Prayer from Colossians

A prayer for another believer:

Father, thank you for the faith that n. has in Christ Jesus. Thank you for the love he has shown to God’s people and for the hope he has in heaven. Fill n. with knowledge of your will for his life. Give him wisdom and spiritual understanding. Empower him to live a life worthy of the Lord. May he please your Son in every way. Make him fruitful in good words, and grow him in his knowledge of you. Strengthen n. so that he may endure patiently the challenges in his life. Fill him with joy, and let him give thanks to you for bringing him into your kingdom of light. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

From Colossians 1:3-5; 1:9-13

Jeremiah 10:17-25

Scripture: Jeremiah 10:17-25

“I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die” (Jeremiah 10:23-24, NLT).


It’s very human to want to see people get what’s coming to them. Jeremiah had been beaten, imprisoned, slandered, and left to die in a pit. Yet as the invaders approach (v.22), Jeremiah feels his people’s pain (v.19-20). He laments the poor leadership that brought the people to this tragedy (v.21). Yet Jeremiah prays for his people as though their problem was his own (v.23-24). He asks God to divert his wrath to their enemies (v.25).


How do I respond to people whose lives have been shipwrecked by their own choices? Do I stand apart, silently chastising, “you reap what you sew”? Or do I bear their burden and bring it before the Lord? Do my prayers reflect my justification of myself like the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable (Luke 18:9-14)? Or do I acknowledge my own need for correction and dependence on God’s grace? Am I willing to give time and resources to meet their needs?


Father, thank you for the grace and love you have lavished on me. Teach me to extend your grace and love to those whose lives are in chaos. Forgive me when I substitute judgment for compassion. Move me from self-righteous inaction to passionate prayer. Direct my thoughts and actions that I may be a true ambassador of your Son. In whose name I pray, Amen.

Jeremiah 10:1-16

Scripture: Jeremiah 10:1-16

“But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the Creator of everything that exists, including Israel, his own special possession. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!” (Jeremiah 10:16, NLT).


Among this denunciation of idolatry, Jeremiah offers God high praise. Unlike an idol of gold-covered wood, the Lord speaks to Israel (v.1). Idols are toted for they have no power, but even God’s name has power (v.5,6). Wooden idols are crafted by men, but God created the heavens and the earth (v.16). Idols have no help to give, but God preserves the earth by his wisdom (v.12). Seeking an idol’s help is futile, but the Lord of Heaven’s Armies can defend the people he has made his special inheritance (v.16).


It’s easy to laugh at Jeremiah’s description of people bowing down to and seeking counsel from a chunk of wood they’ve made into a god. Yet my idols—the things I’ve created to give me advice, help, and power—are just as laughable. How frustrated God must be when I consult self-help books rather than pray for his Spirit’s enlightenment of his Word. How useless are bank accounts, retirement funds, and insurance in the face of real tragedy. How powerless I remain when I use my own resources rather than ask for the Creator’s powerful intervention.


Father, thank you that are God alone. There is none like you! Forgive me for turning to what I have created and prized instead of to you. Draw me deeper into yourself, and make me your special possession. Prompt me to come to you, powerful loving God, who can change my heart, my life, and my world. Keep me steadfast in my dependence on you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jeremiah 9:15-26

Scripture: Jeremiah 9:15-26

“But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 9:24, NLT).

God reveals to Jeremiah a horrible picture of the coming death, destruction, and desolation of the ancient residents of Jerusalem (v.15-22). God allows this punishment by the Babylonian invaders because they honored God’s covenant only in their bodies (circumcision), but not in their hearts (v.25,26). Their riches, power, and wisdom will be of no help to them (v.23). The only ones left standing will be those who who know God and understand his delight in unfailing love, justice, and righteousness (v.24).


Hearts-In-Heart-Rejuvenated-11-No-Background-300pxTo know God involves understanding who he is and in what he delights. In these verses, God identifies himself as LORD, covenant-making Yahweh, “I am.” God delights in those who enter into covenant with him and bring forth his attributes. When I am in covenant, I am motivated by unfailing love, the correct impulse. I also view others with justice, correct judgment, according all people compassion and honor for Christ died for us all. My life also displays righteousness, correct actions, prompted by God’s Spirit in me. Outward signs of the covenant (baptism, communion, Scripture reading, gathering with believers) have their place in my life. Yet only my heart changed and shaped by God’s covenant of love through Jesus will endure.


Father, thank you for your unfailing love. Forgive my stubborn ways of relying on my own wisdom, strength, and resources. Draw me deeper into covenant with your Son. Transform my heart. May it beat at the impulse of your love, honoring others as those for whom your Son has died. Let my actions be prompted by your Spirit and bring honor to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jeremiah 9:2-14

Jeremiah 9:2-14

“My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot out lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. They only go from bad to worse. They do not know me,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 9:3, NLT).


pinocchioprofile-300pxAll sin involves a lie, that is, that we can say and do what we want without repercussions. Much like Pinocchio’s growing nose, lying has a sinful progression. It begins when people refuse to stand up for the truth (v.3). Family members use lies to take advantage of each other (v.4). Friends slander one another (v.4) and defraud each other (v.5). People scheme against their neighbors while speaking friendly words (v.8). They become “practiced” at telling lies to the extent they no longer acknowledge God (v.6). The truth of God is abandoned, and his instructions are not obeyed (v.13).


David, in his prayer of repentance, writes that God desires truth in our inmost being. Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life is clear that true worshipers worship in spirit and truth. The apostle Paul warns us to stop telling lies and tell our neighbors the truth. So why is lying so difficult to completely overcome? In what way, could God possibly be served by my playing fast and loose with the truth? As Paul would say, “God forbid”–it’s not possible. Perhaps lies– exaggerations, omissions, excuses, avoidance of truth–come about because of unbelief. Do I really believe that God has redeemed me, taken away my sin and guilt, made me righteous, and is pleased with me? If I don’t, I’m more vulnerable to lying to make myself appear better than I am to myself, to others, and to God. When I cling to truth of His love for me, it’s okay to appear naïve, foolish, ignorant, or incompetent in others’ eyes. Even my sin has a remedy; admitting, apologizing, and seeking forgiveness for it strengthen my relationship with God and others.
Telling others, “I’m a sinner saved by grace,” may be the most life-transforming truth I can share.


Father, forgive my unbelief. Fill me instead with confidence in your redeeming love. Search me and know my heart. Purge me of my lies. Cause truth to dwell in my inmost being. Lead me away from the temptation of lying. Draw me to your Son, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer from Philippians

Father, thank you for calling to mind n. and reminding me of the joy we share as partners in the gospel. Carry to completion the good work which you have begun in n. Increase her knowledge and depth of insight, so that her love may abound more and more. Grant n. the ability to discern what is best. Keep her pure and blameless until the day of Christ. Produce the fruit of righteousness through n. Direct her to prayer, and take away any anxiety. Fill her heart with Your peace which surpasses all understanding. Guard her heart and mind. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
From Philippians 1:3-6; 1:9-11; 4:6-7.

Prayer from Ephesians 6, Full Armor of God

Father, you are mighty. Lend me your strength. Clothe me in your armor. Protect me from evil schemes. Be with me and empower me in my struggles against authorities and powers. Enable me to stand firm on solid ground. Surround my inmost being with Truth. Protect my heart with the breastplate of righteousness, so that it may remain tender and life-giving. Prepare me to advance peace with your good news. Fortify my faith as a shield against the evil one for me and those I love. Recall to my mind your word and guide my hand to handle correctly the sword of the Spirit. Place on my head the helmet of salvation. May my thoughts be your thoughts. Keep me alert and vigilant in prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

From Ephesians 6:10-18

Jeremiah 8:18-9:1

Scripture: Jeremiah 8:18-9:1

“Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?” (Jeremiah 8:22, NLT).


These are rhetorical questions. God is the Great Physician, and his grace is healing medicine. The people have wounded themselves with their worthless religion. Then they let their wounds fester by resisting the prophet’s call to repentance. Healing is unavailable to them because they will not seek the One who heals. Although his people could be redeemed, Jeremiah mourns because they will not turn to the Redeemer and be healed.


Do I mourn the sad estate of those who resist the gospel? These passages call me to greater compassion for the lost and to great hope for their healing. No circumstance, sin, addiction, or depravity is beyond the healing power of the God I serve. Rather than look away or pass judgment, I need to pray. Jesus has promised to draw all people to him through his death (John 12:32). Life can begin with a simple acceptance of his grace.


Father, create in me compassion for your wounded world. Draw my lost friends and family members to you. Forgive me for withdrawing, passing by on the other side, and passing judgment. Fill me instead with courage to share the great hope of your Son’s triumph over sin and his power to heal and to forgive. Thank you for healing and forgiving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jeremiah 8:1-17

Scripture: Jeremiah 8:1-17

“Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path? Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back? They cling tightly to their lies and will not turn around. I listen to their conversations and don’t hear a word of truth” (Jeremiah 8:5-6a, NLT).


Sin is not compatible with truth. Only a religion of lies can pave the way for pursuit of greed, violence, and indifference to others (v.10). Although God’s truth was present through the Law, its message was rejected (v.9). Furthering the lie, the people and their teachers twisted “having God’s word” (v.8) as a sign of God’s favor and promise of peace (v.11). Yet their greed showed that God’s word did not have them. They did not recognize their fallen, lost state (v.4). Although destruction was nearby, they charged further into sin (v.6). They ignored what even the animals knew (v.7)—only in following God’s plan is their safety and help. Soon they would experience the powerlessness of a religion of lies (v.2).


What lies am I clinging to, keeping me on a self-destructive path? What do I falsely point to as evidence that I’m okay when, in fact, I have chosen my way rather than God’s? When God hears my conversations, my prayers, does he hear truth? In what ways do I pursue greed? Am I willing to expose my true condition to God so that He can forgive, heal, and restore me? Or do I look for teachings and ideas which allow me to continue as I am? Do I pretend to be at peace when destruction is about to overtake me?


Father, forgive me for pursuing self-destructive paths. Release my clinging grip from the lies I have used to create distance between us. Draw me back to the Way, and bring the healing you desire to my spirit. Fill me with your Truth; drive out what is false. Let your Word dwell in me. May my conversations and my prayers reflect what is true. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jeremiah 7:16-29

Scripture: Jeremiah 7:16-19

“No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods!” (Jeremiah 7:18, NLT).


Speaking through Jeremiah, God laments the utter corruption of his people. They practice their idolatry openly (v.7). They reject the prophets (v.25). Truth has vanished from them (v.28). Their idolatrous practices involve the whole family (v.18). Their sin is so great, God tells Jeremiah not to pray for them (v.16). Yet God points out that their sin does not harm him, but rather them (v.19). Although he expects no response from his people, God still orders Jeremiah to shout out his warnings (v.27).


Sin corrupts more than the individual sinner. Children see what their parents do and observe their true values. When adults engage in spiritual rituals yet live without personal transformation, they transmit rebellion against God. In essence they proclaim themselves lord of their lives and teach that God’s word can be ignored. Children imbibe this model of following their own desires. As time goes on, truth vanishes, drowned out by the clamor of sinful pursuits. Oral instruction of truth and godliness finds no fertile ground in hearts hardened by selfishness.


Father, thank you for sending your Truth into the world. Thank you that your word continues to warn us of the harm sin brings to our lives. Forgive our rebellion and refusal to turn away from selfish desires. Give us strength to truly repent. Teach us to embrace truth and live holy lives of integrity. May our children and those we encounter see in us your Son who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jeremiah 7:1-15

Scripture: Jeremiah 7:1-15

“But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice” (Jeremiah 7:5, NLT).


This passage shows the progression of once faithful people to apostate evil-doers. It begins with evil thoughts (v.5). Greed demands more. Envy sees others as obstacles to getting more or something to be exploited in order to obtain more. The poor are despised, and their needs and rights ignored (v.6). The call for justice is ignored (v.13). Instead those whose lives are impoverished, disadvantaged, alone, or different are seen as not deserving of consideration. Contempt replaces compassion; exploitation becomes the privilege of those who are safely “blessed” (v.10). Lies replace truth, and what is idolized and desired supplants God himself.


How I think matters greatly to God. God’s merciful pardon of my sins begins with my showing mercy. Common wisdom says, “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything.” Yet God’s justice requires more than refraining from verbalizing hurtful remarks. His justice begins with my responding to his message (v.13). I must allow Christ to change the way I think (Romans 12:2). What I think about others directly influences how I will treat them. I cut myself off from God’s mercy when I fail to show mercy to others for whom Christ has died. Without mercy, I will be left, like the people in Jeremiah, with a hollow, religious observance that God will eventually destroy.


Father, thank you for great mercy toward me. Forgive my evil thoughts about others. Change how I think; give me the mind of Christ. Fill me with consideration and compassion for those whose lives intersect my own. Teach me how to live out your justice. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jeremiah 6:16-30

Scripture: Jeremiah 6:16-30

This is what the Lord says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’” (Jeremiah 6:15, NLT).


Jeremiah reminds the people that there is a way out of their distress. It has been there since ancient times, encoded in the Law which God gave to his people. The Law was good, and its intent was to provide rest (v.16). The people need only walk in the way of the Law—loving God with all their heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5) and their neighbors as themselves (Leviticus 19:18). Jeremiah points out that gifts and sacrifices are not acceptable to God when his Word is rejected (v.19-20).


Like JLeomarc-sign-one-way-1-300pxeremiah, I need to observe and to test the value of the paths before me (v.27). Much of what passes as acceptable practice in our society—our priorities, our values, our attitudes, our world view—does not overlay the one true Way, Jesus. Religious observance is of little value if doesn’t function as signposts to keep me on the right path. Only by following Jesus along the pathway of love do I find rest for my soul.


Father, thank you for inspiring your people to record the godly path in Scripture. Thank you for Jesus, your Son, who is the Way, Truth, and the Life. Set my feet firmly upon his path. Keep me eyes steadfast on him. Forgive me when I stubbornly go my own way. Restrain me from worldly shortcuts. Redirect me when I’ve lost my way. Let your Holy Spirit be my constant Guide. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Prayer from Ephesians

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for blessing us with every spiritual blessing through him. Thank you for choosing us to be your adopted children. Thank for the grace you have lavished upon us, giving us redemption and forgiveness of our sins. Give n. the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so she may know your Son better. Enlighten the eyes of her heart. May she know the hope to which you have called her. Gift her with the riches of Christ’s glorious inheritance. Strengthen her belief; may she rely on your Son’s incomparably great power which is far above all rule and authority, power and dominion. Strengthen n. with that power through Christ’s Spirit in her inner being. May Christ may dwell in her heart through faith. Root and establish n. in love, and may she, together with all the Lord’s holy people, grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and know this love that surpasses knowledge. Fill n. to the measure of all the fullness of God. Together may we give glory to Jesus, who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, Amen.

From Ephesians 1:3-7; 1:15-23; 3:14-21

Prayer from Galatians

Abba, Father, thank you for adopting as your children and for sending your Spirit into our hearts. Thank for making us heirs of your promises. Clothe us with Christ your Son. Enable us to serve one another humbly in love. Fill us with your Spirit so that our lives overflow with love, joy, peace, kindness, and goodness. Empower us to be forbearing, faithful, and gentle to all. Grant us self-control, and put to death our sinful passions and desires. Restrain us from being conceited and from provoking and envying others. Keep us in step with your Spirit, and visit us with your peace and mercy. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us and all our brothers and sisters. Amen.

From Galatians 3:26-27; 4:4-7; 5:13, 22-26; 6:16-18

Prayer from 2 Corinthians

Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, comfort us in all our troubles. Give us patience to endure what distresses us. Grant that we may comfort others with the comfort we have received from you. Firm up our hope in you. Lead us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession. May we spread the knowledge of Jesus everywhere and be to the perishing the pleasing aroma of life and salvation. Make us equal to this task. Bless us abundantly. Supply what we need in all things at all times so that we may abound in every good work. Fill us with the seed of your Word, and enlarge our harvest of righteousness. Enrich us so that we may be generous to all, bringing thanksgiving to you. Enable us to serve your people so that others will also express their thanks. Grant that our confession of your Son’s gospel be confirmed by our obedience in sharing with those in need. Thank you for the indescribable gift of your surpassing grace. Keep us from doing wrong; strengthen us to stand the tests of our lives. Restore us to you and to each other when we fail. Grant us grace to be of one mind, encouraging one another. Let your love and peace be always with us. May the grace of your Son Jesus Christ and the fellowship of your Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.

From 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; 2:14-16; 9:8-15; 13:8-14