughts in them. When I rise I forget to be thankful that I have yet another day in which to serve you and be blessed by you. And as I go about my day when you place joyful moments at my fingertips I take them for granted. When I lay my head down to sleep I can easily recall all that went wrong in the day rather than what went right. But your joy is there for the taking. I want to live basked in your greatness, your beauty and your joy. I can and will, with your help, find joy in every circumstance. You are working for my good at all times and I just need to remember that promise. Thank you for giving us your Son who implanted the Holy Spirit in us – a spirit of joy and of goodness. I pray this in your Son’s Holy name, Jesus. Amen
A prayer to be a patient person
Faithful Father, I get so caught up in the busyness of life that I forget that my needs and desires are not the same as everyone else’s. When I’m running late, I want to yell at the drivers in front of me for not moving quickly enough. The slow grocery store bagger receives my glare when she doesn’t work at the same speed which I expect. Or when a friend doesn’t respond to my text as prompt as I need, I get frustrated. I’ve come to realize, LORD, through your holy Word that my impatience is an outgrowth of my lack of humility. Your admonishment to love one another needs to be on my lips when I feel that frustration and anger well up inside me. LORD, I know there is nothing more important to you than having your children express compassion and love for each other. Rest your loving hand on my shoulder as a reminder for when I forget this. Quell my impatient heart and mind and replace it with grace. In your Son’s name I pray, Amen.
A prayer that I would share the Gospel with others
Merciful God, your Word has healing power for the sick and your Word gives hope to the downtrodden. Your promise of eternity is a promise for all who believe. But I allow my worries and my fears about worldly judgement guide my discipleship. I keep your holy and powerful gifts to myself, not sharing them with those who need them. LORD, our one true purpose here on earth is to serve you and by doing so we are asked, even required, to speak of you to all who will hear. Help me to succumb to your strength and guidance rather than that of the world. I know you will put the right words in my mouth at the right time. I just need to be willing to speak them. Each day place someone who needs to hear from you in front of me. With the strength of the Holy Spirit urging me on I will be faithful in spreading your gospel of Good News. In Jesus name, Amen
I rest my worries in constant prayer
LORD, I confess that I can cite Philippians 4:6 quite easily but it is the actual doing that I struggle with. In fact, when I get very distressed, I forget about you and turn inward to try and solve my problems. Or I call friends and family to lay all my worries upon. Too often it seems you are my last gasp when all else fails. Thank you for giving us your Son to remind us that you are the only source we need to turn to in times of trouble. With His guiding words I will place you front and center of my difficult situations. Through constant prayer and communion with You I will find everlasting peace. I lift this up in Jesus’ name. Amen
A prayer to speak only when needed
LORD, I would like to make this brief but I seem to have an issue with words. They flow freely from my mouth without filters. At times I gasp at myself for the words that exit me. James is so right when he shows me that my mouth is like the rudder for my ship. And I want to be on the right course with you, God. Sometimes I need the entire trinity to help me grab hold of my rudder. But I know with practice, your grace and the urging of the Holy Spirit I can and will be the quiet captain of my ship. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A prayer to keep my body strong and dedicate it to serve God
Heavenly Father, I regularly make the commitment to keep my spiritual life active and strong. However, when I make choices about exercise or my diet, I rarely see that as part of my devotional life. My spirit, my soul and my body all belong to you. You ask us to be your warriors in the name of Christ. And warriors are strong spiritually, mentally and physically. Starting today, LORD, I recommit my entire body to you. When I am weak and want to forgo exercise or eat food I know just isn’t good for me I ask that your Holy Spirit remind me that I need to be strong to accomplish all that you have planned for me. I lift this up in your Son’s Holy Name, Amen.
A prayer to live without regret
Holy God, it’s been many years since I accepted your gift of salvation, which along with that gift came forgiveness. And yet, so often I am unable to forgive myself. My heart still twinges when I think of the times I lived in sin. And once saved, I look back at the years I realize I wasn’t fully committed to obeying your Word. I’ve wasted enough time, however, not accepting your grace. I am learning how much you love me, LORD. And with that, I’m working to accept that I am a new person because of your son Jesus. The old me can’t take up any more precious time when you are filling up my heart with overwhelming love. I admit I sometimes need stern admonishment from you to keep me on track. But at other times please send me a gentle kiss or unexpected hug to remind to live in today, not the regrets of the past. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
A prayer to act when directed by God
Dear God, I used to think that my faith was solely a personal, spiritual pursuit. But I keep hearing the word “obey.” I admit that obeying isn’t a comfortable word for me. It implies me giving up something for someone else. In your covenant world however, “obey” just means holding up my end of the bargain. You are always faithful, LORD, and I need to be faithful as well. James said it best when he admonished us to be “doers of the Word, not just hearers.” Sometimes I allow the world to drown out your Holy Spirit who speaks your will to me. Or I worry that I’m not worthy or ready to do your work. But I’m tuning in to you and listening, watching, and anticipating for your direction. Give me opportunities to be your hands, your feet and your heart. I will obey. In your Son’s name I pray this. Amen
A prayer to always speak kindly of others
Merciful God, so often when I think of sinful behavior, I rarely attribute my own tendency to gossip and tear down others. And yet throughout Jesus’ time here on earth he reminds us to love one another. Help me to remember to love not just with deeds but with my words. You speak so kindly of me, LORD, and I have many, many flaws. Not only do I need your help in not speaking unkindly, but also in being your servant to exalt your people. I know that a kind word is all that is needed to cure so many of our world’s ills. Guide me in controlling my lips so that they drip with kindness rather than bitterness. In Jesus’ name I lift this up to you. Amen
A prayer to be a blessing to those around me and my community
Holy Spirit I get so wrapped up in my everyday problems and to-do lists I forget to pause and look at the world around me. I rush out in my car and don’t stop to say “hi” to my elderly neighbor. I see the trash someone has left behind at the nearby lunch table and I assume someone else will pick it up. I watch the mother with two kids struggling to get her groceries in the car and I think, “thank goodness that isn’t me.” Oh, how I know you keep whispering to me to stop and do your work. But I prioritize my list and sometimes you aren’t on it. LORD, I say I want to be a blessing to others and yet I let so many opportunities pass me by. Today, I will be that blessing. Today I will recognize the need to slow down, reach out, and do your work. I will be your mustard seed and help build your Kingdom into all it’s glory. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
A prayer to not be judgmental of others
Holy God, we live in a world that judges us on a photo that gets scrolled by in an instant, our decision at the ballot box, the type of car we drive, or even the color of our skin. I am guilty of making snap judgements about the people I encounter throughout my day. But in your world, LORD, we are all equally loved. I have discovered the uniqueness of your message through Jesus – that you are the father, king, counselor, protector of ALL people. You are at work in all of our lives, believer and non-believer. Through the life lessons of Jesus and the prompting of the Holy Spirit I will be the type of person who loves first, rather than judges first. I want to be loved and accepted for who I am uniquely made to be and I will see others in that same light. I pray this in your Son’s name, Amen
A prayer to avoid using coarse language
Holy Father, it has become so easy for me to use your name in un-holy ways. There was once a time that when angered or frustrated I would just say some silly old saying. But as I drew closer to the ways of the world my language followed. I want to be closer to you instead, LORD. I want to speak like your son, Jesus. I know that anger, impatience, laziness, and bitterness are all roots of my use of foul language. Help me, Holy Spirit, to cut out those roots so that out of my mouth comes praise, prayer, forgiveness and grace. I will use my mouth, with your guidance, for these rather than obscenity and coarseness. Amen
A prayer to constantly praise and thank God
Mighty God, I admit that when things go wrong in my life I am quick to ask for help. But when my life is running along smoothly or even when a prayer is answered I’m equally quick to forget to thank you. Each and every morning when I rise, I commit to thanking you for what you will send my way that day – even the “not-so-good.” Because even in those times I know I have the opportunity to grow in my faith. And throughout my day I will remember to thank you even for the little gifts you send my way. LORD, at the end of my day I’m frequently so tired. But you are never tired of hearing my praise for you. I will, before my eyes close, remember the ways you revealed yourself to me that day. Whether you acted as my counselor, comforter, King, creator, or protector, I will praise you. In your son’s name I pray, Amen.
A prayer to love myself
Heavenly Father, so many of my perceived short falls come from my poor sense of self-worth. I look in the mirror sometimes and to be honest I don’t always see what you see – a beautifully, wonderfully made daughter of God. And I confess that my lack of love for your creation can spill over to my inability to openly love others without judgment. But I don’t want to grieve the Holy Spirit any longer. My heart, body, mind and soul were created by and belong to you, LORD. With the reminders found in your Holy Word to love my neighbor as myself I will look into that mirror with newfound love and admiration for your creation. Thank you for my life, thank you for making me uniquely me. I lift this up in Jesus’ name, Amen