Heavenly Father,

We live in a world with unprecedented uncertainties, a world turned upside down and inside out by leaders who reject to follow Your teachings and truths. Yet, in spite of the turmoil and tragedies that surround us, we find comfort in our knowledge and understanding of Your unending love and never-ending faithfulness, Your peace and power, Your plan and Your purposes for Your Kingdom and our lives.

Although we do not know what may be before us, we do know without any doubt that You are in us, with us, by us, and for us. And, we can be certain of this fact because of the countless promises in Your Word that repeatedly remind us of Your loyalty to those who love You and are obedient to Your eternal truths and teachings. Thank You, Father, for this assurance!

On the other hand, Father, we admit that we are only human – reminded of our past failures and nagging fears, our pursuit of self-interests and worldly ambitions, our endless attraction to things that vanish when Your light appears to lead us. Too often our minds and hearts are overflowing with goals that would defeat and destroy us if it were not for Your attention to us as individuals who desperately need Your grace and goodness and guidance.

So, in this moment of reflection, we ask Your Holy Spirit to penetrate our thoughts and disrupt our peace until we recognize and accept our need to surrender our lives to You. May we strive to love You, honor You, please You, and obey Your Word, for only then can we be assured that all will be well - knowing that You will protect us and take care of us – no matter what!

In Jesus’ Name and for His glory we pray, Amen.
A young boy was sitting on the roof of his home watching his father repair a leak in the shingles. Not realizing the steep pitch of the roof, he began to inch his way upward and suddenly started to slide downward. Realizing the danger of his situation, he shouted, “O God, help me I’m in trouble and I’m going to fall to my death!”
Suddenly his jeans became snagged on a nail and he stopped sliding. Looking upward he said, “Thank you God, I’m all right now!”
Who do you call upon when you are suddenly faced with a life-threatening situation? We often have a loved one whom we can call upon in a moment’s notice. Most of us are blessed with a few faithful friends who respond immediately in times of disaster. But, when we are suddenly and without warning faced with what appears to be an imminent disaster, what are we to do?
Fortunately, our God has promised us that we will never face any adversity alone. Again and again, His Word assures us that He is ready, willing, able and wanting to rescue us when we are in trouble. He is always alert, awaiting our call and anxious to respond.PrayerFather, we are grateful for Your promise that we can always “call upon You in the day of trouble.” Help us to trust in the greatness of Your goodness and grace In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Psalm 50:15 Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.
Mary Jane was snuggling down in bed when her mother entered her room. “Did you pray before getting in bed?”
“Well, kind of,” was her reply.
“Kind of?” asked her Mom. “What does that mean?”
“Well, I started to pray and my list was the same as it was yesterday and the day before that. So I decided to tell Jesus the story about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. And you know what, Mom? I think He enjoyed it!”
The attitude of the Psalmist was very different from Mary Jane’s: “May my cry come before You, Lord; give me understanding according to Your Word.” Not only was he intense and sincere, he was passionate and purposeful!
He did not speak to God in a still, soft voice. On this occasion he literally “cried” to God requesting a “direct audience.” He wanted his prayer to go directly to Him!
Obviously, he must have known that there were certain conditions that he would have to meet. He must have been aware of this. What would hinder his prayers?
1. Disobedience: We get what we ask for if we are obedient. John wrote we “receive what we ask for because we keep His commandments.” (1 John 3:22)
2. Doubt: When we ask for food, we need to have a container available to carry it home. “Whatever you ask for, if you believe you will receive.” (Mark 11:24)
3. Disagreement: We must ask for things that are consistent with His nature. “Ask in my name.” (John 16:32)
God hears our cries if we meet His criteria!
Prayer: Help us, Father, to align our requests with Your requirements and live within Your will for our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 119:169 May my cry come before you, Lord; give me understanding according to your word.
One of my childhood memories is standing for great lengths of time while certain people prayed long, boring prayers. I remember asking God more than once if there was not something more important for Him to do than to listen to Mr. “whatever his name was.” Occasionally I would put my fingers over my eyes, slightly spread two of them apart and then look around to see what everyone was doing. Most of them, if I recall correctly, were slightly shifting their weight from one foot to the other trying not to disturb the person standing next to them.
It was later in life that I discovered length was not all that important when we pray. It is our sincerity and the purpose of our prayers that gets God’s attention.
Perhaps Psalms 117 was included in the Bible to make this point. It is a prayer of praise written by an unknown author. Notice also that it begins with an invitation to the Gentiles to “Laud Him” - the “Lord.” The Psalmist wants everyone to know that everyone is invited to worship Yahweh.
And after the invitation the Psalmist gives a reason for this special call to worship: “For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.” Then he shouts in gratitude: “Praise the Lord.”
The Psalmist made a special effort to announce the fact that all nations are included in this call to worship. It is echoed in the words of Jesus: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Prayer: We thank You, Father, for Your great love and faithfulness that is limitless, all inclusive and everlasting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 117 Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Jennifer never met a stranger. No matter where she was or who she met, she always made friends quickly.
Once when traveling on a train, she became bored and decided to walk down the aisle and chat with the folk who were traveling with her. Smilingly she went from seat to seat greeting the passengers. Everyone wanted to know who she was and who she was traveling with. Without any notice, the train entered a tunnel and darkness filled the passenger car before the bright lights came on. Little Jennifer ran down the aisle shouting, “Help, Mom! Where are you? I need you!” Standing in the aisle her mother reached out to her, hugged her and said, “It’s O.K. I’m right here with you, Jennifer. Don’t be afraid.”
When things are going well and we are surrounded by prosperity, it is difficult to admit that we need anyone’s help. But when the “lights go out,” we all tend to run to someone who we believe can help us.
There author of Psalm 116 was going through a dark and difficult time in his life. Things looked dismal. He was overcome with trouble and sorrow. “Then,” he wrote, “I called on the name of the Lord; O Lord, Save me!”
In four simple words he said everything that needed to be said. There was no time for formalities and no need for any particular posture. Problems erupted. Help was needed. God was listening. Problem solved!
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Length is not part of the equation. Sincerity and righteousness are what makes prayer powerful.
Prayer: Lord, we have ample advice on how to pray. What we need is to live righteous lives and want Your help! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 116:4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!”
Tina and Sue, five-year-old twins, were saying their prayers before crawling into bed. Sue prayed first, and as she was about to end her prayer, said, “Don’t leave just yet, Lord, Tina has something to add.”
The Psalmist assured us that our God will always be there when we need Him. “Because He turned His ear to me,” he wrote, “I will call on Him as long as I live.” God is waiting to do His part but we must be willing to do ours.
An important element in prayer is companionship. We must keep company with God. Charles Spurgeon, who was considered the “Prince of Preachers,” put it this way: “Not an hour passes during my day but that I am in conscious communion with my Lord.” Prayer, to him, was as important as breathing: He could not live without it.
When we pray we are in communication with God. There are two parts in effective communication: sending and receiving. Unfortunately, for many, prayer is a one-way operation: sending. We are anxious, often driven, when things are bad, to go to God in prayer. We send our needs to Him because we know He “turns His ear to us.” But we must also “tune our ear” to Him by spending time with Him in His Word. The writer of Psalm 119 said that His Word is a “lamp to my feet and a light for our path.” When we read His Word we allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts, open our minds and find answers to the needs we take to God in prayer.
For our prayers to be effective we must stay as close to God as we do with our best friend: we talk - we listen.
Prayer: Lord, may we become as attentive to Your voice as You are to ours. May we walk close to You each day. In Jesus’ Name.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 116:2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
“Prayer,” said the anthropologist, “is a universal behavior.” He continued his remarks by saying, “No matter where I have traveled or who I have talked to, everyone seems to need someone who is ‘bigger’ than they are. Everybody needs somebody when they have a problem they can’t solve or are faced with a sickness that won’t go away. Prayer seems to be a big part of everyone’s soul.”
The people that the researcher talked about prayed because they needed help. They faced certain situations that were beyond their ability to change - so they prayed. Of course we wonder what may have happened when they prayed or if it made any difference in their lives. We’ll never know. It’s sad, however, to think that most people who pray do not know whether or not the one they are praying to is listening to their cries or can do anything about their needs.
One Psalmist, however, has good news about prayer. “I love the Lord because He heard my voice. He heard my cry for mercy.” Twice, in one sentence, the Psalmist said that when he prayed his God heard him. Not only did his God hear his voice and his cry for mercy but his God met his every need! What a great, gracious God we worship.
The God of Christians is responsive to the needs of Christians. We can always reach our God if we reach out to Him. Our God willingly “bends down to listen” to our prayers - meaning that He is always nearby waiting for our voice and willing to “hear our cry for mercy.”
No wonder the Psalmist said, “I love the Lord!”
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for always being nearby as You wait anxiously to hear the voice of Your children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 116:1-2 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
Reading the Psalms to discover their meaning takes time. Reading them rapidly often makes them sound repetitious or unintelligent. Take for example the words, “But You, O Sovereign Lord, deal well with me for Your name’s sake; out of the goodness of Your love, deliver me.”
In this brief, one sentence prayer David recognizes several critical elements of prayer. The first one is that our God is sovereign. As our “sovereign” He rules and reigns over our lives as the Ultimate Authority. He is the Guard and Guardian over anything and everything that pertains to us or may have power over us and thereby is our personal protector and provider. Whatever invades our lives is there because He allows it to be there - and if things were to be different from the way they are, they would be.
And if it is “in” our lives, it is “in” there for His “name’s sake”. In other words, it is consistent with His nature and character and wisdom. God knows what is best for us what is in keeping with the plan He has designed for us. So, we can be sure of His ways, knowing that what He is doing in us, with us and through us is in His best interests to shape us into the likeness of His Son, our Savior and Lord.
“Out of the goodness of Your love, deliver me” gives us the assurance that God will never abandon us but will ultimately deliver us from what we think will destroy us. Whenever we want to give up on God remember that He did not spare His Son from the cross, but was with Him and delivered Him through the pain into His presence.
Prayer: Lord, we accept all things in our lives as a gift from You as You shape us into the likeness of Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 109:21 But you, Sovereign Lord, help me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.

Prayer, for some, is a force that enables them to approach God in worship and wonder or in times of need for the necessities of life. For others, prayer is utter and complete foolishness because they believe it is foolish and a waste of time.
In the life of David, it was a powerful force. Whenever he was hurt by harmful words, received a wound from a battle or had a need that was beyond his limitations he turned to God in prayer. Listen carefully to his words: “I am a man of prayer.”
It is always interesting to listen carefully to someone introduce themselves: “I am a doctor...I am the CEO of...I am a sales representative at...I work for...I am the one who...I set a record by...I am the owner of.” We seem to want others to recognize us for what we have done not who we are.
But with all his power and prestige, wealth and wisdom, David wanted others to recognize him as someone who was completely dependent on God: “I am a man of prayer.”
Prayer was a force in the life of David. As we read his prayer in the Psalms we discover that he had no definite time of prayer, no specific place to pray, no particular position he assumed when he prayed and it seems as though most of the time when he prayed he was alone.
David realized that prayer was a force in his life. It brought forgiveness when he sinned, peace when he was anxious, and victory when he was embattled and constant joy.
Prayer: Father, may we see the need for prayer in our lives when we see the results of prayer in the life of others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 109:4 In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.
Going against God’s will comes naturally. Our wants and God’s needs seem to be at odds with one another. It’s part of our sinful nature that needs our constant attention and never-ending vigilance.
Psalm 107 describes the outcome when we become careless or lax or when we do not struggle to stay close to God. It presents a picture of those who have strayed from God as “sitting in darkness,”...“ in the shadow of death” and being “bound in affliction and in irons.” Here, this “darkness” is what life is like without the Light of God in a person’s life. And we also know that when God is not present and active in our lives death looms large!
This struggle to be obedient and close to and with God is nothing new. Rebellion and self-centeredness began in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. They rejected God’s requirement for them to be obedience and faithful. And when they disobeyed Him, the battle against sin and any desire that anyone would ever have to do what right in the eyes of God began. But the battle to be righteous and the desire to please God are certainly possible.
Notice this reminder from the Psalmist: “They cried to the Lord in their trouble and He saved them from their distress.” Any “trouble” we may have had, are having now or will have in the future is included when anyone at any time from anyplace cries out to God for His deliverance.
Our loving, gracious, merciful and faithful God will never desert us no matter how far we have strayed or how sinful our lives may be. “Call on me and I will answer!”
Prayer: Father, as we enter this year cleanse, forgive and deliver us from all of our sins and restore our joy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 107:13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.
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