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Archive for March, 2018

PRAYER: Choose Gratitude


MY PRAYER: Father,
I am grateful for all that You have done.
I am so honored that You would love me
And would pay attention to my needs.
On my best days, which seem to be rare,
When I am peaceful and tranquil—
When I am confident You are in charge
And that I need not fret or worry—
I acknowledge how truly blessed I am.
Help me live in this truth each day.
Help me show others that You care
And that You are always available.
Let people see by my actions
The depth of my confidence in You;
Let them be convinced Your ways are worthy—
And You are always wise and prudent.
Teach me to refrain from boastful arrogance,
And let the pride of life be far from me.
Do not let this be my witness; Do not allow me
To push those who seek You further away,
Rather than help them draw nearer in time of need.
Teach me to be mindful that whatever I do,
Whether positive or negative, that it reflects on You—
On Your holy name,
Amen.
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MY PRAYER: Father,
You are the Master Architect,
Engineering the events of my life,
Providing an opportunity for me
To rise to the occasion each day of my life.
At times, Your leading seems clear,
While at other times, it seems obscure,
Appearing to be so distant
That I cannot discover or discern it,
Regardless of how hard I try.
Even when Your presence eludes me,
I know that You are there.
You are always guiding me—
Always present, always vigilant.
As my life becomes increasingly visible
And people occasionally look to me for guidance,
Let my life speak of what You have done—
Not by my words, which seem so inadequate,
But by my actions, which are observable by all.
Oh, how I loathe the pompously religious—
Those who are condescending, arrogant, and unyielding.
May I never be like them—like those who talk about
Your love and guidance, while seeking an advantage.
Let my witness be evident by my actions,
And not by my mellifluous words,
Which can be self-serving and serpentine,
Amen.

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MY PRAYER: Father,
When I came to You in my distress,
I wanted You to “make everything better,”
To nurse my bruises like my mother once did,
When I was a little boy and hurt myself,
To tell me that I would be okay and that
My pain would vanish and soon be forgotten.
But this is neither what You did nor what You intended.
Instead, You made it crystal clear that
I could not nurse my wounds in solitude,
Nor take pleasure in the bitter fruit of self-pity.
Instead, You insisted that I “suck it up,”
Stretching me far beyond my comfort zone,
Insisting that I be more open, more vulnerable,
And more honest than I have ever been.
You guided me, leading me to do
The next right thing, regardless of what
The consequences happened to be,
Regardless of the outcome.
Despite my fears and my desire to hide
The exact state of my heart, which I tried
To mask with a disingenuous smile, I obeyed,
Doing the next right thing—one day after another.
Knowing that following Your will was my only option,
Even when being obedient seemed weak and foolish,
I sucked it up and did what I knew to be right—
Time after time, until doing so became natural and easy.
Father, You know the plans You have for me, and I do not.
I cannot see the future nor understand it,
But I know that by following my conscience,
Even when it would have been easier to walk away,
Returning to the false comfort of my vices,
Something of great value has been created within me.
It has now become an integral part of my character,
And I am grateful that You have made me a better person,
Amen.

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PRAYER: Father, Change Me


MY PRAYER: Father,
Now that I have opened myself up completely,
Being as honest and forthright as I know how to be,
I want to ask You, as humbly as I know how,
To change anything in me that You desire.
You are Almighty God; and I am not.
I am weary of trying to walk a path
That has not been ordained by You.
As I continue to purge my soul
Of all the toxic emotions that remain,
I know I need to go one step further.
I need to forgive those who have hurt me,
Absolving them completely from all culpability.
I have nursed my anger and bitterness
For far too long, and I have paid
A heavy emotional price for doing so.
I believed I was punishing them
With my militant refusal to forgive,
But I have been punishing myself instead.
I don’t want to live like this any longer,
Having to pay a huge price for remaining callous.
I forgive them—just as You have forgiven me.
I release them completely—just as You have released me.
Give me the strength to put aside my resentful feelings,
Never picking up these debilitating emotions again.
Allow me to walk into the future completely free
From each of my debilitating and hurtful emotions
That has been so destructive and self-limiting,
Amen.

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MY PRAYER: Father,

As I try to understand Your leading

And the direction You desire for me to follow,

It seems easy enough, but it never is.

I try to predict what You are doing—

What You have in mind for me,

But I never really know what that is.

It seems like I’m constantly in the dark,

And You are never predictable.

Just when I think I understand Your pattern,

You move in a different direction—never returning

To the path I have learned to predict.

All I can do is listen to Your gentle whisper,

Which guides me toward my destiny.

Sometimes, I wish it were easier to be certain—

To know exactly where You are headed,

And what the outcome of following You will be,

But that is not my role—not my lot in life.

 

My job is to be keen and vigilant,

As You guide me through life’s circumstances,

Always pointing me toward higher ground,

Steadfastly focusing on Your predetermined purpose.

Having walked this road with You for a while,

I know You can be trusted completely.

This is all I need to know to sustain me,

But I wish I knew more. It’s what I always want,

Amen.

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RECOVERY: About fifteen years ago, I received some particularly difficult news and was badly shaken by it. I can’t even remember what it was, but it probably involved a romantic relationship. I was in Nashville at the time and decided to go to a meeting. Because of my situation, I chose to go to an Alanon meeting, rather than to AA.
 
When I arrived, there were only five people attending, and they weren’t very engaging. Because I was so crushed, I spoke up and unloaded on those poor people for a solid five minutes. As small as the group was, I wasn’t hogging the time.
 
When I was finished, as is so often the case at Alanon, nobody responded for quite a while. This made me feel particularly awkward, as it always does. Finally, a guy spoke up. He said, “I am so envious of you, I can’t stand it. I really am.”
 
Stunned, I replied, “Envious of me? Why in the world would you be envious of me?”
 
Without hesitation, he replied, “Because you can still feel.”
 
His response pierced me to the core, but it also taught me a valuable lesson—one I have never forgotten. Regardless of what happens, regardless of how difficult a situation may be, regardless of how devastated you are,if you choose to be grateful, you will never regret it in the long run, and you will grow from the experience.
 
Somebody needs this tonight. I know it. It’s why I wrote the story.
 
Jack Watts

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MY PRAYER: Father,
When You want my attention,
You know how to get it.
There are times when I feel
Like You aren’t really there,
Like You don’t really care,
Like my life has little meaning, purpose, or value.
Then, through my circumstances,
You shake me to the core, and I am undone.
This is when You begin Your relentless pruning.
At first, I don’t recognize what is happening,
And I cry out, ”Why me, Lord?”
I don’t like what is happening—not one bit,
So I resist Your efforts to make me
Into the person You intend for me to be.
I want to be Your favored child,
Strong, resourceful, and victorious,
But I want it to come easily, with little effort.
This never happens, of course, not for me anyway.
So, I chafe when You prune my immature ways,
Being precise in Your determined efforts
To change me from the inside out.
When I recognize what is occurring,
I bow me knee and acknowledge,
That Your hand has been hard on me,
But Your purpose has never wavered.
When You have finished, You seem pleased
With what You have pruned, knowing that
I will become stronger, more fruitful person
From each of Your efforts,
Amen.

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