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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.


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

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.

SALT & LIGHT: In a dusty field on a dairy farm outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1934, a group of men met for a day of prayer. Their corporate plea to Almighty God was that He would raise up someone from Charlotte to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. The dairy farm belonged to the Graham family and, at that time, Billy Graham was an unsaved lad of fifteen.
Two years later, Billy invited Christ into his heart and the rest is history. Now, as Billy Graham is being laid to rest, his time on earth has passed but his influence for Christ has not.
Eighty-four years later, nobody remembers who those nameless, faceless men were who assaulted the Throne of God on behalf of North Carolina and the entire world. What they did has long been forgotten by nearly everybody, but the power of their prayer changed the course of history. Millions have been introduced to Christ because of the seed planted by these godly men.
Despite experiencing want and poverty during the Great Depression, they did not simply think of themselves or of how bleak the future looked for them. They also thought of the millions who were enduring depravation without the comfort that comes from knowing the love of their Eternal Father in Heaven.
Today, our post-modern world is much different than the agrarian lifestyle of those farmers in 1934, but our mandate remains the same—exactly the same. As Christians, we have the same power and authority these men possessed, and when we are unified, the power of our corporate prayer has the capacity to rock Heaven and earth—just like theirs prayers did.
This is why I write what I write and post so often about taking back our nation from the godless Progressives. When we are united—in one mind and spirit—as we bow our knees together on behalf of the nation we love so dearly, we can move mountains and return America to the beliefs that once made us so strong. Just know that we are on the move and that nothing in Heaven or on earth can stop us, when we are pursuing the will of Almighty God, and that is exactly what we are doing.
—Jack Watts

PRAYER: When God says, “No!”


MY PRAYER: Father,
I’ve wanted relationships and possessions
That You have not intended for me to have.
I have wanted them so badly that
I’ve come before You repeatedly—
Pleading, begging, whining, and carping—
Beseeching You to grant my desires.
But all You have done is say, “No.”
Refusing to accept Your answer as final,
I have continued my relentless badgering,
Insisting that You make my will be Your own.
In my willfulness and stubbornness, I maintained
That right was wrong, and wrong was right,
While deceiving myself into actually believing
My purposes were noble, honorable, and altruistic.
In my foolishness, I have done my best
To convince myself that my way has been righteous,
But You remained unmoved, refusing to acquiesce.
Still unwilling to accept Your will over my own,
I manipulated events until frustration
And exhaustion finally overwhelmed me,
But You never budged or wavered in Your decision.
 
Now, at the end of all my peevish fretting,
I bow my knee and accept Your decision.
“No” it is, and “No” it shall be forevermore.
There are still parts of me that regret this,
But You are Almighty God, and I am not.
Now that I have resubmitted myself
To Your leadership, rather than to my own,
I have begun to view my situation differently.
No longer reluctant to be submissive, I acknowledge
That Your way is superior to my own,
Which I should have done from the beginning,
Amen.
 

BILLY GRAHAM—SECOND STORY: Although placed in the fictional setting of my novel, I was on the platform sitting thirty feet away from Billy Graham, during one of his Crusade events at the L.A. Coliseum. I was the guest of Cliff Barrows and Johnny Lenning. Here’s the story:
 
The summer following our meeting in Minneapolis, to show their appreciation for all I had done, when Billy Graham held his Crusade in L.A., Johnny Lenning and Cliff Barrows invited me to attend. I sat on the platform, right next to the huge podium, where the religious leaders, movie stars, pro jocks, and choir sat—just a few feet away from Billy Graham.
 
Seeing the mass of humanity at the L.A. Coliseum was as exciting as it was surreal. I listened to every word Billy spoke to the spiritually hungry crowd. When he finished and asked people to come forward, I was disappointed and thought that few would respond. To me, his address was weak—rambling aimlessly from one point to another. It seemed like he had just thrown it together, spending very little time in preparation.
 
Finally, a few people came forward—followed by a few more. Then hundreds came—followed by an avalanche of penitents who made their way up front. In all, at least 7,000 people came forward that night.
 
Johnny turned to me and said, “I knew this would be a strong showing. Billy was really good tonight.”
 
I was shocked but nodded my head in agreement—as I watched multitudes made their way forward.
 
As I watched the sea of humanity respond from my elevated position, I actually saw my ex-wife making her way forward with tears streaming down her face. I could not have been more surprised. At first, I couldn’t believe it was really Barbara. During our marriage, she had never shown the least bit of interest in spiritual things—not once.
 
Seeing the sorrow on her face, I was deeply touched and started to cry myself, but I didn’t want her to see me. I didn’t even know she was in L.A. She didn’t know I was there either. We hadn’t spoken for several months, although someone told me she had recently experienced a nasty break up with her jealous, possessive boyfriend—one that necessitated a restraining order. Hearing this didn’t surprise me, but I was relieved she was rid of him. He was nothing but trouble, and I knew it.
 
To remain unnoticed, I moved behind the choir, as they accompanied George Beverly Shea, who sang the chorus, “Just as I am,” while thousands continued to come forward. Standing behind them made me less visible, while also putting me in the midst of the music, which I had come to love. Barbara came within twenty feet of me, but she never noticed me.
 
This was her time with God, and I knew it. It had nothing to do with me. I didn’t want to interfere in any way, which would have been inappropriate. Nevertheless, I was deeply touched to witness the mother of my children putting her life in the hands of Almighty God—accepting Christ as her personal Savior. Who wouldn’t be moved by something as tender as this?
 
As I drove away several hours later in my rental car, having stayed until nearly everybody left, I internalized a valuable lesson—one I’ve never forgotten. A Bible verse kept racing through my mind; “When I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself.” That’s what happened at the Coliseum. God did the drawing—not the persuasiveness or eloquence of the messenger. It’s never the other way around.
 
Billy Graham lifted up the Lord, and the people came—thousands of them—including the only woman I had ever truly loved. His eloquence had nothing to do with people’s responses. He told the audience God loved them and wanted a relationship with each one of them—nothing more. It was the only thing he did well, but it was the key to everything that followed. Once again, I started to cry, which was hazardous, since I was driving 70 mph. on Highway 101, but I couldn’t help myself.
 
I also realized something else. In my bitterness about Catholicism, I had failed to provide the spiritual leadership my family needed to survive, leaving a terrible void in the process. Barbara used Jeffrey to fill that empty space. Acknowledging that I was more culpable in our divorce than I had ever been willing to admit, I continued to cry, purifying my soul as I drove. I knew that before getting involved with another woman, I needed to work on becoming a stronger spiritual leader. If I didn’t, I would end up with another mess on my hands instead of what I truly desired.
 
As I reminisced about that evening in L.A. hundreds of times throughout the years, I came to realize something else. When ministries present nothing but the Gospel, wonderful things happen. When they “promote” Christ, nothing good comes from it. In fact, all hell breaks loose—literally. Lifting Christ up works—pushing Jesus doesn’t. This may seem like it’s just a subtle difference, but it isn’t. It is an entirely different thing.
 
Jack Watts
 
FEET OF CLAY: Available at B&N, Amazon, and http://mcgeeandme.net/books/feet-of-clay