No Fear in Love

We keep coming back to the fact that relationship with God is the essential context for prayer. Jesus put the two together in the word picture of the vine and branches: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7) He is speaking to His closest disciples– not just anyone on the street, but those who know Him and love Him, and who will follow Him to the cross and beyond. He is describing a prayer life that pours out of living in His presence….flows from our understanding of His written words and Himself, the very Word of God. The prayers are a conversation between our spirits and our Heavenly Father, a result of our connection with Him and our delight in Him.

It reminds me of the mutual absorption and delight of new lovers, gazing into each other’s eyes with so much to say and never enough time to say it all, when every turn of the head and every sentence is a new revelation of the Beloved. There is nothing we could not ask of that person. Why is it then, that we tend to measure our relationship with God by the response we receive from Him, as if prayer were a loves-me-loves-me-not test of cosmic proportion? As if His love for me were measured in His Yes to my desires, when God has already answered my deepest needs with His great and precious promises in Christ. When we truly see the deep everlasting love of God at the cross– grab onto it with both hands for our very lives– there is no need for uncertainty in our relationship with Him. This is how John can say that love-without-fear will be a defining mark of the person abiding in Christ: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us…..There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:17-18)

Spurgeon articulates well how this loving relationship affects both the nature of our prayers and the fruit they bear: “I see clearly why the branch gets all it wants while it abides in the stem, since all it wants is already in the stem and placed there for the sake of the branch….in such a man as that there is a predominance of grace that causes him to have a renewed will, which is according to the will of God.” (The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life) In other words, a person who walks and talks with Jesus constantly and naturally in everyday life trusts the heart of the One in whom he abides, because he knows Him well. And even if he desires something with all his heart, yet he will hesitate in thinking he knows best or is qualified to judge in the matter, and will gladly defer to the decision of the Branch in Whom he lives and breathes and has his being. No wonder Jesus can promise that our hearts’ desires will be accomplished for us, when He describes that kind of relationship with people who follow Him.

In the same way, abiding helps us understand the answers we receive from God. If our hearts are delighting in Him and pursuing deeper knowledge of the Beloved One, then every answer He gives is a means to that end…not only when our desires are affirmed and granted, but also when He counsels us to wait or gives us only the answer of His presence and peace. Regardless of the answer, still we are learning to know Him.

I listen to the older-and-wiser saints who have learned to live in vital connection to the Vine, and see their serene understanding that everything He does is an expression of His everlasting love and kindness, no matter how it feels or appears in the moment. “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all– how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) It’s one thing to believe this in our heads, but as we practice abiding, and grow in our close relationship with the Savior, we begin to rest in this truth with our whole hearts. We taste and see for ourselves that His ways are good. And we begin to see how all His answers are nothing but grace and love poured out on us, even when it hurts or we do not understand.

Lord Jesus, heal the wounded places that have left us un-trusting and un-resting. Straighten the bent spirits, the handicaps that cause us to struggle to love, fully and unafraid. Strengthen the despairing hearts, the weary and the broken, that we may be able to hope for all good things from Your hand. Restore us and make us new– enable us to live in relationship with You, moment by moment, as Your creatures were meant to live from the Beginning. This is our prayer.


Prayer is not begging God to do something for us that He doesn’t know about, or begging God to do something for us that He is reluctant to do, or begging God to do something that He hasn’t time for. In prayer we persistently, faithfully, trustingly come before God, submitting ourselves to His sovereignty, confident that He is acting, right now, on our behalf.

Eugene Peterson


Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened

Matthew 7:7-8


Prayer That Changes Me

When I was younger I envied Jesus’ disciples who could see the expressions on His face and hear the sound of His voice, share a smile or a sandwich. But when you really think about it, what could be better than to have His Spirit living beside us and in us, as close as our next breath? As intimate as our hidden thoughts. As powerfully at work in our hearts as He is in the fiery explosion of the stars. I can’t help but think Who am I to have a conversation with the One who spoke the world into existence?

And how could we fail to be changed as mortal beings, if we are sharing life with the immortal Creator? It is rather like being in a divine incubator, and us growing under the careful attention of His presence. It is slow, over many years, but if you watch closely you could see the inner self gradually healing from its wounds, the mind’s eye growing straight and true, the heart filling with God’s own love and goodness– and us turning into the creatures we were meant to be from the Beginning. Our elders have always told us this, to be careful of the company we keep, because we become like those who have our attention. The Church-planter Paul explains this to the believers in Corinth in full expectation of their becoming: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 3:18)

Often what we label as prayer is only a reciting of requests (as if it were a necessary sacrifice of time in order to get the desired results?) and perhaps all of us have veered into that dead-end alley, one time or another. It is at least a starting place. But the Biblical word pictures of prayer are much more vivid and dramatic: Jacob wrestling all night long with the angel of the Lord, Paul challenging the believers to take up arms with him in prayer against the forces of darkness, Jesus’ story of a woman pounding persistently on the judge’s door in the middle of the night. By these accounts, prayer is more like the heavy labor of the soul, the work that reshapes us. Because there is this frequent clash between what I experience here and what God says is true; this constant pull between the old self and the new self; this divide between who I am now and who I want to be. And He is calling us to be brave enough to seek for answers, to not be satisfied with where we are, but to see more of His glory. If I want to experience the presence of the Almighty in life-changing prayer, I had better be willing to roll up my sleeves and step out into the unknown and unexpected.

And He promises to meet us there, when we trust Him enough to pour out our hearts to Him. He says we will find Him when we seek His help, His ways….says we will not be disappointed when we wrangle emotions into submission to His will. The prayer that changes me isn’t afraid to be vulnerable in its need. Big-brother James tells us straight out: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5) I can invite God’s resources into my everyday life because He has already given me an open invitation to ask. But the Musician-King David sings it best: “Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” (Psalm 34:5) The prayer that changes me wants to see His face more than anything His hands can give. Only the truly hungry spirit can say with Jacob: “I will not let You go unless you bless me.” (Genesis 32:26) It’s clear that prayer is as much about the condition of my inner life as it is about the condition of my outer circumstances.

At its heart, prayer is pouring out our desires and emotions to God, stripping away all the masks– because we know He sees us clearly already, and who wants a relationship that is based on something false? And when we can stop hiding ourselves, we are in turn able to see Him more clearly; when we have nothing left to say but the groanings of our hearts which only the Spirit can hear, then we can hear His words to us; in that space where Self lets go of everything but God, there is room for the greatest change.

Not that we need only pray for the big things in life. The Musician-King sang in wonder that the Creator would “see me when I travel and when I rest at home…know everything I do… know what I am going to say even before I say it.” (Psalm 139:3-4) He is right here with me in the middle of every step of every mundane day, making holy the common ground of life as surely as He did to that flaming bush for the Shepherd Moses. And maybe as we learn to talk about every little thing with Him, we are taking the small steps that will enable us to tackle the bigger issues in time. Conversations with Someone we cannot see might seem awkward, or maybe will come in starts and stops, or even feel like duty at times….doesn’t the beginning of anything new feel like that? But our prayers grow up with us, as we persist. Prayer that changes me is, above all, the constant everyday process of bending my human will into agreement with God’s Spirit. We can hardly fail to be transformed, if we are sharing life with the immortal Creator…every part of us becoming beautiful in His light.


True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that– it is a spiritual transaction with the Creator of heaven and earth.

Charles Spurgeon, The Power of Prayer in The Believer’s Life


On my bed I remember You; I think of You through the watches of the night. Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings. I cling to You; Your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:6-8

When to Stop Praying

Originally published on March 8, 2015.

I remember her standing there in her driveway, confessing to me with a little laugh and a shake of her head: “I’ve been fighting with God about something for a little while now, and I should know better….I know He’s going to win in the end.” My mother-in-law was seventy-two then, and I remember smiling with her in rueful acknowledgement of divine sovereignty and human emotions–the lesson that takes a lifetime to learn. I think of her often in my own storms, when it gets hard to be still and know that He is God. Even when you know all along Who is in charge and to Whom your heart will bow in the end, still the heart needs time to process, time to find new perspectives and lay down its natural reactions. These don’t come naturally, and there is wisdom in that admission– that prayer isn’t the suspending of our wills, but the bowing down of them. Not the denying of our emotions but the sharing of them in intimate relationship. And it is the willingness to go through the changing process that is our offering of worship to the King. As Paul wrote to the Romans “…let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

This is where prayer is so invaluable to us, because in that private space we can honestly pour out every thought and feeling without regard for how correct it is, or how mature, or how admirable.  It is the one safest place to be real: in the presence of the Person who made us, the One who went through death and back, for us. As long as our end goal is to please Him and do things His way, He is unfailingly patient with the process of getting us there. And as long as we are opening the door to Him in prayer, we are allowing Him the opportunity to interact with us, grow us, help us understand Him better, which is what He wants most of all.

When all the words have run out and the storm of emotion has run dry, there is left a quietness in His presence, and the comforting of His Spirit. The situation may not have changed at all, but the heart waits, knowing that He understands, and stands alongside. This is the gift of prayer. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6)


Practically then, I say, Pray as He did, until prayer makes you cease praying. Pray until prayer makes you forget your own wish, and leave it or merge it in God’s will.

Frederick Robertson


Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

A Tale of Life-Changing Prayer

Originally published March 9, 2016.

Whenever I read Hannah’s story in the Bible, I pause to wonder over the fact that she gave up her sweet boy. After praying “year after year” for him (so the story goes), she finally promises to give him back if God will just hear her prayer for a child. It is reminiscent of the desperate promises that lead to tragedy in some of our best folk-tales, except this one seems to be told with joy and we hear her song of praise, get to see her leading the little boy to the Temple to live with old Eli, watch her making wee garments to take to him when she visits once a year and sees how much he has grown. I chose her words of faith as our own commitment when we dedicated our children: “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:27-28) And I meant it, but I always wondered how she could bear to leave Samuel there to travel back home, after waiting so long to hold him. I always thought how she must be a stronger woman than I am.

Once you get past the main attraction here, that God answered a weeping woman’s prayers with a miracle baby, other valuable features of the story come to light, the first of which is that it is not really her story at all, but the beginning of Samuel’s. He himself is writing down the story he must have heard dozens of times– probably once a year when his parents came to visit. (I have it on good authority that parents tend to tell and re-tell their favorite stories about their children…you know we all do it.) And he records it with good reason, in all its detail, because his mother’s struggle has shaped his life– poured the foundation for who he is and the role he will play in the nation of Israel.

The first years of Hannah’s marriage read like an ancient soap opera, with two wives and one good-hearted husband caught in the middle. One wife loved, but barren; a second-choice wife (and probably younger) having child after child, but all too conscious of where their husband’s affections lay. Not surprisingly, their home becomes the grounds for some pretty serious rivalry and drama. Hannah weeps and prays and fasts. The husband gives gifts and coaxes her with declarations of his love. The other wife taunts and shows off her pregnancies and her children, jabs at Hannah’s faith year after year. You can’t help but wonder why Hannah kept praying: she keeps going to the Temple to worship, keeps asking God and does not give up. On the surface it appears that when Eli finally notices her praying in a public place, he casts his favor with her, and God at last gives her what she wants. But the year after year of praying without answers is a key element in the story that we would not want to miss.

We can feel it with her, the monthly cycle of hoping and praying and being disappointed yet again. Every month watching others flourish while she waited on her own body to bear life. Month after month pouring out her heart’s desires and believing that Someone out there was listening and could help her, despite every visible circumstance to the contrary.  And I wonder how her prayers began to change as she wrestled. We only catch glimpses of what was happening in her heart: Certainly she prayed for a child to fill her arms…to affirm her womanhood…to bring joy to her life. Surely she prayed for a child to please her husband and validate his love for her. Perhaps she prayed for a child to silence the neighbors’ whispering tongues. To restore her honor. Year after year, the narrative says. Her persistence speaks loudly of her devotion to God and her determination not to turn elsewhere for answers, and in the shape of her prayers we hear how God met her in those wilderness years. “… for the Lord is a God who knows, and by Him deeds are weighed….He will guard the feet of his faithful servants….” (1 Samuel 2:3,9)

She kept on giving her pain and her longing and her dreams into God’s care, until finally she just laid it all down– gave up her ideas of what should happen and why, and said Not my will but Your purposes be accomplished in my life…This child will be from You and for You, and this miracle will be for Your glory. And Samuel did belong to the Lord from the moment he was born, dedicated to serve Him as the last of the judges and the first of the prophets– the one who would guide the great kings of Israel’s Golden Age. Both mother and child were overshadowed by the Holy Spirit so that Hannah could prophesy “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high….for I delight in Your deliverance.” (1 Samuel 2:1) 

Maybe this is how she could give up little Samuel to be trained in the House of the Lord– because she had already surrendered her life and her son into the Lord’s good purposes for them. A thousand years later, Jesus will describe the rightful and appropriate cost of obedience this way: “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it.” (Luke 9:24) So Samuel begins his book here, with the faith and perseverance and worship of a strong woman who understood her purpose to know God.

This is where Hannah’s story intersects our own, because whatever we long for most, and whenever we labor long in prayer and wait for answers, we can know there is much more at stake than the object of our desire. We can be assured that God’s purposes are much larger than ours, and that He will allow us to wrestle with our emotions, and our circumstances, and His answers, until we are ready to surrender to His right to rule. And we can know for sure “that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) 

Hannah understood that if she turned away, He would not be diminished in the least; it was her own everyday experiences that would be affected most by the blessing or loss of His presence. She declared her commitment to draw near to Him: “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2) Year after year she chose Him, and gained everything that mattered, for both her and for her little boy Samuel. May we be as strong and as faithful.

And we can hear Hannah joyfully singing, “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.” (1 Samuel 2:8)


Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25-26


He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

Jim Elliot

Things I Can See

Originally published November 9, 2016.

Whenever we talk about balancing faith and sight, somehow it all gets back to recognizing the fence-lines around my Yard of responsibility. Because here in the Everyday, in the realm of my words, my choices, my actions… I reap what I sow. I know this as a fact of life. But I also recognize that outside the fence there is a whole world of things that I cannot control: other people’s feelings and perspectives, even their behavior…and it doesn’t matter how much I love them or how badly I want to help (fix?) them. I could sow all the best things in their lives, with no guarantee of reaping. Their lives are their own, and it is harmful to everyone involved if I go rooting around in their yards. Boundary lines help keep relationships healthy, and keep us humble, realizing the limits to our own power. So I balance living my best, inside my circle of influence, with holding onto hopes for happy endings for the people and the situations I care about.

And I can have hope, because out there in the unseen world– in God’s wide reality– nothing is impossible, and He “is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20) His Wind blows everywhere and no fence-lines can stop it.  No wish-dreams we hold onto so tightly can get in the way. He plans from beginning to end for the good of all His creation, and His loving-kindness never fails…it falls like rain on every Yard, because it is all His. The Song-Writer David could not find a single place on this planet where God was not at work: “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:9-10) So when we talk about living by faith, we really mean acknowledging how small is our Yard and how big is creation, and Who is its rightful King.

I find that in the balance of understanding my Yard better, there is a different kind of Hope, something more than wishing hard. God’s overarching plans are for sure and certain, like the sun coming up in the morning and the way Winter always melts into Spring, whether or not we can see how it works. We can build our lives on Hope like that. And it is prayer that bridges the gap between the two worlds. “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and His ears are open to their prayers.” (1 Peter 3:12) Big-brother James goes so far as to say that “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16) I have no delusions of power– the older I get, the more clearly I see all the things in this world that are outside my control– but I understand that prayer allows me to participate in the work of an almighty God, to reach beyond the fence-lines of my small Yard. This kind of Hope motivates me to turn fears and concerns into prayers, balances how helpless I feel at times, because the King’s plans are real and good and indestructable. Faith says that all I have to do is take care of my own Yard, and for everything I cannot do, there is Grace and all the Father’s good gifts.


And far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see
And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea
And through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
And through it all, through it all
It is well….
So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

It Is Well, Kristene Dimarco


So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.

Matthew 6:31-33

When It’s Hard to Put into Words

People tell me all the time that they don’t know how to pray for themselves. Don’t know what to do in a hard situation? Can’t find the words amid the jumble of thoughts and mixed feelings? Yeah, I get that.

But I know how we tend to fall into thinking we need to pray the solution, and that’s just hard and overwhelming, not to mention that we have it all backwards. Prayer isn’t about us figuring it out, so we can ask God to do the proper things. As if He will stand helpless until we know just the right answers to pray for. Nor is it a matter of finding the formula that will enlist God’s service on our behalf. He is already on our side, and ready to pour out abundance, if we will only be still and receive it. Like Paul writes to the early believers, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32)

Prayer is about pouring out our hearts to God and then filling it back up with His truth. And truly there is nothing better for that than the Musician-King’s songs. If circumstances shake your world, pray his songs of faith. If your heart is broken over sin, pray his songs of repentance. If the voice of the Enemy is whispering dark in your head, pray the songs of deliverance and victory. And in all things, at all times, pray his songs of praise that shift your eyes from the difficulty to the One who loves you.

So when you are running out of hope, or running out of words, or just plain running scared, pray the heartfelt prayers that have stood the test of time, and let them point your heart in the right direction. We don’t have to know how to pray for ourselves, we just have to come into His presence, because Paul is writing in the same letter about how “… the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (verses 26-27)

How wonderful to know that our difficulties are on His mind, and He is expressing our struggling hearts in just the right ways to the Father, who is working all things out for our good and His glory.


Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge

Psalm 62:8


Take this fainted heart
Take these tainted hands
Wash me in Your love
Come like grace again

Even when my strength is lost
I’ll praise You
Even when I have no song
I’ll praise You
Even when it’s hard to find the words
Louder then I’ll sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise

Take this mountain weight
Take these ocean tears
Hold me through the trial
Come like hope again

Even when the fight seems lost
I’ll praise You
Even when it hurts like hell
I’ll praise You
Even when it makes no sense to sing
Louder then I’ll sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise

And my heart burns only for You
You are all, You are all I want
And my soul waits only for You
And I will sing ’til the morning has come…

Even when the morning comes
I’ll praise You
Even when the fight is won
I’ll praise You
Even when my time on earth is done
Louder then I’ll sing Your praise
I will only sing Your praise

Even When It Hurts, Hillsong United

The Work of Love

This thought keeps coming back around, this week, in articles and Scripture, and around-the-table discussions….and when an idea comes at you from all sides, it is wise to pay attention. So we sit up and take note of this concept that of all the things we do, prayer is the most effective, however small it may seem.

It’s a little hard to grasp, that mere words, poured out and often not even spoken aloud would have the power to change the way things are. It makes more sense to do something tangible, that we can measure and others can see– share what we have, to fill up what is lacking somewhere else. It makes us feel better about life if we can count the money for refugee relief, pile up the shoeboxes for children, build a ramp, or buy a gift. It counts for something, piles up as evidence for good, but underneath I wonder if it isn’t more about this urgent need in all of us to regain some sense of control. In a world of overwhelming evils, doing something visibly good makes me feel that I have some influence over the situation. And I like the thought that we are equipped to combat the darkness, that if we work together and harness all our good intentions we could make a sizable difference. But when it comes right down to it, we are fighting a losing battle if all we are using is our hands and feet.

The Church-planter Paul quotes the prophets and they are all speaking the plain truth that our best efforts are not good enough in any way that matters. We just don’t have what it takes to make a long-term difference: “No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” (Romans 3:11-12) And maybe it takes something as big as loss or illness to make us realize what we can’t control; there’s something about getting to the end of your own abilities that inspires you to reach for More.

But right there, over and over again, Paul is urging the early Christ-followers to reach out in love and do the most powerful thing in the universe that they can do: “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:18) Because when we take our concerns for the people we love, and shape them into prayers, we are surrendering our desires for them into the hands of Someone who loves them even more and has the power to do the things we cannot. We might be able to wrap up a toy for a child, but the God who came to earth to rescue that child can rearrange circumstances that will help him to grow strong. We can raise money for clean water, but the Creator who shaped the earth can raise up someone to spread the gospel of Living Water in that place. We can clean houses and cook meals, but the Healer who bore our pain in His own body can give strength and hope to the sick. It is a miracle and a privilege, how He allows our concern for others to take on lasting influence and form when we offer them up to Him. It is scary to admit how little we can control, but we have a real God who can make real life-change happen for good when we put needs into words.

So by all means, let us do what is before us in the tangible Everyday to help others, and may we do it gladly in Christ’s name; but may we also be quick to pour out our heart’s desires for their good in our prayers, and wait in anticipation to see what our Father in Heaven will do for them.


“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21


There is no factor in prayer more effectual than love. If we are intensely interested in an object or an individual, our petitions become like living forces. Not only do they convey their wants to God, but in some sense they convey God’s help back to us.

AB Simpson

Every Kind of Prayer

We are learning to craft our prayers from the Scriptures we are reading, and rejoicing in the beauty of God’s truth, the way it turns our full attention on Who He Is and the power of His Word spoken into each other’s lives. And sometimes we find that when our own spirits are dry and we can’t find the words to say, it is hearing the prayers of our fellow travelers that stirs us, lifts us up into God’s presence. So thankful for the Family of God, and I can hear the Church-planter reminding us again: “Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)

Today this beautiful lyrical prayer is running through my head…

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God
From the need to be understood
And from a need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God
And I shall not want, no, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness, I shall not want
From the fear of serving others
Oh, and from the fear of death or trial
And from the fear of humility
Deliver me O God
Yes, deliver me O God
And I shall not want, no, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
No, I shall not want, no, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
I shall not want
I shall not want

Audrey Assad

His Answers

Savoring this wisdom today, and seeing the truth of it working out all around me in this bent world. Because the Savior who came to give us new hearts is making all things new, for our good and His everlasting glory…

And yes, we pray for healing, and we know that by His stripes we are already healed in eternal ways. We pray for restoration, and we know that by His mercy we know complete restoration and no condemnation. And we pray for more time, and we know that by His grace, we have been given time that goes beyond all time.
The miracle that always happens in prayer happens in the most important place: the heart.
Prayer isn’t so much about outcomes, but about us coming much closer to God.

Ann VosKamp


Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:34-39

When You Call My Name

Originally published on January 8, 2015.

By the end of the day it feels like a tangible knot inside…that growing heap of small worries and what-ifs, the prickling irritations of things gone wrong, the ruffled feathers of getting along, and the nagging list of tasks left undone. Each one wasn’t much at the time, and I told myself that I could handle it, press on, deal with it all some other day (or maybe it will go away on its own if I can ignore it long enough). But even tiny snowflakes can add up to an avalanche, and by evening that pile of little things is enough to crush the heart of a person. And Jesus’ words come in a whisper, clearly and persistently: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) He calls through the noise and the motion, like someone standing on the doorstep knocking, until suddenly I stop to wonder why I would want to ignore this weight of living, when Jesus is telling me to bring it to Him? And how often have I soldiered on, trying my best to manage, when He is offering rest?

I know that Jesus is holding out God’s grace and forgiveness, as a release from the weight of trying to measure up to impossible standards of holiness. I understand that a rabbi’s “yoke” was the sum of his teachings, and that Jesus was calling us to a new way of living, inviting us to follow Him: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” But here at the beginning of a new study group, as we read and focus on prayer, it sinks in that He means it quite literally, as well. Come. Just come here and let it go, dear Child. Every day. Give up anything that is too heavy for you, and let Someone Bigger carry it, and then you can rest.

Knowing He is with me is not the same as addressing Him personally. Believing He can help me is not the same as asking Him for help. And knowing He cares is not the same as giving up my burdens to Him and resting in His love. What I know has to move me to action, if my life is truly going to change. Not sure why I so often fail to take that necessary step towards Him, though I feel sure it has something to do with the Enemy’s battle plan to distract us from God’s greatness.So I bow my head right there, in the middle of running from one thing to the next, and I tell Jesus about every one of those small weighty things, put into words why they trouble me and ask Him to take care of each one. And suddenly it is easier to breathe.


On my bed I remember You;
    I think of You through the watches of the night.
 Because You are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of Your wings.
 I cling to You;
    Your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:6-8


If you have not much time at your disposal, do not fail to profit by the smallest portions of time which remain to you. We do not need much time in order to love God, to renew ourselves in His Presence, to lift up our hearts towards Him, to worship Him in the depths of our hearts, to offer Him what we do and what we suffer.

Francois de la Mothe Fenelon