PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Yesterday, I shared about a book I started reading called, “Warfare Praying,” by Mark Bubeck.
The quote I highlighted was, “Hope and courage are vital words in spiritual warfare. Courage is not only necessary in facing our relentless foe, but it is also the believer’s purchased possession” (Introduction, page 18).
Yesterday, we used this reminder to talk about hope and today, we’re talking about courage.
My favorite verse on courage is Joshua 1:9 ESV, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
How often I need this reminder. I have a particular situation that I pray over regularly and I often have to remind myself that there is no need to be afraid.
I know that the Lord has His perfect timing (Ecclesiastes 3:11 and 2 Peter 3:8) and that through the waiting, He will strengthen me (Isaiah 40:31).
I also know that whatever we pray in God’s will, He will answer (John 14:13-14) and that for the prayers of one who is surrendered to Jesus accomplishes much (James 5:16).
God does not want us to live in fear but to live in the courageous truth of His victory.
The story is already written and we know the end—God wins!
Fearful living doesn’t have a place in the Christian life because we have the Savior of the world and the One who sits on the throne is victorious over the enemy.
Going back to Mark Bubeck’s quote, I love the way he described courage as a “believer’s purchased possession.”
That goes straight back to 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Doesn’t that just encourage your heart?
Today, as you pray, thank God for reminders to embrace courage over fear.
Thank Him that He emboldens and strengthens us by His power.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus on these truths and not be tempted by the lie of fear.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Today is the 1000th post on Instagram (not the 1000th prayer prompt… this is the 850th).
So in honor of that—we’re going to talk about 2 Peter 3:8.
It says, “Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.”
It seems innocuous enough, but talk about a verse that can create some discussion, even debates…
Today, let’s identify two causes of debate that go with this verse and put some things in context.
First, this passage is referring to the second coming of Christ.
Peter didn’t want the reader to be discouraged or question whether God would keep His promise.
Peter used a simile here.
“With the Lord one day is LIKE a thousand years, and a thousand years LIKE one day” (Emphasis mine).
Peter used that simile to remind us that God exists outside of time.
As an eternal being, He isn’t limited to minutes on a clock.
His timetable, therefore, cannot be viewed as faulty as it’s beyond our understanding.
When God promises something, He will honor His commitment, even when it doesn’t come according to our timeline.
When we are tapping our feet, wondering what is taking Him so long, we are confusing our limited window of time with His infinite window of time.
The two can’t be compared.
It’s like a budget.
If you make $60,000 a year, your budget is going to look very different to someone who makes $600,000… or even $6,000,000.
The resources we have can create limits, but God is without limits.
The second point of debate is the debate of Creationism vs. evolution.
Many, including many Christians, use this verse as an argument for a millions-of-years-old earth.
The argument is that the universe wasn’t made in six literal days.
Here’s the flaw with that debate though: if you argue that “one day is like a thousand years for God,” as a way to support more time, your argument was just canceled out by the second part that says “a thousand years like one day.”
Personally, I believe in a literal six-day creation.
Because why not?
Just because I can’t wrap my brain around how God did it doesn’t mean I should put limits on His ability to do it.
He spoke creation into being because He is all-powerful.
Science isn’t my cup of tea but here’s one thing I know—science has never been able to disprove the Bible.
And if God’s Word says six days, I believe it.
So that verse really isn’t a good one to debate creationism vs. evolution.
The overall point though is an opportunity to be in awe of the timelessness of God.
Psalm 90:2 says, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”
And Isaiah 40:28 says, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.”
Time doesn’t limit God because He is bigger than time.
Today, as you pray, thank God for His eternal presence.
Thank Him for being timeless and for His perfect timing.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you trust in His timetable, even when you don’t understand why He waits.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I have a lot of favorite verses in the Bible.
And today’s signature verse is one of them.
2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
As impatient as I get sometimes when my prayers seem to go unanswered, I come back to this verse.
The standout words for me have always been that God wants everyone to repent.
But today, let’s focus on “[He] is patient toward you.”
I’m so glad God is far more patient than I am.
After all, it took me 18 years to start revisiting a relationship with Him and a few more before I got really serious about it.
I’m grateful He was willing to wait for the better part of two decades for me to get my head on straight.
And so when we are discouraged about what we perceive to be slowness, let’s take a minute to pause and be thankful that He is so lovingly patient.
God waits for us.
He doesn’t throw His hands up and say, “I give up. They are a lost cause.”
No, He is always watching, like the father of the prodigal.
Always waiting for us to come to Him.
Waiting to welcome anyone with a repentant heart into His great, wide open arms.
Today, as you pray, thank God for His patience.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be patient too and to remember that in the waiting, it’s a great time to praise God for His love, mercy, kindness, and greatness.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I’ve had a lifelong aversion to onions that was so extreme, if I ordered a salad I could tell if the prep knife had been used on an onion.
If I could taste even the faintest flavor of onion, I’d push the whole salad or meal away.
Then one day, inexplicably, I ordered a pizza and didn’t ask them to remove the onions.
They say your taste buds change, and I guess that’s what happened.
It’s a silly example of how possible it is for even the most stubborn person can change and with God, even the hardest of hearts can have a change of heart.
We see this in the conversation Jesus had with the woman at the well…
A woman whose morals were so bankrupt that she went to the well in the heat of the day in order to avoid the other women of the community (John 4:1-45).
Jesus offered her Living Water that would quench her for the rest of eternity.
And in John 6:22-59, in Jesus’ first “I Am” statement, He said, “I Am the Bread of Life” and promised that anyone who believes in Him will never hunger or thirst.
We are all born with a spiritual hunger and thirst.
Many go around spiritually starved and spiritually dehydrated, while others try to quench their hunger and thirst with things that only offer a temporary solution.
True satisfaction though only comes when we fill the God-sized hole in our heart with God.
When we see those who refuse the Bread of Life and the Living Waters of Jesus—we cannot give up on them.
Our constant prayers on their behalf, even when we don’t see results, matter.
Just as a crazy-stubborn girl like me can suddenly eat onions, so can a person who spends a lifetime dismissing the love of God have a change of heart and turn to Him.
We never know how God is working in a person’s heart but we know that it’s His will that all come to acknowledge their need for Jesus (2 Peter 3:9).
Today, as you pray, thank God that hearts can be changed.
Thank Jesus for being both the Bread of Life and the Living Water that we need for eternal survival.
Pray for those who haven’t accepted Christ yet, that they will have a change of heart and will yearn for Him in a way that changes them from the inside out.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• So have you seen the Then vs Now Age Challenge on Facebook?
The instructions are simple: post your first profile picture and your most recent.
I’m not participating because my profile picture hardly ever gets changed.
It’s been almost two years since I switched it.
It’s been interesting to see what my Facebook friends have posted though.
But even more important than our outward appearance…
How have you changed on the inside?
I can say with absolute truth that the woman who started Facebooking in 2007ish is not the same as she is today.
I was nearing the end of a very long prodigal journey, and still wrestling with Biblical truths that I had grown up with versus the world’s point of view (and the world’s was winning).
I could (and did) curse like a sailor.
And struggled with issues I still struggle with (but I’m getting better) such as pride and temper.
If I was asked to do a Then vs Now Heart Challenge, I would see a definite difference.
As I hope we all would.
In 2 Peter 1:5-8, it says, “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I love the way Peter piggybacked these attributes.
Notice how similar this list is to the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23 — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control).
But let’s focus on the last part in verse 8, “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
No one wants to be ineffective or unfruitful.
Sure, we may have our occasional pajama day when we’re feeling lazy, but most everyone I know wants to feel of value and purpose.
And there’s no higher purpose than to allow the Holy Spirit to use you to God’s purpose.
When we willingly invest in the study of God’s word, with a heart that’s humble and willing to be changed, all these things begin to happen.
Our faith grows stronger; our virtue improves; our knowledge increases; we develop better self-control and patience; the Holy Spirit gives us a spirit of godliness, and we’re filled with affection and love for others, because we have a better understanding of God’s love for us.
Today, as you pray, thank God for the work He’s doing to make you more like Christ.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be malleable as your heart’s reconstruction continues.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I REALLY REALLY REALLY don’t like snow.
A Southern girl through and through, I lost the novelty of snow after I moved north to Ohio and experienced a few winters up there.
I’m back home in NC now where we don’t know how to drive in it and we aren’t prepared for it.
Of course, many disagree with me.
“It’s pretty, and peaceful, and blah blah blah…”
To me, it’s cold, and wet, and it stresses me out.
And our local meteorologists are calling for it this weekend.
As is always the case when winter weather is predicted, I sincerely hope that our weatherpersons’ slept through winter precipitation class in college and that they really don’t know what they are talking about.
I don’t usually go around wishing for people to fail, but I am praying our meteorologists’ have missed the mark on this one.
(To all you snow-enthusiasts… if we get snow, you are more than welcome to come to my house and take all you want.)
But as I woke up grumbling over the potential forecast, I began to think of another forecast…
One I am excited about…
The return of Jesus Christ.
Our Bible is full of prophecies that were foretold years, decades, centuries, and even millennia before they were fulfilled.
2 Peter 1:19-21 says, “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
And the return of Christ is indeed in the forecast of our future.
But unlike the potential for our weatherman to be wrong, this one is guaranteed.
Jesus said in Revelation 22:7, “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
It’s one of the reasons we are reminded in Matthew 24:36-44 to be diligent and watch for Him.
We don’t know when He will arrive, but the rapture of the church will occur.
The question is, are you prepared?
This isn’t a “run to the store for milk and bread” kind of preparedness, but a sincere understanding of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the grave…
Personally knowing the King of Kings whose birthday we’ll soon celebrate…
Today, as you pray, thank God that He already knows everything — from the accuracy of a winter weather forecast to the return of Jesus Christ our Savior.
Pray for those who need to get ready, and pray for a revival that will renew or replenish your heart’s readiness to meet Jesus face-to-face.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Joshua 21:45 says, “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.”
This verse was written after all the events leading up to and including the Israelites possession of the Promised Land.
However, it’s important to remember this wasn’t a promise that was fulfilled quickly…
It wasn’t even a 40-year old promise for the Israelites’ decades-long tour of the wilderness…
It was a promise that dated back over 400 years when God promised Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3, “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.’”
This is an important reminder that God has His own timetable.
2 Peter 3:8 reminds us that to God, a thousand years are like a day; and a day is like a thousand years.
Our constant clock-watching and foot-tapping will not speed up God’s agenda.
His timing is impeccable and He’s never late.
And He never, ever forgets a promise.
Today, as you pray, thank God for fulfilled promises.
Confess your impatience but reaffirm your commitment to trust in Him to do as He says at the perfect time.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Yesterday morning, I had finished up my prayer time and was getting ready for church.
Within five minutes of my prayer, I got a text that brought discouragement and frustration.
I have been under a spiritual attack for quite a while and I recognized this text and the timing of it for what it was.
But it’s still frustrating.
I don’t understand God’s timing or why He’s letting this persist, but I trust Him.
I claim several passages from Scripture to remind me of Who is in control, but this morning, Isaiah 43:19 was on my mind.
The Voice translation says, “Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there had been none.”
I needed this reminder to remember that momentum and motion are in the works.
God isn’t ignoring me and He’s got a plan.
If you’re like me, and there’s a specific prayer you pray for often, you may feel like I do sometimes — like the whole thing takes one step forward and 15 steps back.
But I believe God is going to act in a big and powerful way.
And part of the reason I believe that is because of how hard Satan is fighting in this situation.
Satan’s got a lot of chaos to stir up in what little time he has left; he’s not going to waste energy on a lost cause.
With that said, I’m going to wrap this up, then list out some Scripture to remind us all of God’s perfect will, timing, and promises.
Today, as you pray, praise God because He’s bigger than any doubt, fear, insecurity, disappointment, or Spiritual attack.
Pray and then keep praying.
Then, pray some more.
Whatever is on your heart, keep talking to God about it and don’t stop.
SOME PROMISES & REMINDERS:
- Our prayers are heard! Daniel 10:12 NLT: “Then he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.’”
- God has a plan! Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”
- God is listening and He’s not hiding! Jeremiah 29:12-13: “In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
- We don’t need our strength, we need His! Philippians 4:13: “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
- When we’re out of words, the Holy Spirit prays for us! Romans 8:26: “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”
- Our prayers have power! James 5:16b: “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
- God won’t leave us and He helps us! Isaiah 41:10: “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
- God’s will will always happen! Proverbs 19:21: “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.”
- God is active and alive! Zephaniah 3:17: “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
- God is patient! 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”
PRAYER PROMPT ••• I love the word “grace.”
It’s a simple word with a variety of meanings.
The definition we focus on is “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.”
It’s the grace described in Ephesians 2:8-9 that inspired the name of this website.
And you can barely hear the word without thinking of “Amazing Grace.”
When it comes to God’s grace, we know several things.
- It is through grace we are saved (John 3:16-17, Acts 15:11, Romans 5:8, 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, Ephesians 2:8-9, Colossians 2:13-15, Titus 2:11-12).
- Grace gives us strength (Isaiah 40:31, John 15:5, Acts 20:32, Romans 6:14, 1 Corinthians 2:12, 2 Corinthians 9:8, 2 Corinthians 12:9).
- God’s grace is plentiful and He gives it generously to anyone who asks for it (John 1:16, Romans 5:20, Ephesians 4:7, 2 Timothy 1:9, James 4:6, 2 Peter 1:2).
- We don’t deserve His grace (Romans 5:17, Titus 3:5-7, 1 John 4:10).
- We can’t lose His grace (Romans 8:15-16, Romans 8:38-39).
Aren’t those wonderful, comforting promises, especially since we are in constant battle with our sinful natures?
As the recipients of such abundant grace, how are we called to extend grace to others?
Definitely through forgiveness.
If Jesus was willing to die for our sins, isn’t it only fair that we forgive those who do us wrong?
And right there is our ah-ha moment.
Forgiving others who have hurt us is so hard.
But in the challenge, we develop a better understanding of the miracle of grace.
We know we aren’t perfect, but here is our holy God who is perfect and yet perfectly willing to lavishly pour His grace on us when we humbly repent.
If He, in all His greatness can do that for us, the task of forgiving others becomes far easier.
Because it was given to us, the least we can do is share it with others.
Including ourselves, and forgiving ourselves is among the most difficult kind of forgiveness!
(Trust me; I know.)
Today, as you pray, thank God for His amazing, abundant grace.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you share grace with others, as a reminder of generous God has been with you.
PRAYER PROMPT ••• I don’t like to wait.
There was a reason God put the word “timing” on my heart for this year’s focal word!
Combine my impatience with my tendency to “fix it,” and there’s no doubt I cause God to facepalm Himself often.
I’m bad about running ahead of Him, ready to get that prayer request answered and cross that consequence off the list!
Oh, and is my blessing ready?
I’ll take that right now, please.
Let’s talk about Esau (and what I hope was the best bowl of stew ever made).
We find the story in Genesis 25.
Jacob tricked Esau into trading his birthright for a bowl of stew.
Worst. Trade. Ever.
Esau clearly wasn’t big on patience either.
If electricity had been available, Esau would have been a big fan of microwaveable dinners — edible, yes, but cheap imitations of quality, home-cooked meals.
I doubt Esau would have planned for retirement and he would most likely be one to do all his Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve.
Esau was all about the “right now.”
I think he would have fit in pretty well in 2018 America.
We tend to worry that if we don’t get what we’re promised now, then we won’t get it at all.
But God’s timing and ours are two different things.
We reach for our miracles and promises.
We want our rainbow right now.
But He is still perfecting the colors and polishing the edges.
And when He hands it over, His version will exceed the less-than-mediocre option of what we were ready to accept.
His timing isn’t easy to accept but it’s always perfect.
2 Peter 3:8 says, “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.”
And thank goodness it is.
We are works in progress and if we surrender to Him, He will keep changing us and molding us into the people He wants us to be.
And when we’re ready… when we can handle the weight of the rainbow which will exceed our expectations, He will let us have it.
And we will be thankful He asked us to wait for His perfect timing.
Today, as you pray, ask the Lord for patience for His timing.
Acknowledge that His way is always better and let Him know you are thankful for the work He is doing for you, in you, and through you.