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Monday, March 30, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #26: Struggling to Make Him #1...

Dear God, (January 11th, 2008)
What can I say? I was up late last night (I wrote You) so I slept in until 7 and completely missed my chance to meet with You in the early morning. How can I make sure that You’re #1 in my life? I think that for me, it means making sure that I give You my undivided attention in the early part of the day (when it’s quiet) so that I get my heart in the right place at the very start.
But that means I have to make sure to get to bed so that I can get enough sleep before meeting with You, so that I don’t fall asleep. I want to be absolutely sure that You’re #1 priority in my life, Father. Please help me. If I need to cut some things out so that I have more time to spend with You, and serving others, then I will do it. Whatever it takes, I will do it, because I love You and I want to know You more each and every day.
Please, Abba, change my calloused heart. I am so selfish, so unkind. I am not a doer of Your Word, like I should be. I see chances to do right and be kind and help others all the time but I pass them by because "I don’t have time." Well, if I’m too busy to spend time with You; and if I’m too busy to serve others, then I’m too busy. Please, help me get my priorities straight. Please renew my mind, transform me, O Spirit of the Living God. Change my heart. Make me more like Jesus. I need You so much. I love You so much, Father.
Yours Forever,

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #25: Life is SHORT!

Dear God, (January 10th, 2008)
What is my life? I am here, I live, I’m gone. Life is so short. But I want to make my life count. How?
I know that You have a plan and a purpose for my life, but how do I find out what it is? Will I know it when I’m doing it? Will there be some bolt of lightning and all-of-a-sudden I know what Your plan for my life is, or will it gradually dawn on me?
I see so many people around me that waste their lives, living only for themselves and I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to waste my life, living for myself. There are so many lost, lonely and hurting people that need help. But how can I, a stubborn teenager from KC, Missouri help so many of them? How can a drop in the ocean, a vapor, a withering grass make a difference in this world during the short time I’m on it?
I just found this verse in Your Word: "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 16:25)
Is that the key? I think that it is. My life will only truly have eternal worth if I live it all for You. Not my will, but Yours. Jesus, I hereby take up my cross to follow You. Whatever the cost, I will live for You. It’s not my life, but Yours. I lose my life, but gain Yours. I want to abide in You, every moment of the day, living for You with every breath that I have.
I am Yours forever, Abba,

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #24: Keep Me Here...

Dear God, (January 9th, 2008)
Why did we have to resign from the mission? Why did we have to leave Uruguay behind forever? I don’t understand.
But I don’t need to. You know why; You did it for my good, so that’s good enough for me. You had a plan for it (and still do). I trust Your wisdom. Then why do I still question? Please give me more faith, Father. Help me trust You more and more.
But I do trust You...even though I’m going through tough times and I’m barely hanging on, I know that You’re in control of my life and that You will work everything out for my good and Your glory.
Abba, I know that to others this may seem like a strange request, but I just want to ask that You keep me here. Please keep me in this place where I don’t understand, where I am out of control. It is here that I’m learning how very much I need You and how difficult yet rewarding it is to simply have to trust You. For here, in this place of pain, trials, and life full of the unknown that I cannot rely on my own finite wisdom, but on Your own infinite wisdom; here I cannot call on my own feeble strength to get me through the hard times (for I have no strength at all), but I must allow myself to be carried safely into the fire and the unknown by Your Everlasting Arms. Oh, Abba, I need You so much!! Thank You for never leaving me. Please make me a pliable vessel in Your hands. Shape me into who You want me to be. I don’t want these trials to ever end if they will continue to make me more like You, precious Father.
Yours Forever,

Monday, March 23, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #23: My Family

Dear God, (January 8th, 2008)
I’m having a rough day. Living in the same house as 7 bitter, angry, critical people wears on you after a while. Please don’t let my spirit become infected with the bitter, critical attitudes of my family members. I want to show them Your love, mercy, kindness and forgiveness, but it’s so hard when you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle all by yourself. Please, God, give me the strength to carry on. Help me to keep on loving, giving, showing kindness, forgiving, and praying for my family. I do believe that there are better days ahead for my family, and that by Your grace we will someday see them.
But more than that, I believe that You have a purpose for this time in our lives--to make us more like You. I have complete confidence in Your ability to handle the situations that we are dealing with as a family. You are in control; and You, Most Sovereign God of the Universe know exactly what You are doing and why You are doing it. I rest in the knowledge that though I can’t see the path ahead, You will guide me safely through whatever You have in store for me and You will never, ever leave me. What have I to fear, then? Nothing.
I trust You with my future, Abba. I trust You with my life right now. You are in control, so I have no reason to fear. Come what may, be it death, divorce, separation, illness or any other kind of trial, I know that You only have our best in mind, so I trust Your wisdom. Father, You may give and take away, but still, I will say, "Blessed be the Name of the LORD." I love You so much, Abba.
Yours Forever,

Prayer Journal Entry #22: New Every Morning...

Dear God, (January 7th, 2008)
Your Word says that Your mercies are new every morning. Wow. You are so patient with me to give me a chance to start over every single day.
So, here I am at 6:42am, asking for Your wisdom and guidance throughout the day. I cannot live this day the way I should in my own strength, only in Yours. I live today to make You smile. I want You to be intimately involved with every part of my day, Father. I want to spend this day getting to know You better, and becoming more like You. O, Abba, I have so much farther to go in order to be like You. Thank You for not giving up on me, for always gently leading me back to the path You have chosen for me.
Help me to trust You, Abba. I don’t know where You are leading me, or what You have in store, but with Your hand to guide, I can’t ask for anything more. I have nothing to fear when You lead me into the fog, for You know the way, so I know that I am safe. Please help me and my whole family to trust You with our future. Thank You for Your promise that You will never leave me. I cling to that daily when I feel so lonely.
And now, Lord, as I start my day, this is my prayer: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."
I live, this day, for You alone, Father. I need You so much. With all my love and devotion I seek to serve You today.
Yours Forever,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Do I really serve the Jesus of the Bible?

I'm taking a break from posting my prayer journal entries here to ask some questions about Christianity that have been on my mind for quite some time...
Is the Christianity we're living each day the Christianity worth dying for? Did Jesus die so that we could have a once a week "go-to-church" ritual? (How does he feel about being stuffed in the Sunday morning 10-11am slot each week?) Did he die so that we could be moral people? Or, as 2 Corinthians 5 says, could it be that "he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who for their sake died and was raised..."?
As I ask myself these questions, I can't help wondering how many Christians in other countries are being tortured, kicked out of their houses, beaten, and even killed...all for the Jesus that I often ignore, take for granted, and don't have time for, because I have "more important things to do." How can they die for Jesus Christ, when I can't even live for him? Do we really share the same faith? If so, then how come I am apathetic about the gospel, while they go to their deaths for proclaiming it? How can they endure suffering and torture, while I won't even get out of my comfort zone to share Jesus with a hurting world? What kind of faith do they have? What kind of faith do I have? Do I really believe what I say I believe? If so, then why doesn't it show in my life? Is my faith really built on Jesus, or on the traditions and behaviors that I've always been taught? Do I really serve the Jesus of the Bible?
How can they die for Jesus Christ, when I can't even live for him?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #21: You are #1...

Dear God, (January 4th, 2008)
I missed You yesterday. In the hustle and bustle; in the business of the day, I let my time with You drop to the bottom of my list. Sometimes I just wish that I could go live an extremely simple life out in the middle of nowhere, where I wouldn’t have all the distractions of life pushing You out of the way. But then, I realized that living with my priorities straight is fairly easy when I’m on my own, but the true test is when I have all of these distractions in my life, but I still keep You as my #1 priority. That’s my goal this year: to keep You on the throne of my heart and life. I want my life to reflect the fact that You are #1, You call the shots, You are writing my life story. Not me, You.
If it takes getting up at 4 am to make You #1 in my day, I’ll do it. Whatever steps I need to take to put You as my highest priority, I will take them. I want to live in a way that pleases You, regardless of the consequences to me.
Please show me what You want me to do, Lord. I want to follow You. I want to make my life count, but how? I know that a life lived for You and only You is a life that counts, but what does that mean? How can I live for You, and make my life count?
I know that Your Word says, "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8) Please, change my heart, God, help me to please You in everything I think, say and do. I need You, Abba.
Yours Forever,

Friday, March 6, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #20: "I want to know You more..."

Dear God, (January 2nd, 2008)
I blew it today. Not by most people’s terms, but certainly by Yours. I tried to live this day without You. I tried to handle things in my own strength, and (as we both know) I can’t do it. So, finally, I turned to You. I waited until late in the afternoon before I finally came to meet with You. But if I try to meet with You early in the morning, I can’t stay awake. What is to become of me? What is wrong with me? Can I not make You a priority in my life? I must, else I should cease living, for You are all that matters. Oh, Father, help me to seek You all the more diligently each and every day. Give me such a strong desire to be in Your presence as cannot be denied. I want to know You more, but how can I do that if I do not make seeking You my highest goal each day?
Oh, how far I have yet to go in becoming more like You. I cannot attain holiness by disciplining myself to read and study Your Word each day, to talk to You, memorize Your Word, etc. Those are all good things, but that is not what having a personal relationship with You is all about. It is about seeking to become like You out of love, and out of face-down worship of Your awesome majesty.
I yield my heart to You once again, O Holy Spirit. I keep trying to take my heart back and transform it myself, but I can’t do it! So, take my heart, my soul, my mind, my will, all of me and transform it. Renew my mind; Create in me a clean heart, O God, renew a right spirit within me. Make me more like You tomorrow and each day afterward.
Yours Forever,

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #19: A New Year

Dear God, (January 1st, 2008)
Today marks the start of 2008. A whole year stretches out empty before me. What do You have in store for me? How can I make sure that I don’t waste this year?
My only goal for this year is to become more like You. Actually, that is my entire life’s goal, but it is also my goal for each and every day that I have life on this earth. In order to do that, I must get to know You better each and every day.
You know, I have been struggling lately with trying to figure out what You want me to do with my life, but I have realized an important truth: the better I know You, the better I will know what You want me to do. So, I have dedicated this year to learning to know You better. Every day as I wake, let my prayer be, "I want to know You more today." I want to abide in You, Abba. That’s the only way that I can do Your will; only by abiding in You can I bring forth much fruit. (John 15)
So for now, I will trust You as You guide me in paths I do not know; I will seek You. I will get to know You more as I abide in You and only then will I know what You want me to do.
Oh Father, I do not have the strength for this. I cannot be changed into Your image in my own strength or by my own discipline. I need You. Please carry me, Jesus. Daily change me into Your image. Transform me, Holy Spirit. Fill me, use me, renew my mind. I want to be like You, but I can’t do this by myself. I need You, Abba, as I always have and always will. Oh, how I need You.
Yours Forever,

Prayer Journal Entry #18: Learning to Trust

Dear God, (December 31st, 2007)
Please keep me here. I am finding myself (for the thousandth time) in situation after situation in which I am totally out of control. I cannot handle all of this in my own strength. But this is right where I need to be. Please keep me in this place where I’m out of control and You are totally in control. I need to be helpless; completely dependent on Your strength to handle all of this. I never should have even tried to control my life and my circumstances--for they have always been in Your hands.
So, while I’m here, teach me to trust You even more. As life around me makes less and less sense and I feel like I’m flying into a million pieces because I can’t handle these situations, teach me more what it means to "trust in the LORD with all your heart..." I am learning, ever so slowly, that dependence only on You is the way to live. I don’t know what the next moment holds; I don’t know what the year 2008 holds, but I know who holds me--it’s You.
You will never leave me--so what have I to fear? There is absolutely nothing that could happen in my life that You can’t handle. My future is a shadow--but it is secure. Come what may, You are God, You are in complete control of my life. I trust You completely. But I am still learning, still learning. Just when I think that I trust You completely, You send something else into my life to show me that I am just beginning to learn to rely completely on Your strength and wisdom to get me through.
I have promised to follow You anywhere, but it’s so hard to follow in the dark. Help me to trust You more and more each day.
Yours Forever,

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #17: Knowing Him...

Dear God, (December 30th, 2007)
I’m really serious about having this relationship with You. I don’t have all the answers as to how it is supposed to be done or when it is supposed to be done or all of that, but I do know this--I want to know You. I want to have a deep, intimate, loving relationship with You. I have dedicated this next year of my life, 2008, to getting to know You more, to drawing closer to You, to seeking You with all my heart. And Your Word says that if I seek You with all my heart, I will find You. I love You so much, Abba.
Will You show Yourself to me? Will You help me get to know You better? I rest in the power of Your Holy Spirit which You sent to me (at the moment I placed my faith in You) to guide me into all truth. Please do guide me, teach me, O keep my heart soft to Your touch, Father! Renew my mind daily. Transform my heart by Your power and Your love. Help me yield myself to Your touch. O Spirit of God, fill me, I pray! Take complete control of my life each day. Show me how to live for You, for You are all that’s worth living for. My life, my talents, my gifts, my time, my money, my mind, my strength, my entire being are Yours! Use me, I pray! Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me! Do not cast me away from Your presence! Restore to me the joy of Your salvation! O, renew a right spirit within me. That is my prayer, O God.
Thank You so much for hearing me. I don’t deserve any of this, but in worship and service I lay my life at Your feet, to be used of You, O my Father. Please take me and use me. That is my highest be used by You for Your glory. I love You so much, Abba.
Yours Forever,

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #16: Relationship with God

Dear God, (December 17th, 2007)
What does it mean to have a personal relationship with You? It seems like everyone around me thinks that it’s getting up early to read their Bible (and a devotional book) and praying so that they can check it off their to-do list. But I don’t think that a relationship with You is supposed to be a habit, or a matter of duty. Is that personal, really loving? I haven’t found a single place in Your Word where it says, "Thou shalt have thy Quiet Time every morning at 6am."
So, what does it mean to really have a close, loving, personal relationship with You? I want to have a relationship like that with You, but I haven’t found it in the stale, dry, "Quiet Time" ritual. I want to really know You. Not some made-up, impersonal God who just wants to be met every morning in the same way. So, how do I find this kind of relationship? I know that Your Word (in Jeremiah 29:13) says that I will find You if I seek You with my whole heart, but how do I do that? How do I find a real, intimate relationship with You, while all those around me just have a duty relationship with You?
I really want to know You, Abba. Please show me how. Please don’t let me keep on talking to You and reading Your precious Word out of habit. I want to really be able to enter Your presence and find fullness of joy. I want my love for You and for Your Word to grow and grow. Right now, my relationship with You is just as shallow as everyone else’s. But I want that to change. I want to really know You. I want to be able to really love You, not some made-up god who requires strict devotion out of habit every morning. Please, Abba, I want to know You.
Yours Forever,

Prayer Journal Entry #15: Hurting and Healing

Dear God, (November 20th, 2007)
It’s me again, Your little wounded lamb. I try to hide my hurt from everyone around me; try to bury it underneath piles and piles of schoolwork, but it won’t go away. To be quite honest, I’m not even sure what all is wrong with me. I’m so confused about everything. I know that it’s a sign that something’s wrong, but I don’t know what. You do. And You have it under control. So I have no need to worry or fear.
What do I need to do? I can’t keep up this stressful school schedule (that’s going to end up driving me insane) much longer. It’s wearing me out. I need You to show me what to do. But even more than that, I just need You. Knowing You’re with me is such a comfort. Please help me to always remember that I’m never in this alone.
I have wounds coming to the surface now that have been buried for a long time. I need Your healing touch in my heart, please. Thank You for setting me free from my fear and from my past. Now please give me the courage to open up and share my hurts and give them a chance to heal once and for all. It’s so hard for me to trust anyone, except for You, of course. Please give me courage; hold my hand and lead me through.
I want to dwell in Your shelter, O Most High. Please hold me in Your Everlasting Arms; hide me in the shadow of Your wings. With You on my side, who (or what) could stand against me? I have nothing to fear. Please help me tear down these walls that I’ve built around my soul. I want to be completely free. I need You...but most of all, I love You.
Yours Forever,

Monday, March 2, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #14: Going through the motions...

Dear God, (October 18th, 2007)
How did I get so numb? I need to feel Your touch in my heart, O God. It’s gotten all shriveled up and hard inside me, I am so calloused. Please, God, I need You to soften my heart. Make it responsive to Your every touch.
I have been guilty of going through the motions, God. I go to church, I listen to Christian music, I use Christian devotional books. But God, what I need is not more principles from the Bible or anything like that. Right now I just need Your presence. Please be real to me, right here, right now.
Your presence gives me the power to do all things. I need Your power to help me change. Please change my heart O God, make it ever true. Change my heart, O God, may I be like You. You are the Potter and I am the clay; mold me, and make me, this is what I pray. I don’t ever want to be the same. Please don’t let me get complacent. I need Your touch in my heart. Please clean out all that filth and break up the fallow ground in my heart.
Send Your rain to wash me anew. Rekindle the flame that once burned so bright and clear. I have become so calloused, so cold, so numb that I’ve allowed the fire in my soul to die down to a lone ember tucked away in some dusty corner. Please, Abba, give me a clean heart. Rekindle my passion for You. I need You.
Yours Forever,

Prayer Journal Entry #13: Prodigal

Dear God, (August 20th, 2007)
O Lord! Bring a revival to my heart. O how I have grieved Your Holy Spirit! How I have neglected Your Word! Failed to obey Your commands! I am such a sinner; how can I stand before You, O Most Holy God? How can I enter Your presence, for I have filthy hands and an impure heart that is so wicked and full of deceit. I have wounded You, my One True Friend. My sin has broken the bong that once bound our hearts together. I am so guilty, so ashamed, so unworthy of bearing Your name and disgracing You. A song by Casting Crowns sums up my recent life perfectly:
Living on my own/ thinking for myself/ castles in the sand/ temporary wealth/ walls are falling down/ storms are closing in/ tears have filled my eyes/ here I am again.
And I’ve held out as long as I can/ now I’m letting go and holding out my hand.
Daddy, here I am again/ will You take me back tonight?/ I went and made the world my friend/ and it left me high and dry/ I drag Your name back through the mud that You first found me in/ Not worthy to be called Your son/ is this to be my end?/ Daddy, here I am/ here I am again.
Curse this morning sun/ drags me into one more day/ of reaping what I’ve sown/ of living with my shame/ Welcome to my world/ and the life that I have made/ where one day you’re a prince/ the next day you’re a slave.
And I’ve held out as long as I can/ now I’m letting go and holding out my hand.
Daddy, here I am again/ will You take me back tonight?/ I went and made the world my friend/ and it left me high and dry/ I drag Your name back through the mud that You first found me in/ Not worthy to be called Your son/ is this to be my end?/ Daddy, here I am/ here I am again.
I am beaten/ I am torn/ I’m not running/ I’m not running anymore
Jesus, will You take me back, please? I know I don’t deserve it, but will You forgive me, please?
Yours Forever,