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MY PRAYER: Father,
In my pain and anguish,
When my heart was broken,
And I thought darkness would overwhelm me,
I felt lost and all alone, but I wasn’t.
Despite how I felt, You were there with me,
Diligently working in my heart—
Stripping me of all of my pretense,
Stripping me of all of my arrogance,
Stripping me of all of my self-serving ways—
Each of which has made my life a wasteland.
Although I am Your child, I had no awareness
Of the direction You intended for me to follow.
My only concern has been obtaining relief from pain,
But Your goals have been consistently greater than mine.
I thought my anguish would never end—
That I would never smile at the future—
But I was wrong about that, as well.
I expressed the self-serving desires of my heart
And asked You repeatedly to grant them,
But You never would, which grieved me deeply.
What I have gained through my loss, though,
Has had more value than I could have imagined.
Out of the abyss, You have raised me up.
You have placed my feet on solid, immovable rock.
You have strengthened me with power
In the inner man—at the core of my being.
No longer fearful or timid, I am resolute and confident.
Instead of being apprehensive, I remain calm and sane.
It is all because You have changed my heart—
Transforming my perspective about what has value.
Without Your loving, consistent care,
I would never have learned my lessons
And would have been destined to repeat my mistakes
Over and over again, like an unreasoning animal,
Rather than like a man—the child of a King.
Refusing to allow my life to be destroyed by dissipation,
You reached into the pit—into the quagmire—
Into the emotional carnage of my dysfunction
And redeemed me, providing me with a future
That is filled with hope and purpose,
Amen.
—Jack Watts
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MY PRAYER: Father,
You know my troubles like no other,
And You understand each of my difficulties.
You know that sometimes I become
So fearful that my skin grows cold,
And it feels like I can hardly breathe.
My countenance shrinks and I feel helpless.
I’m afraid of so many things.
I’m afraid of people and of being alone,
Of never experiencing happiness again,
Of not having enough income to survive.
Father, it seems like the list never ends.
I feel parallelized, and I lack the resolve
To move forward—to deal with life on life’s terms.
I need You now, Father, more than ever.
Help me. Be my strength, when I am weak.
Be my fortress, when my world crumbles.
I cannot rely on anyone but You.
At times, I’m fearful that You don’t really care—
That You are not interested in helping me.
I want to be strong and confident,
But I am not, and I know that I am not.
I acknowledge this as one of my shortcomings.
Just for today, help me put one foot in front of the other.
I have nothing to sustain me but my confidence in You,
Which I admit is often tenuous and very fragile,
Amen.
Jack Watts

MY PRAYER: Father,
I feel so broken and despondent.
My body withers in despair and anguish,
Consumed with tormenting, painful stress,
And I have a sense of hopelessness,
Which I fear will become overwhelming.
When will my travails abate?
I wander aimlessly, without purpose,
Without hope, without understanding—
Devoid of any joy or pleasure derived from life,
Which was once mine in abundance.
My grief is ever before me,
Reminding me of my loss,
Robbing me of sleep,
Increasing my sorrow,
Telling me that I have failed.
Others console me by saying,
“It all has a purpose.”
My friends want to fix me and to lift
The grief and despair from my heart.
But they cannot; nothing seems to help.
Nothing seems to ease my pain—nothing at all.
I can pretend to comprehend, to understand,
To grasp the lessons I am being taught,
But I do not. I don’t understand at all.
My heart is broken, perhaps beyond repair,
And I fear that it will never mend.
I may never laugh or be joyful again.
In my despair, in my hopelessness,
I cry out to You, begging You for relief.
You hear, but You do not answer—not a whisper.
I beseech You. I moan, whine, and beg,
But You allow my pain to continue,
Each day—long into the night.
Rescue me, Lord; rescue me quickly.
Place Your healing hand on my broken heart,
And make me whole once again.
Teach me my painful lessons so that
I need never replicate them.
I know how much pain I have caused.
My behavior is a constant, never-ending grief.
Take that, which is broken and shattered in me,
And mend it so thoroughly that I will be
Whole, resilient, and more productive than ever.
Allow my sadness to become a distant memory.
Strengthen me so that I can stand firm and
Bless Your name with joy and gladness,
Amen.
Jack Watts

RECOVERY: In our society, we are repeatedly told to look at the glass as being half full, but doing so is frequently impossible. Often, the glass is nearly empty. For millions, grief and heartache are their daily portions in life. There are times when all a person can do is put one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, they can’t even do that effectively.
For people like these, to view the glass as half full would be delusional. They would have to deny the reality of their daily lives to do so, which many are unwilling to do. So, they grind out their lives, one day after the other, coping with depression, despair, and hopeless foreboding the best way they know how.
Living life on life’s terms isn’t easy. This is why people drink, drug, and enable those who do. People self-medicate to ease the pain of their stressful, debilitating emotions. For a while this strategy is effective, but eventually it stops working. When it does, the original problem remains unresolved, but the addict ends up having to deal with an additional problem as well—alcoholism and/or drug addiction.
When people, who have become trapped by their addictions, hit bottom and have nowhere to turn, this is when they need God more than ever. It’s also when prayer becomes more important to them than at any other time in their lives.
We live in stressful times. Just when we think we have everything under control, with events going our way, the rug can get pulled out from under our feet. When this happens, addictive people are tempted to return to drinking or drugging. Sometimes, the compulsion is overwhelming. Living like this isn’t what you want for your life, and it isn’t what God wants for you either.
—Jack Watts

MY PRAYER: Father,
Nothing is how I planned it to be,
As I thought it would be,
As I believed it was promised by You.
Perhaps my aspirations were nothing more
Than my own self-serving, wishful thinking,
But the despair from my failure is real.
Nothing could be more real
Than how brokenhearted I am,
Knowing that my life didn’t have
To unfold the way that it has.
As a youth, when I turned my life,
My will, my heart, and my purpose
Over to You for Your safekeeping,
I believed I would experience nothing but abundance,
Carefree living, and smooth sailing, but this
Has certainly not been my experience—not even close.
It seems like I have failed at each turn,
With everything I have chosen to do.
Even worse, when I’ve needed You the most,
It seems like You have become more distant than ever.
My enemies delight at my misfortune.
The pain from their sharp, demeaning remarks never abates.
Each one stings, crushing my soul and wounding my spirit,
While derailing my resolve to become strong and purposeful.
Those I’ve trusted have used and misused me,
Rejecting me without cause—never casting a backward glance.
Like a fool, I never fathomed what was happening.
As I recoiled from my wounds, filled with despair,
I called upon You, but You were nowhere to be found.
I didn’t want to fail, Father, but I have.
I know I have, and I can’t change the past or what has occurred.
My history is what it is, and it will always remain so.
Many doors have now been closed to me,
But my journey is not yet complete.
Other opportunities will eventuate, but unless
You teach me through my mistakes,
I will never learn my lessons. Instead, I will be doomed
To replicate my errors and remain devoid of discernment.
Help me gain wisdom from my current situation, Father,
Because I don’t want to be in this hopeless, tortured position again,
Amen.
—Jack Watts

MY PRAYER: Father,
I’m praying because I know I should,
Not because it is heartfelt.
I can do things for myself.
I always have—always will.
I don’t need Your help—not really.
“Bring it on,” is my motto.
In my heart, this is how I feel—
At least, more often than not.
I’m certainly not trying to hurt anybody,
But I really don’t trust people either—
Not even You, Lord, not even You.
As I grit my teeth obstinately,
With insolence and arrogance,
I convince myself that I can handle anything.
Then, You allow adversity to have full reign over me,
Shaking me at the core of my existence.
Defiantly, I fight You each step of the way,
Refusing to learn the lessons I am being taught.
My headstrong attitude defines who I am.
Undaunted by my inflexibility,
You increase the pressure on me,
And I wince and whine at the discomfort,
But I will not yield—not yet.
I still have too much fight left in me.
I cannot submit; I will not submit!
Then, You double the pressure, redoubling it again.
Finally, when I can stand no more,
I break—just a little and, in my bewildered distress,
I cry out, “Why me, Father? What have I done?”
As if completely innocent, I whine, “Why is this happening?”
Revealing Your purpose, You allow me to recognize
Just how much my world required shaking.
Finally, coming to the end of my intransigence,
I acknowledge what I should have earlier.
Your will, and not my self-indulged will, is what I need.
Do with me as You please, Lord, I finally acknowledge,
For You are Almighty God, and I am not,
Amen
Jack Watts

 

MY PRAYER: Father,

I feel so broken and beaten,

So abused, rejected, and abandoned.

I never thought my life would be like this,

But I was wrong—dead wrong.

In spite of everything, You have been there,

Standing beside me in my darkest hours,

Even when I wanted You to leave me alone.

Things have been difficult for a long time,

But I’m tired of rehashing my pain and my angst.

I want more from life than being a perpetual victim.

 

Help me learn my lessons, which have been so painful,

So that I never have to repeat them again.

I don’t want to waste my years replicating foolishness.

Turn my imprudence into discernment,

So that I may gain wisdom and others can profit

From my experiences—just as I have.

In all of my broken places, heal me, Father,

With Your tender, loving, and caring hand,

Because I am ready to move forward,

Free from each of my enslavements and debilitations,

Amen.