Living for God
If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:31
I die every day-I mean that, brothers-just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
Following the Way of the Cross
Lord, I want to follow you to Jerusalem, to Golgotha, and to the final victory over death. But, I am still so divided. I truly want to follow you, but I also want to follow my own desires and lend an ear to the voices that speak about prestige, success, human respect, pleasure, power, and influence. Help me to become deaf to these voices and more attentive to your voices, which calls me to choose the narrow road to life.
I know it is going to be very hard for me. The choice for your way has to be made every moment of my life. I have to choose thoughts that are your thoughts, words that are your words, and actions that are your actions. There are no times or places without choices. And I know how deeply I resist choosing you.
Please, Lord, be with me at every moment and in every place. Give me the strength and the courage to live faithfully, so that I will be able to taste with joy the new life which you have prepared for me.
Prayer Based on Ephesians 6:12-17
Lord, my battle is not against flesh and blood.
The struggle and battles of my life …
they are not against people.
Lord you want me to know that I am called to fight not against people,
against others who do better,
against others who have more,
who out perform, out earn, out shine, out DO me.
Lord, you want me to know that the battle I am called to as your child is a battle for eternal stakes; a spiritual battle against spiritual forces.
Lord, the dark authorities, the powers, the spiritual forces of evil in this world, in the internet, in the media, in the soul of this culture, in this whole world system which seeks to reduce men and women into hollow beings bent in upon themselves.
Lord, help me not get diverted to any other battles of my own making.
Dear God, I confess that I often find myself fighting for myself, against others.
Instead of being a soldier of Jesus Christ, called to fight the battles of our Lord, I am soldier for (insert your name here), a soldier for my petty self, my puny name … out to fight for the glorious cause of my small self.
How tragic, Lord, when there is a greater war being waged all around me for the souls of men and women, a spiritual war with eternity at stake.
I don’t see my self appropriately, Lord.
Every time I waste my energy in anger and bitterness over my own ego wounds, Lord, please forgive me; help me see that you suffered much ghastlier wounds for the sins of man’s prideful ego.
Every time I try to further myself, advance myself, protect myself … Lord, open my eyes to the battlefield.
Help me never sit there nursing small wounds, clutching at minor cuts, when others are bravely advancing on the enemy with bigger wounds and deeper pain
Lord, please open my eyes. Open my eyes to see who my true enemies are. Open my eyes to see the dimensions, the forces which come to a focal point right here, upon my life, as I kneel in prayer.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
What an amazing thing it is, Lord, that I can put on the full armor of God, and actually stand my ground against the evil forces of the air, that I can do everything you command, and stand.
That every time I go and proclaim the gospel,
Every time I do something kind,
Every time I build a friendship with someone who does not know you,
Every time I express your love, grace and forgiveness,
Every time I pray and praise you,
Every time I trust you, hold to the truth, and believe you are good and right and sovereign, … that every time I do that, the “flaming arrows of the evil one” is extinguished.
Lord, I didn’t know. I really do not walk around appreciating this: that I am constantly engaged in this kind of battle, and that I can do this kind of damage to the kingdom of darkness. I did not properly see myself, my position, there in the trenches, there out there in the front lines, with the ability, potential, the opportunity to bring victory to the kingdom of God.
Lord, help me to know that my struggle is not against flesh and blood …
Help me to see myself as a rebel soldier in the spiritual battle.
Help me to behave myself appropriately.
Help me to renounce all the other skirmishes for my self, the small battles for my own ego. Help me to feel the eternal stakes which converge upon my life.
Help me to get excited at the incredible privilege to engage the powers of evil.
As it says in 2 Cor 4:18-20
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
Help me to run to the battle lines with this message of reconciliation. Let this be my one holy passion, Lord.
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Why, O Lord, is it so hard for me to keep my heart directed towards you? Why do the many little things I want to do, and the many people I know, keep crowding into my mind, even during the hours that I am totally free to be with you and you alone? Why does my mind wander off in so many directions, and why does my heart desire the things that lead me astray? Are you not enough for me? Do I keep doubting your love and care, your mercy and grace? Do I keep wondering, in the center of my being, whether you will give me all 1 need if I just keep my eyes on you?
Please accept my distractions, my fatigue, my irritations, and my faithless wanderings. You know me more deeply and fully than I know myself. You love me with a greater love than 1 can love myself. You even offer me more than I can desire. Look at me, see me in all my misery and inner confusion, and let me sense your presence in the midst of my turmoil. All I can do is show myself to you. Yet, I am afraid to do so. I am afraid that you will reject me. But I know – with the knowledge of faith -that you desire to give me your love. The only thing you ask of me is not to hide from you, not to run away in despair, not to act as if you were a relentless despot.
Take my tired body, my confused mind, and my restless soul into your arms and give me rest, simple quiet rest. Do I ask too much too soon? I should not worry about that. You will let me know. Come, Lord Jesus, come. Amen.
John of the Cross, 1542-91
O blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in thee. Let thy mighty calmness reign in me; Rule me, O King of gentleness, King of peace. Give me control, great power of self-control, Control over my words, thoughts and actions. From all irritability, want of meekness, want of gentleness, dear Lord, deliver me. By thine own deep patience, give me patience. Make me in this and all things more and more like thee.
Thomas a Kempis
O Lord Jesus, enlighten me with the clear shining of an inward light, and remove all darkness from the habitation of my heart. Repress my many wandering thoughts, and break in pieces those temptations which violently assault me. Fight strongly for me, and vanquish the evil beasts, the alluring desires of the flesh. So, there may be peace in Thy walls (Ps. 122:7), and that Thine abundant praise may resound in Thy holy court, that is, in a pure conscience. Command the winds and tempests; say unto the sea, Be still; say to the north wind, Blow not; and there shall be a great calm.
“Send out thy light and thy truth” (Ps. 43:3), that they may shine upon the earth; for I am earth without from and void until Thou enlighten me. Pour forth Thy grace from above, shower upon my heart the dew of Heaven, supply fresh streams of devotion to water the face of the earth, that it may bring forth fruit good and excellent. Lift up my mind which is pressed down by a load of sins, and draw up my whole desire to things heavenly; that having tasted the sweetness of supernal happiness, it may be irksome to me to think of earthly things.
Pluck me away, and deliver me from all unenduring comfort of creatures; for no created thing can give full rest and comfort to my desires. Join me to Thyself with an inseparable band of love; for Thou even alone dost satisfy him who loves Thee; and without Thee all things are vain and frivolous.
Thomas Cranmer from the Book of Common Prayers
Most holy God, the source of all good desires, all right judgments, and all just works: Give to us, your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, so that our minds may be fixed on the doing of your will, and that we, being delivered from the fear of all enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through the mercies of Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen.
Treasure in Jars of Clay
Lord help me to know myself, that I am like an earthen jar, a common, lowly jar of clay, made of earth; all my strength and vitality, sinew and blood, destined to return to soil one day. Help me never trust this frail frame; keep me from the folly of investing, overloading this insecure life with cargo it cannot hold, with hopes, longings, cravings never meant to be satisfied here, with plans, agendas and fantasies which can only be earned at the peril of my soul, destruction of others…
Thank you for the treasure. The treasure of your love, the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord, the infinite treasure of eternal salvation, the hope of heaven, the assurance that your grace will ultimately triumph, and will finally lead me home the many precious people to share the journey with, the many people you bless me with, some obvious, some hidden…
Help me to know that nothing can happen in this life which can make my life ultimately tragic; that nothing can happen to me which changes the fact that my life is essentially triumphant because of Jesus.
Lord the only thing alive about me is your Spirit. Help me to die, so that your life may be revealed through this already decaying body. Lord, I am still so alive. I spring to action, reaction, enthusiasm .. only when my ego stands to gain; I come alive only when I see something to pamper my body, boost my pride, enlarge my ego, increase my comforts, further my selfish agenda.
Lord, help me to see that these things are pale, cold, dead things. Lord, help me to sense the constricting chains of bondage pursuing these things brings. Lord, I need to be slain; All that is man made within me demolished that the self which you made in your image can emerge; My pride broken; my pretense exposed; my masks stripped. All that is within me needs to be shaken, so that only that which is unshakable will remain (Heb 12:27);
Have mercy on our friends, on this world, all those who are constantly rebelling against death and denying the decay already at work in their aging bodies, their waning lives. They think if they use enough make up, or drive certain cars, or have certain things, or pursue thrilling activities, that somehow they can suppress the smell of their own decomposition.
Lord, help the irrepressible life of Christ shine out through the cracks in this earthen jar. Help me to show others through my life that there is a wonder, a Life, a joy, a strength at work in me. Help me to show the world that though I am frail, hard pressed and perplexed, that there is a Life within me which keeps me afloat, not despairing, not crushed, not abandoned, May the Life of Jesus be revealed through my life.
Lord, help me to submit to the outward wasting away. I so often find myself fighting this good death; avoiding the wilderness; trying so hard to avoid the Surgeon’s knife. Lord, I want inward renewal but run away from outward pruning. Lord, I flee from the light and momentary troubles and therefore miss out on glory, the eternal glory which your outrageously generous grace desires so much to cloth me with. Lord, help me to weigh things right; help me to see the true nature of things; help me to know that the eternal glory which is your wild vision for me far, far, far outweighs a hundred wildernesses, a thousand set backs, a million pains.
Let your glory shine in this undeserving earthen vessel. It is, in spite of all my wanderings and confusions, my truest and deepest longing.
Pursuit of God
O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace.
I am ashamed of my lack of desire.
O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee;
I long to be filled with longing,
I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed.
Begin in mercy a new work of love within me.
Say to my soul, “Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.”
Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Lord, I would trust Thee completely;
I would be altogether Thine;
I would exalt Thee above all.
I desire that I may feel no sense of possessing anything outside of Thee.
I want constantly to be aware of Thy overshadowing presence and to hear Thy speaking voice.
I long to live in restful sincerity of heart.
I want to live so fully in the Spirit that all my thoughts may be as sweet incense ascending to Thee and every act of my life may be an act of worship.
Therefore, I pray in the words of Thy great servant of old, “I beseech Thee so for to cleanse the intent of mine heart with the unspeakable gift of Thy grace, that I may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee.”
And all this I confidently believe Thou wilt grant me through the merits of Jesus Christ Thy Son. Amen.
Psalms to Help You Pray
Confessions of Heart
Psalm 42, 22:1-11, 13, 73
Repentance & Forgiveness
Psalm 51, 32
Confessions of Our Love and Trust, and of God’s Goodness to Us
Psalm 23, 16, 139, 131, 27
Psalm 100, 116, 118, 136
For Times of Weakness and Distress
Psalm 25, 86:1-13,121, 130, 46, 61
Lord, we whine and complain rather than giving thanks; we chose self-pity and grumpiness rather than joy; we let our attention wander rather than persevering. Forgive us, Lord.
Lord, this is hard! But, we trust you and that nothing you ask us to face is a mistake. We want this joy in the face of trials, but only you can give it to us. Lord, we are so easily discouraged, so easily distracted, so easily dismayed, so easily entangled. Show us that our problems aren’t any greater or worse than those of others. Lift our eyes up to see you and follow you in running the race and running it well.
For the sake of Jesus, who endured to the end.
Scripture Passages on Perseverance and Endurance
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces 4 perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
2 Thessalonians 1:4
Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
2 Thessalonians 3:4-5
4 We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
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 entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
2 Peter 1:5-7
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
1 Timothy 4:15
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. ‘ Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
1 Peter 2:20-21
20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 SO that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 6:3-10
3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
1 Thessalonians 1:3
We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 6:11-12
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
2 Timothy 3:10-11
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings-what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
2 Timothy 2:3-10
3 Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs-he wants to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. 8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
2 Timothy 4:1-5
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
Commitment to Obedience and Service
O God, who by our great Master’s example, has taught us what labors and sufferings heaven deserves, and that we are to take it by force; confound in us, we ask you, the weakness of our nature, which is averse to that discipline and hardship we ought to endure as disciples and soldiers of Jesus Christ; help us in our way there, by self-denial and mortification, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with thee and thy Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love, Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled, as to console, To be understood, as to understand, To be loved, as to love, For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Prayers Based on the Name of God
You know me; you know my thoughts, my longings, my heart. You know what I sought for, you know what I stood for, you know my name.
But when I searched for You, my mind groped in darkness. I shrank back in fear as I dared to look into the infinite, as if looking down a bottomless abyss.
You are Jehovah, the great I AM, the Self-Existent One. The Self-Existent One, that’s the God of this universe, the God that I need to know. Yet how can I know You? I am the derivative, You are the original. There is none like You. I had my beginning; this universe had its beginning, but You are the Alpha and the Omega. Your mind and Your being reach the infinite. How can I know God? How can I dare to make such a claim? I put my hand over my mouth. You are Jehovah, the great I AM. By that name I am in awe.
But You, in the mystery of all mysteries, revealed Yourself to me. You approached me and wanted me to know Your name.
You are God the Creator, Elohim, the beginning of all. things. You are the source of my every breath and life. You are the Great Initiator. It wasn’t I who sought You out and found You. I never crossed a great distance to search for You. I never suffered and sacrificed to bridge that gap between the heavens and my soul. I sat in the seat of mockers, I was going to let the gap remain forever – forever onto hell. But You initiated. You approached me first when I was writhing in my own sins. And that’s when my world began. You took the initiative, You began a new world for me. Let that fact sink deep into my heart; let me be still and know that You are God. In the beginning God – upon your moving this world started. And in my beginning God – upon your moving my world started. You are Elohim, the initiator, creator, the source of my life. By that name my world began.
You are Lord, Adonai. You are the Master, I am the servant. Your commands I will follow for all, the days of my life. The boundaries for me have fallen in pleasant places. Under You, I find purpose and meaning. Your commands give me a higher calling, a higher pleasure. Be over me, Lord, although I am such a wicked and lazy servant. Please have patience with me. Let me confess You as my Lord over every part of my life. You are Adonai, the Lord of my life. By that name I am your servant.
You are Jehovah-Rophe, my Healer. You healed me from my sins, You healed me from my sicknesses. When I writhe in the guilt of my sins, just when I feel that the wounds are too deep, You speak words of love to heal me. When I feel paralysis of discouragement coming over my body and heart, You tell me to get up and walk. When I feel blindness of pride covering my eyes, You tell me to open my eyes and see. Your healing amazes me. O Lord my Healer, let me be Your patient throughout my life. Let me experience the thrill of the lame man walking, the awe of the blind man seeing. I am sickly and weak, please help me. You are my Healer, and by that name I can have the strength to go on.
You are Jehovah-Nissi, my Banner. You are my victory, my flag. You forge new paths, push through the front-lines of battle. You engage me in the battle with eternal stakes. You are the banner that I lift up high above my head. You are the banner under which I can lose myself. Father, let me lose myself under You. Let me finally let go of my insignificant and fruitless campaign of selfishness and fall under Your banner. Help me to be Your soldier that would find the greatest glory in dying for You. Have mercy on my cowardice, O Lord. Let me look to You always to find courage and strength. You are my Banner, and in that name I lose myself.
You are Jehovah-Rohi, my Shepherd. I shall not be in want. You feed me and nurture me with the tender care of a good shepherd. Your care is so timely – you know my needs better than I know them. Just when I feel dry, you lead me to streams of water. Just when I hunger, You guide me to a grazing field. I can trust You, for You are the good Shepherd. Even through the valley of shadow of death, I can trust You, for I know that You lay down Your life for me. What excuse do I have of not trusting You? Help me, Lord, to be a trusting sheep that follows You. Help me to be a sheep that can recognize the voice of his master. You are my Shepherd. By that name, I call upon You and follow You.
You are Jehovah-Shalom, my Sanctifier. Your vision for me is higher than that of my own. Is it possible that when you lay Your eyes on me, You see a glorious creature capable of communing with You? Is it possible that the sight of me strikes Your heart with a painful longing that reminisces of the garden of Eden before the Fall? Am I indeed a being so wonderfully and fearfully made? Such knowledge is too lofty for me, for I am a creature marred by sin. Yet I welcome Your vision; I submit to Your work of sanctification, for it is Your passionate love for me that will not rest until I am in full communion with You without a sin to hinder us. O Father, let me be enraptured by Your grand vision – so that I can fully submit to Your work of sanctification. Let me recognize the pain of loss that You feel whenever my sin reverses Your sanctifying work in me, and help me to hate sin as You do. Purify me and refine me. I give myself into Your hands to mold, for You are my Sanctifier. By that name I submit myself to be purified.
You are Jehovah-Tsidkenu, my Righteousness. That name is foreign to this world without an example to turn to, and that name is utterly foreign to my heart that knows nothing of righteousness. Yet You promise that You will see me as righteous when clothed with Christ. My world, ruled by my deceitful heart, is altogether untrustworthy, for falsehood and lies sometimes triumph. But You are righteous; so I can trust You, and I can trust that truth will ultimately triumph . I can trust that You will keep Your promises; I can rest knowing that You are just in Your judgment and true to Your nature of faithfulness. Help me, Lord, to be righteous as You are righteous. Thank You for clothing me in the righteousness of Christ – it is amazing grace that You would credit unto me Christ’s righteousness. Please give me the faith to believe Your promises and secure me in Christ. You are my Righteousness, and by that name I can trust in Your promises.
You are Jehovah-Shammah, You are present with me. How lonely this life would be, how fearsome this spiritual journey would become if I were ultimately alone. But You are with me to the end of the age. I look back on the journey that I have taken, and the road that I had taken is filled with markers and milestones – so timely and crucial – which prove that I did not walk it alone. Your love for me is made concrete through Your church; Your presence is felt in prayers and answers to prayers. Your personal admonishment and encouragement is heard through the messages and Your word. O Lord, help me to hunger and thirst after Your presence. Make me dependent on Your presence for every moment of my life. Help me to find courage and security in Your presence. I have promised to serve Thee to the end; Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my friend; I shall not fear the battle if Thou are by my side, Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my guide. You are present with me, and in that name I find security.
You are El Shaddai, the Almighty God. Your power is inexhaustible, Your grace is unfathomable. You have shown that clearly throughout my life. Because of Your compassion, You are a high priest that can sympathize with my weaknesses, but because of Your power, You are the savior that can overcome death and lift me up from the downward spiral of sin. Lord God, You are the Almighty God. With a word You created this world. The mountains melt away at Your presence. A word from You, and the universe will collapse back to nothingness. Lead me to tremble before You, to fear You as I ought. Help me to be dependent on You; keep my heart in check from pride. How foolish is the pride of man that would dare to stand arrogant before the Almighty God! You are El Shaddai, and by that name I am humbled.
You are Jehovah-Jireh, my Provider. You provide for my needs. But what are my needs? You approach with a promise to fill my need, pushing the question deeper. What is the greatest need of my life? What is the greatest problem in my life for which I need Your provision? O Lord, I need Your forgiveness. That is one thing that I cannot earn for myself, there is nothing that I can do. I can only moan all day long under the weight of the guilt of my sin. My greatest problem is the sin problem, and I am desperately needy because of it. Even if I were to have the whole world, what would that benefit me if I lose my soul? Thoroughly poor and needy am I without Your forgiveness. You are Jehovah jireh, my Provider. Just when I lift up the dagger of despair and hopelessness, the moment of my greatest need, you provide Your Son for me. By that name I have hope of forgiveness, my greatest need.
I search high and low for a name that would be the fulfillment of that hope for forgiveness – a new name that would fill my greatest need of cleansing. Is there another name? Is there a name that will settle once and for all the question of whether You do indeed forgive me and love me? What tearful joy when I find it in the final name that You took on – Immanuel, the name of Jesus – God with us, he who has come to save his people from their sins. Jesus, my Lord and my God, You have provided for my need, for by the name of Jesus I am saved.
You know me; you know my thoughts, my longings, my heart. You know what I sought for, you know what I stood for, you know my name. What glorious thought it is that You would approach me, wanting me to know Your thoughts, Your longings, Your heart. What wondrous news it is that You want me to know Your name.
Prayer Based On the “I am” Statements of Jesus
You are the light of the world. You guide me through the darkness of my life. When darkness of my heart overcame me, when darkness of my sins enveloped me, you were that one bright light that beckoned me to have hope. When my bones were weak with the heavy burden of sin and I was floundering in the sea of darkness and hopelessness, you were the light that led me out of darkness. What would have happened if you were not the light of my life? I shudder to think of it. My life would be characterized by hopelessness. I would have long given up any hope of meaning in life, I’m certain that I would have grown cynical of life itself. Yet too cowardly to take my own life, I would have been forever trapped between fear of death and hopelessness of life. But you are the light of the world. I can follow you, for you guide me so well. Help me Lord, to never lose hope, help me to have faith in your promise that whoever follows you will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. Guide me through this dark world, guide me through my own dark heart and self. I submit to your leading – I acknowledge that there is no other way, for every other way leads to increasing darkness.
You are the gate for the sheep. You have opened up the gates; you have ripped open the curtain to the Holy of Holies. Heaven was the forbidden city for me, but through you I can enter. You are the gate for me. I entered the gate, only knowing that there’s salvation on the other side. I entered the gate, only knowing that I couldn’t bear the emptiness and guilt of being outside. What wonderful delight I found beyond the gate, there is not only salvation, but a life abundant – a brand new world of vision and glory that I would have never known. I am like a sheep that entered the gate seeking shelter from the bitter cold of winter, only to find the green pastures of spring awaiting me inside. Thank you, O Lord, for being that gate into a life eternal, into a life abundant. It’s far more than I could have ever asked for. Help me never forget the bitter cold that I came from; shut the doors behind me so that I will not wander far from your grace. Use me, Lord, to be for others a gate that opens up a whole new life for them.
You are the good shepherd. You lay down your life for me. I had not known love until I was loved by You. I had not understood that love would take so much courage and sacrifice. The exchange of a shepherd’s life for a sheep – the exchange of God’s life for a man – how senseless, how foolish; yet it is in that foolishness of love that I find my salvation. Like a shepherd, you guided me ever since my birth – your eyes had been on me, your hands had orchestrated events in my life to lead me. And like a good shepherd, you lay down your life for me just at the right time. You are the good shepherd. Help me to follow you; help my ears to be sensitive to your voice. Lord, I pray that I can be a good shepherd over your flock that will not abandon the sheep when troubles come. Help me to respond to your call to feed your sheep. Help me, Lord, to feed your sheep as you had fed them, as you had fed me.
You are the way and the truth and the life. Such truth could not have come from man. Ever since the Fall, the world has sought for something to hold on to that will be the way, the truth, and the life – each pathways leading only to falsehood and death. I sought for it in the world, I thought it was in power and education.
Who on earth could have imagined that the answer to that would lie in a person? Who could have imagined that all the infinite power of God, all the truth of eternity, the source of life itself would come and walk on this earth? Did the rocks and hills hush in shock to have the Word which created them become flesh? Lord, I praise you, for you are the great I AM, the way and the truth and the life.
You are the vine. Lord, I remember how you gave me these words for me to abide by at such a crucial time of my life. Indeed I can’t bear fruit alone. Not only that, I know that I will just wither away if I don’t remain in you. Haven’t I experienced it first-hand? Without you, I dry up; I wither and fall away. I need you, I need your life-sustaining water to keep me. Have mercy on me, the foolish pride that says I can somehow survive without abiding in you. Forgive me, Lord, for mocking your name by trying to bear spiritual fruit by human means. Have mercy on me and my utter folly that tries to revive myself from dryness without going to you, the vine of life. Help me to abide in you always; please bear fruit through me for your kingdom’s sake.
You are the resurrection and the life. To my soul so downcast with the fear of death and the unknown, Jesus you came. I still feel the awe that I felt the first time you came into my life. Could it truly be that to die is to gain? What else do I have to fear? O Lord, I look forward to the day when I can see you face-to-face. I look forward to the day when I cry tears of joy in your kingdom as I try to fathom your amazing mercy that has brought me there. What would I say to you? I have no idea. I think I would just weep. Lord, please let me live my life in such a way that the day of my death would bring deepest sorrow for others and the greatest joy for me. Let me testify that to live is Christ. Help me to keep my eyes on heaven; my mind on the things above. Fill my heart with deep longing for your salvation, for that day of resurrection when I will meet you, my resurrection and my life.
Confession of Sin and Prayers of Repentance
Most merciful God,
We confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart, and
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us;
That we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways,
To the glory of your Name. Amen.
Being Free from Ourselves
Lord, we’re so invested in our accomplishments and our reputations. We work so hard at trying to control life. We work so hard to make impression on others. But, you ask us to not be afraid to be unimpressive and vulnerable. You ask us to let go of our addictions to comfort and success, to popularity and self-confident answers. But, we don’t want to embrace your death as our death, your dying as our dying.
Lord, you know how our motives are so mixed-how much we want our reputation to grow and our influences to spread. We are not pure-hearted, not free from ourselves, not convinced of our utter neediness before you. Forgive us, Lord!
Lord, peel away the layers of image and persona we’ve so carefully wrapped around ourselves to hide our brokenness and neediness. Lay us bare so that everyone can see the treasure that is your life in us. Show us how to embrace our suffering and the suffering of others. Help us tell our stories, to name our wounds, to find your healing touch. Open our hearts to the needs of everyone around us.
Lord, free me from myself! Free us from ourselves!
In the name of the one who died and rose again, Amen.