Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Renew Our Minds

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

Emily Dickinson, a notorious shut-in whose poetry didn’t become famous until long after she was dead, once wrote:

“Much Madness is divinest Sense—
To a discerning Eye—
Much Sense – the starkest Madness—
`Tis the Majority
In this, as All, prevail—
Assent—and you are sane—
Demur—you’re straightway dangerous—
And handled with a Chain—”

“but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32b)

These days, we feel so much pressure to be something other than what God has called us to be–holy, sanctified, set apart. When it comes to what is accepted as right and wrong, the Word of God and society often contradict. Of course, we know that God’s Word will always prevail, and because of that, we are often treated as “straightway dangerous” and “handled with a Chain” when we don’t “assent” with the “majority.”

Jesus warned us that the world will hate us because of Him, but He also said that “he who endures [stands firm in his faith] to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22), and He encouraged us to “take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Remember this when you feel the pressure to turn your back against God with everyone else. God has greater in store for you when you do right by His Will.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, renew our minds to minds that think like you, minds that are after your wisdom, your holiness, and your goodness. Shield us from conforming to the accepted wrongs of this world and enable us to be a light to this world, a city on a hill drawing others to you. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Thank You for Being the One Thing We Need

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and if you’re cooking for the family this year, chances are you’ll be spending most of today making the preparations. You’ve scrubbed and vacuumed all the floors. If you’re having overnight guests, you’ve changed the bedding for fresh, clean sheets. You’ve sanitized the bathroom, dusted the furniture. You’ve taken all the seasonal dishes and plates out of the china cabinet and set the table.

Now it’s time to start cooking, and you start to get frazzled. You recently switched to a whole foods diet, so you’ve decided to make everything from scratch. But you quickly regret that decision because the cranberry sauce is too tart to be edible, the macaroni and cheese is bland, the stuffing looks more like bread budding, the greens are bitter, and to make matters worse, you didn’t factor into your cook time that you would have to thaw the turkey first. Now it looks like it’ll be in the oven overnight, and you still have three other sides to bake!


Sit down.


Inhale . . . 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . .

Exhale . . . 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . .

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15 (NIV)

It’s usually during this time of year when we tend to get the most anxious. Cooking such a wide spread for a large group, and if you’re cooking by yourself, it could feel like too much to handle for one person. Dealing with the frustrations of backed-up traffic on the highways or airline delays if you’re flying, and added stress if the weather is bad. Wanting to make sure everything is perfect for visiting family members you haven’t seen in years, or if you don’t have any family, having to suffer through this “festive” season all alone.

But amidst all of this, don’t forget the one thing that truly matters. Remember the sisters Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42. Martha busied herself serving and waiting on Jesus and His disciples. Typical actions of a hostess entertaining guests. But Jesus was no ordinary guest, and Martha spent so much of her time distracted by her many preparations that she didn’t recognize what was truly needed.  Mary did, and she sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to His every word in worship.

While Thursday shouldn’t be the only time you give thanks, this is the season to be thankful. So while you’re being thankful, remember what is most important and what is most needed. It’s not that juicy roasted turkey, hot from the oven. It’s not all the fixin’s spread across the table in an array of fall harvest colors. It’s not even all the things you will buy at the Black Friday sales the next morning.

It is Jesus Christ, who eases our minds when we are worried (Philippians 4:6-7), who gives us rest when we feel burdened (Matthew 11:28), who comforts us (Psalm 23:4) who heals us (Isaiah 53:5), who understands what we’re going through and can help us deal (Hebrews 4:15-16), who gives us grace to overcome (2 Corinthians 12:9).

If you’re feeling overwhelmed this Thanksgiving, remember these scriptures, and any others that remind you to be thankful for all the things your Father in Heaven has done for you. Just sit down and pray, because maybe you’re too busy like Martha, maybe you’ve forgotten what is needed, maybe you need to come back to the feet of Jesus.

God bless.

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:1-4 (NKJV)

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for being the one thing we need. You are our comfort, our shelter, our protector, our healer, our rest, our everything. Thank you for never leaving or forsaking us. Thank you for answering when we call. Thank you for being an ever-present help in our times of trouble and worry. Most importantly, thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins. If it had not been for Him we would be lost, dead in our sins and trespasses. But through His death and resurrection, we have life everlasting, and because of that we are eternally grateful. Thank you most of all, Lord, for saving us. You are the rock of our salvation and we praise your holy name. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Forgive Us for Our Careless Talk

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

What are you saying about the people around you? Your coworkers, your fellow church-goers, your family and friends? Are you speaking words of encouragement on them? What about when they are not around? Is your speech still positive, or are you talking negatively about them behind their backs?

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” James 3:9-10 (NIV)

James calls the tongue untamable and restless (James 3:8). Anyone who is able to control it he deems perfect, able to keep their whole body in check (James 3:2). Unfortunately most of us set fires with the words we speak (James 3:5-6), especially when talking about others.

“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ [an Aramaic term of contempt] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Matthew 5:22

Have you been guilty of “bad-mouthing” someone? The driver of the pick-up that cut you off on the way to work this morning; the coworker who tells you how to do your job as if she were your boss; your in-laws who make sure you know that you are only an in-law and not truly a part of their family; your ministry leader who says things in service that you don’t always agree with?

Are you paying attention to what you say about others? Have you learned to “bridle” or hold your tongue, or do you just have to say your piece and be through? Do both blessings and curses come out of your mouth? Remember, such things as foul language, slanderous talk, gossip, etc. are not pleasing to God, so who are you really cursing when you say these things?

“But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Colossians 3:8

As we strive to be more like Christ, we have to remember that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”  (Luke 6:45), and what we say reveals a lot about our character. Are we being true followers of God when we speak negatively about His people? Is this the type of fruit God expects us to produce when we live by His Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25)? No, He wants to see our love toward others, our joy and peace in fellowship with one another, our patience with those who are difficult, our kindness and goodness toward them, our faithfulness in not giving up on them when they stumble, our gentleness and self-control in our conversation with them.

Colossians 3:9-10 says that we have put off the old self, along with its evil practices (including evil speech) and “have put on the new [spiritual] self who is being continually renewed in true knowledge in the image of Him who created the new self.” Be renewed in your mind, and especially in your speech. Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us to be imitators of God, as children imitate their father, and walk in love, as Christ loved and gave Himself up for us.

The Amplified text of James 3:9-10 explains that “we have a moral obligation to speak in a manner that reflects our fear of God and profound respect for His precepts.” What I find interesting about this scripture is that it reminds me so much of 1 John 4:20, which says, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” The concept is the same for both scriptures here: If you truly fear God, if your truly love God, if you want to prove that you are a true and faithful follower of God, you have to show it in your actions, especially in your actions toward the people you come in contact with every day. For how can we expect compassion and mercy from God, when we can’t ourselves give it to others (Luke 6:36-38)?

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32

So is your conversation always full of grace, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6)? Do you always answer gently and respectfully, keeping a clear conscious so that those who talk about you can eat their words (1 Peter 3:15-16)? Jesus says in Matthew 12:36-37 that we will have to give an account for every empty and careless word we have spoken; by our words we will be acquitted, and by our words we will be condemned. Make sure your words always reflect the Spirit that lives within you so that you don’t find yourself on the wrong end of judgment when that fateful day comes.

“Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!” James 5:9

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, forgive us for our careless talk. You said in your word that whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. Lord, we want to exemplify your Spirit in our speech, that we may not be condemned by our words. Don’t let us become like one who talks too much, who always has something negative or slanderous to say about another. Such babble only leads to ungodliness, but we seek to be more like you, conformed to the image of your Son, who loved and gave Himself as a sacrifice for all. Set a guard over our mouths. Let us not be quick with our words and opinions, for too much talk leads to sin, but he who restrains his lips is prudent. So each day, as we continue to walk in your light, we try our best to bridle our tongues, seeking your wisdom in everything we say, for you know the words that are needed. And your word we have hidden in our hearts that we might not sin against you, in deed or in speech, in Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Increase Our Faith!

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

I admit I can be impatient, especially when I’m forced to rely on others, whether it’s at home, on the job, in class. If things don’t go the way I want them to go, or if they don’t happen when I expect them to happen, I’m not great at hiding my visible frustration. If I’m frustrated enough, I’ll even try to take control, thinking to myself, “It’s easier if I just do it myself. I don’t know why I even bothered to ask him/her. I work better alone!”

If you’re like me, chances are putting total faith and trust in God can be quite challenging for you. This past Sunday, we learned that faith is the confidence or assurance that the things we hope for (from God) will be granted; it is the conviction of that reality although it is not yet tangible (Hebrews 11:1). For example, faith is believing that Jesus Christ came to die; that He died on the cross, and on the third day rose again; that through Him we will have eternal life in heaven with God the Father. It’s beautiful to hope for, but how does this faith get us through the day-to-day in the here and now? How can a control-freak like me, who can’t even trust the people she works with every day, trust in a God she’s never seen? How can she believe in a promise that sounds impossible to her, more like a dream she’ll regrettably awake from much too soon?

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

I was burnt out. My impulsive decisions to do everything myself had put a heavy burden on me. Work and the various projects I’d committed to outside of work had done their toll, both mentally and physically. 2017 was supposed to be a year of organization, but I took 10 steps backward instead of one step forward in the direction of reaching my goal. I didn’t give up, however. The year isn’t over. I decided to dedicate the final two months of the year to revamping my quest to get better organized. My focus was to declutter, simplify, and plan ahead. I made lists so I could get a better grip on all the things I had to get done by the end of the day and come face to face with all the things I procrastinated on. But I still had a problem. I was still stressed, I was still feeling overwhelmed.

God revealed to me that despite my best efforts to simplify my life, I still wasn’t making Him first. I was treating Him like an afterthought, saying, “If I get to it, I’ll get to it. If not, there’s always tomorrow.” But James 4:17 says, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” Was it really a mystery why my life was falling apart? My pastor often says this, “If you’re too busy to make time for God every day, you are too busy.” That was my wake up call. I had become too busy for God. I was like Martha, busy and worried about many things except what mattered.

“She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’

‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'” Luke 10:39-42

So I followed the example of Mary. I went and sat at the feet of Jesus. I prayed, and I cried. I opened my Bible, read His word, listened to His teaching, and prayed some more, asking Him to direct me. The first thing He said surprised me. Clean. Wash those little dishes in the sink, make up my bed, pick up the clothes from off the floor. Wash my face, brush my teeth, get dressed, make my environment conducive for the work He wanted me to do, because the work started with Him. For God is a God of order, not chaos (1 Corinthians 14:33), and my life was very chaotic.

Matthew 6:33 says to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Mark 1:35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” So I did the same. I got up early, I sought after God, I asked for His will, because my will had become a burden to me. And never before has this scripture felt more true for me than right in that moment when God answered my prayer:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

When I put my faith and trust in God, He relieved me of my burdens. Like Mary, I focused on the one thing that was needed—Him—and He came through for me. I became more productive, more efficient in my work. All secondary matters began to settle into place, without my worrying and fretting over them, and I continued (and am continuing) to put God first in everything.

This is faith.

Do you have it?

“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. Selah.” Psalm 68:19 (NASB)

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, increase our faith! Increase our faith in your love, your mercy, your grace, your faithfulness, your truth, your forgiveness. Increase our faith in the easiness of your burden. Lord, forgive us, for we have forgotten our first love. We have made you second, and have fallen away. But you said in your word that if we just call on you, then you will answer. You said you are near to the brokenhearted, and you save those who are crushed in spirit. Father, we need your help. We’ve lost our faith, but we wish to get it back, for without it, it is impossible to please you, and it is impossible to live this life peacefully without your hand guiding us every step of the way. We believe that you are here. That you reward those who diligently seek you. We cast all our cares and anxieties upon you, knowing you care for us, you will sustain us, you will never let the righteous be shaken. You will watch over us, you will never sleep nor slumber, you will keep us in perfect peace as long as our minds are stayed on you. Thank you, Lord, for your peace that surpasses all understanding, that guards our hearts and minds. In Christ Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Help Us to be Merciful

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

Occasionally, at the end of Sunday service, my pastor announces to the congregation that our assignment for the week is to be kind to someone. This shouldn’t be a hard task, given that it is written clear as day in the Bible.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

Unfortunately for some people, you’d think they’d just been told to drive a six inch nail through their eye. Would it kill you to lend someone a kind word as you pass them in the hallway? To at least give them a twinkle of a smile?

As we continue to investigate what we must do to inherit eternal life, I invite you to turn to the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.

“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’

“‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. “How do you read it?'” (Luke 10:25-26, NIV)

When a so-called “expert” in the law attempts to trap Jesus with the age-old question, Jesus turns it around on him by asking him to interpret the Law. He responds with the two greatest commandments, on which all the Law hangs (Matthew 22:34-40): “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself,” to which Jesus says, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:27-28).

Of course, the irony of it is that he hasn’t been doing this at all. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law has a nasty little habit of thinking only about themselves. They tote their own self-righteousness in front of the people, but they are just as evil as they come (Matthew 23:2-4). They make the word of God void by instituting their own human traditions (Mark 7:13). They are more focused on getting rich than enriching the kingdom of God (Matthew 21:12-13). Hypocrites, blind guides, brood of vipers—these are just a few of the horrible names Jesus calls them in Matthew 23. To make matters worse, despite being experts on the Law, they don’t even recognize Jesus as the Messiah, whom the Scriptures are written about (John 5:39-40). Blind guides indeed!

Not wanting to be bested, however, the expert comes back with another sly question: “And who is my neighbor?” To this, Jesus gives him the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this parable, a man on a journey is attacked by robbers. They beat him, they strip him of his clothes, and they leave him for dead. Twice he is passed by, once by a priest, and again by a Levite, who would be like a religious leader for Israel. The interesting thing is that they both passed by on the other side of the road (Luke 10:31-32), which means they went out of their way to avoid helping this poor man.

But one person stopped. A Samaritan. Now, the Jews hated the Samaritans. They viewed them as half-breeds (half-Jewish, half-Gentile) and wanted no association with them. This should not go unnoticed that Jesus uses a Samaritan in this parable.

The Samaritan stops to help the man. He cleans and dresses his wounds. He puts him on his donkey and takes him to an inn to further aid him. He pays the innkeeper for any extra expense he may incur for caring for the man. While the first two go out of their way to leave him dying, the Samaritan goes above and beyond to save his life.

Again, Jesus steps all over this expert’s toes, and all over his pride. He asks the expert which of the three was a neighbor to the man, and unwilling to acknowledge the Samaritan, whom he would view as beneath him, the expert answers, “The one who had mercy on him.” Of course, we all know who that one is.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7

When reading about the Good Samaritan, I can’t help but to go to Matthew 25, when Jesus talks about the coming Day of Judgement. On this day, all the people will be gathered together before His throne, and He will separate the sheep (righteous) from the goats (wicked), putting the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.

And to the sheep He will say:

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:34-36

On the contrary, He will say to the goats:

“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.” Matthew 25:41-43

Both will ask, “Lord, when did we [not] do those things for you?” And He will promptly answer, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did [not do] for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did [not do] for me” (Matthew 25:37-40, 44-45).

And so the goats, or the wicked, will “go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). A truly telling visual if ever there was one.

Putting this in the context of the Good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite, did not only leave a poor beaten man on the side of the road for dead, they left Jesus. Surely someone who would willfully turn away from the one way to heaven (John 14:6) would never inherit the kingdom. But how many of us are leaving Jesus when we ignore the people who need our help the most? The single mother who comes to Wednesday night Bible study just so her kids can get a free meal; the homeless veteran on the side of the road holding the sign, “Will work for food”; the co-worker you saw crying in the bathroom that you didn’t say a word to.

God says in Hosea 6:6, “I desire mercy not sacrifice.” The New Living Translation (NLT) says, “I want you to show love…” Sometimes we get so caught up in church matters, fighting the good fight, doing ministry work, focusing on our own salvation, or on the 99 that are still in the church rather than the one who’s wandered off, that we forget the simplest gesture. The second greatest commandment instructs us to love our neighbors. Jesus says that by our love will the world recognize us as His followers (John 13:35).

So are we showing love to our neighbors, or are we going out of our way to avoid making their problems our problems to solve?

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36

The golden rule, which most of us learned in school—Treat others the way you want to be treated—is very similar to the Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” especially when it comes to our relationship with others and with God. Looking back at Ephesians 4:32, notice that the second part of that verse says that we must forgive each other, “just as in Christ God forgave you.” Likewise, 1 Peter 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” This is the mercy God has given us: new life through Jesus Christ, surely we can provide that same mercy to our beaten and wounded brothers and sisters, whether it’s through preaching the gospel, offering a helping hand, inviting them to church, praying for them, etc.

Ephesians 5:1 tells us to be imitators of God “as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Imitate the love and mercy of God in your actions toward others this week. For how can we expect to receive such precious gifts from God, when we can’t even give them to the people we see every day?

“There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” James 2:13 (NLT)

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to be merciful. Help us to love our neighbors as ourselves, to love them as you love them. It is written in your word that if anyone sees the good they ought to do and does not do it, then it is sin for them. Father, please forgive us for all those times we ignored a friend in need. Fill us with the fruit of your Spirit, love, kindness, goodness, gentleness. Fill us with the same compassion as your Son, Jesus Christ, as he died on the cross, so that we may go above and beyond to help others in need, treating them as if they were angels in disguise, or you yourself. This will bring us even closer to receiving eternal life in your kingdom. And it’s in Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Strengthen Us to Strengthen Others

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

Recently, a friend at work lost her son in a horrific accident. He was eighteen years old, had recently graduated high school, and was two weeks from leaving for college. In the blink of an eye, his life was snatched from him, and his mother was powerless to save him.

How do you comfort someone dealing with such tragedy? “I’m sorry for your loss,” or “My condolences,” sounds too generic and emotionless. “I’m praying for you,” reads good on paper, but it can easily turn into a lie if we don’t then go and pray, and I often struggle in praying for others. “I understand what you’re going through,” can’t even compare unless you’ve lost a child yourself, and you also don’t want to make their tragedy about you. And expressing anger toward the driver of the car that hit him, or the doctors who couldn’t save him, or the police officers who said he was at fault only adds oxygen to the smoldering embers, and you want to console that person, not further upset them.

This week, coworkers passed around a card for people to sign, and as I sat at my desk, trying to think of the right words to say, that didn’t sound like your typical Hallmark sympathy greeting, I saw the grieving mother walk by. Yes, she had actually come to work. I walked to her. Unable to speak, I simply gave her a hug and immediately broke down into tears. While I had never met her son, we had grown so close over the years that she had become like family to me, and her loss became my loss. She took a deep breath, told me to stop crying, because seeing me cry would only make her cry without being able to stop, told me she loved me and would talk to me later, and then she walked away. When I returned to my desk, I wrote on the card: I pray for your strength.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NIV)

Is there ever a “right” thing to say to someone who experiences a tragic loss? We may never know, for everyone is different, and people can receive messages in different ways. However, oftentimes it’s not what we say but what we don’t say that matters. That’s what will stick with that person long after they’ve forgotten our half-thought utterances. Sometimes all they need is for us to be there, to show that we care, to not only offer help whenever needed but to also follow through on that promise to help, to lend a shoulder for them to cry on.

Galatians 6:2 instructs us to carry one another’s burdens, thus fulfilling the law of Christ. The Amplified Bible calls this the law of Christian love. We should be exemplifying the love of Christ in all that we do, giving of ourselves in love, especially in our actions toward our Kingdom brothers and sisters. When we were saved, we inherited a vast family (Matthew 19:29), and Jesus says the world will know that we are His disciples by our love for one another (John 13:35). So what are you doing for your brothers and sisters in Christ? We can learn a lot from what the believers in the early church did.

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had a need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-47

We all have one God in common, Christ Jesus, who brought us all together through His sacrifice and resurrection, and our belief in his promise of eternal life with the Father (John 3:16-17). Now that we are all of one body, we should work to build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11), help whoever is in need, whether they are in need of finances, advice, or just our caring presence in troubling times. 1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” The following verse goes on to say that if anyone “sees a brother or sister in need, but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” Jesus says there’s no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). Don’t take this literally; laying down your life could simply mean putting all selfishness aside to care for the well-being of others.

Sometimes we don’t always know the difficult things that people around us are dealing with, and when we do know, our own problems, which we love to vocally complain about—a micro-managing supervisor, a disorganized ministry leader, a rebellious child—seem miniscule in comparison. As members of one body, we shouldn’t be so self-centered and divided, but we should show equal concern for each other (1 Corinthians 12:25). When one hurts, we all hurt, and we all should gather around one another in support.

Which brings us to the continued meeting together (Acts 2:46). Don’t go out of your way to avoid seeing someone because you know they are go through a serious storm in their life. You may not be sure of what to say, or you may be be afraid that you’ll say the wrong thing, but not being there for them at all is even worse. 1 John 3:18 says to love not “with words or tongue but with actions and in truth,” and Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to give up meeting together, “as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more s you see the Day approaching.” It is during the trials and tribulations of life that our brothers and sisters need the most encouragement. So don’t give up on them!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Most important of all, remember that God is still in control, and He promises that He will always be there for us, through the good and bad times (Joshua 1:9; Matthew 28:20; John 14:18). Praise Him for the good He as already done in your life and in the life of that person going through tragedy. Praise Him knowing that we are all made alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:4-5), that the person who was lost is not truly dead but asleep (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), that we will one day see that person again in heaven. Thank Him for the peace that washes over us like a calm (John 14:27; Philippians 4:7). And lastly, pray for His continued strength, for you, for the person going through, and for all who are hurting, because if we can’t handle it, we know with confidence that God can.

God Bless.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, strengthen us to strengthen others. You said in your word that your strength is made perfect in our weakness. Help us to be strong for our brothers and sisters in need, who are weak with sorrow. Help us to pray for those going through tragedy, for we do not know how to pray as we ought. But you know what we need even before we ask. So let your Holy Spirit intercede on our behalf with groans too deep for words. Fill your children with your peace which surpasses all understanding. Guard their hearts and minds with your encouraging word. Thank you, Lord, for being our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble. We give you all the glory, honor, and praise. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: We Need You

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

Today was not a good day. You slept through your alarm and didn’t have enough time for your morning prayer and scripture reading. You rushed through washing your face and brushing your teeth but spent the next twenty minutes in front of your closet trying to decide what to wear, because despite it being Fall, it’s still 80 degrees and humid outside. On top of that, there’s a steady mist, which is only going to give you a bad hair day, after all the time you spent doing your hair the night before (the reason you went to bed late and didn’t hear your alarm).

You curse yourself for not having enough clothes; you wear the same five outfits every week. You can’t find your favorite flats, which you’ve worn right down to the ground. All your other shoes are so old their talking back to you, and the two good pairs you do have are too big; they constantly slip off your heels, making them next to impossible to walk in. Half of the pants you own hang off you like on coat hangers because you recently lost weight. Not a bad thing, but you haven’t spent money on a new wardrobe in years. Budget is tight. There’s always another bill to pay, another family member to bail out of a bind.

When you finally put on something that looks halfway decent and style your hair to the best of your ability, you enter the kitchen to prepare your lunch only to discover you didn’t wash the dishes. The entire front of your house reeks of last night’s dinner: fish. You still have two more days before garbage collection, but your trash is already overflowing. You try to make a sandwich, but your cheese is molded. The milk in your soup has separated. You want to make a smoothie, but that would mean one more dish you have to clean, and you’re already late for work. You decided you’ll just buy lunch from the cafeteria, hoping they’re serving something good and not too expensive.

You go back to your closet for one last desperate search for those flats, give up and put on wedges that have seen better days. Outside, the humid air slaps you right in the face. You can already feel your hair lifting. You get in your car and all the windows are foggy, but you don’t have time to clear them, so you just put the car in gear and go.

On the highway, you’re caught behind the slowest moving truck EVER! When you turn into the complex, the parking lot is full, you have to park in the very back, which means you’ll have to walk, the last thing you want to do, given that your shoes are one sticky sidewalk away from talking too. As you search for a parking space, the SUV coming from the opposite end drives in the center of the lane as if it’s the only car in the lot, forcing you to nearly hit the parked cars to your right just to get out of its way. You try your hardest not to curse the woman driving it, but the frustration has been building. You let the word slip out.

When you’re finally parked, you sit in your car, turn on the radio, try to pull yourself together before going into the office, but then a song about suicide comes on, so you shut everything off, stomp down the concrete, grumble your “good mornings” to passersby. You finally get to your desk, and the weight of the next eight hours sinks on top of you; you burst into tears, echos of the song still playing in your mind; “I just wanna die today. I just wanna die.”

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

We’ve all had bad days like this. Maybe not as specific, but we can definitely empathize with someone who wishes they could crawl back into bed and start the day over. How do you react when everything that could go wrong does go wrong? Do you get emotional and cry? Do you fold into yourself and isolate yourself from others? More importantly, do you stop going to God and instead try to handle things on your own?

I think we’ve all been guilty, at some point, of turning away from God when we needed Him the most, even if we were just having a bad day. But Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Psalm 145:18 says, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth,” and in the following verse, “he hears their cry and saves them” (v. 19b). Stress comes with life, whether it’s stress over the news today, stress over all the things you have to get done, or stress over the feeling that you have nothing to show for your time here on earth. Jesus promises that if you come to Him, rely on Him, lay everything down on Him, He will relieve you of that stress, He will save you from the burdens that weigh you down.

Most of us are familiar with Isaiah 40:31, which says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (KJV). Another word for “wait” is “hope in” or “trust.” Put you’re hope and trust in God, that He would turn your bad day into a good one, that He would give you the strength to finish this day with a smile on your face, despite the way it started. Don’t let the troubles of life come up and choke His comforting word out of you (Matthew 13:22). As 1 Peter 5:7 says, He cares for you, so don’t turn away from Him, give Him a chance to comfort you when the walls seem to be closing in. You may feel alone now, but Jesus promises, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20)

God Bless.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, we need you. We can’t make it a day in this life without you always near. You said in your word that if we call on you, you will answer. So we seek refuge in you, for you are our rock and fortress, the source of our salvation, in whom we trust. Forgive us for believing we can handle the trials of life on our own, for you said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” We cast all our anxieties on you, knowing that you care for us, and that by your power, we are made strong, even on days when we feel weakest. So we give you all the glory, honor, and praise for being an ever-present help in times of trouble. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Help Us to Recognize the Power in Our Praise

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

How often do you praise and worship God? Is it every day? Is it every Sunday in church? Is it Sunday in church only if the choir is singing your favorite song? For many of us, it’s the latter, and while there’s nothing wrong with being moved by music, we’ve got to get into the habit of praising God in all circumstances.

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:1-3; NKJV

When we praise and worship God, we invite Him into the atmosphere to dwell among us. Jesus says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” James 4:8 says, ” Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Moreover, God says in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” When we praise God and call on His name, not only does He show up, but He shows out. The power of God is made manifest right in that very place.

There are many examples of this in the Bible. One includes the fall or Jericho in the book of Joshua. God instructed the Israelites to march around the city six days, but on the seventh day they were to march seven times, with the priests blowing on the trumpets. At the sound of the long trumpet blast, the army was to give a loud shout. I’d like to think it was loud shout of praise and honor to God, who would deliver the city into their hands. And that’s exactly what He did.

“When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.” Joshua 6:20; NIV

Jericho was a fortified city, securely walled up; no one could get in or out. And yet, at the army’s shout to God in heaven, the walls came crashing down, showing God’s great and mighty power we could never understand.

Another example comes in 2 Chronicles 20. The armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir had united to attack Judah. Fearful of the ensuing bloodbath, King Jehoshaphat gathered all the people Judah to assemble together and seek help from God, for this was a “great multitude” that was coming for them. Jehoshaphat began his prayer saying, “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?” (2 Chronicles 20:5). He recognized the great power of God and understood that only by His power could they win this battle.

God responded saying, “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15). And the people fell and worshiped Him. The next morning they continued to sing and praise, and God went out against the armies and turned them on each other so that when the people of Judah arrived at the place of battle, all they saw were dead bodies!

“Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.” 2 Chronicles 20:22-23; NKJV

The people of Judah didn’t even have to fight. All they had to do was stand still and watch the power of God at work!

Skipping ahead to the New Testament in Acts 16. Paul and Silas are imprisoned for casting out a spirit from a fortune-telling slave girl and preaching the gospel. But they don’t wallow in their own self-pity for being in prison. Instead, they live what is spoken in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” And once again, the power of God was made manifest.

“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.” Acts 16:25-26; NKJV

But notice that Paul and Silas don’t immediately escape, although they have ample opportunity. Instead, they take this moment to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the jailer, who has just witnessed this unbelievable miracle, and to his entire household. And that night, because of the power of God that came down through Silas and Paul’s praise, the jailer and his entire household were saved.

Are you seeing the power of God at work in your praise? Are obstacles in your path being torn down? Are the people who mean to do you harm falling away without you having to lift a finger? Have you been set free from unfortunate circumstances or situations that have kept you feeling imprisoned (ex. a bad relationship, addiction to drugs or alcohol, etc.)? Most importantly, are people around you receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ and turning their lives around?

Jesus said in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Don’t let that power of the Holy Spirit sit dormant. Alone, we are very limited in what we can do, but Ephesians 3:20 says that God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” So don’t bottle up that power inside you. Unleash it through your praise.

God Bless.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9; NIV

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to recognize the power in our praise. Without you, nothing is possible, but with you, all things are possible, for with your power, we can pull down strongholds; with your power, our enemies are defeated; with your power, chains are broken; and with your power, salvation is brought to all who believe in the name of Jesus. There is nothing too hard for you. So we will praise you with our whole soul. We will bless your holy name. We call on you and invite you in to reveal great and mighty things beyond our understanding. To you be all the glory, in Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Give us the Strength to Resist the Devil

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

How much power does the devil have over your life? If you truly know who you are in Christ, you know the answer to that question is none.

Despite having this knowledge, we often allow the lies of the enemy to get into our heads, disrupt our peace and take control of our lives. Maybe you’ve experienced setbacks this week—a flat tire that made you late for an important meeting at work, you lost power in your home after a bad storm and the food in the refrigerator went bad, you learned that your teenage daughter is pregnant and you didn’t even know she was having sex. Did you blame the devil?  Maybe you did something you know had no business doing—you cursed out an insensitive friend on Facebook, you drank alcohol when you know you’re trying to get clean, you lied about your criminal history on a job application. Did you say, “The devil made me do it”?

In Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People, we learned that nothing Satan does is outside of God’s knowledge and control.  We also know that God gave us the freewill to choose our own path—righteousness and reward, or evil and destruction—He doesn’t force us one way or the other. With that in mind, and knowing also that the devil is nothing but a creation of God (Isaiah 54:16), why then do we continue to blame the devil for every bad thing that happens? We are essentially saying that he has more power than God.

And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:18-19; NKJV

We have the power over the devil. Nothing he does can harm us unless we allow it. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6 to put on the full armor of God—the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God—that we may stand firm against the devil’s tricks and schemes.

James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” That word resist means to violently oppose. Don’t let that devil get in your head and tell you your sins aren’t forgiven when the word of God says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). Don’t let him convince you that you’ve lost your salvation because of one mistake when you know that “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Ask God to forgive you for whatever that mistake was, and continue to move forward (1 John 1:9). You know the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44), so why do you listen to him? Why do you argue with him? Simply call on the name of the Lord, and he will scatter.

Finish this week triumphant, knowing that you are a child of the Most High and that the devil will never take what Jesus has already paid the price for.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us the strength to resist the devil and his schemes. We know that no weapon formed against us shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against us in judgement we shall condemn. We call on your name when tempted by the enemy, and we rely on your word to help us through, for without you nothing is possible, but through Christ we can do all things. We put our faith and trust in you and thank you for the power given us by the Holy Spirit to stand our ground against the enemy, knowing that we fight from the victory you have already won. We give you all the glory and honor and praise. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.


Originally published June 21, 2017

Hump Day Prayer

Hump Day Prayer: Teach Us to Lead by Example

It’s Wednesday, also known as Hump Day. Do you need to get over the hump? Here’s a quick prayer to help you finish this week strong!

So often it is easier for us to condemn others for their shortcomings rather than commend them for their successes, and the people we love to criticize the most are those who are put in charge. From our bosses at work, to our ministry leaders, to our children’s school teachers. Not even the president of the United States is safe from bad-mouthing constituents. There’s a difference between constructive criticism, which is given to help someone improve, and complaining, which is what most of us do when we talk about people in leadership.

How often do you complain about your leaders? Before you pass judgement on someone for their poor leadership skills, ask yourself, How am I being a good leader in my community? At some point in life, every one of us will have the opportunity to lead, whether it is as head of a household, captain of a team project, or lead driver in the neighborhood carpool. It is our responsibility to lead justly and fairly and to set a positive example for all those under us. The best way to learn how to be a better leader is by following the word of God.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” Matthew 23:15; NIV

In His seven woes to the teachers of the law and the Pharisees (Matthew 23:13-38), Jesus rebukes the Jewish leaders for their hypocrisy. These so-called “leaders” did everything but lead the people. They didn’t practice what they preached, they condemned others while they themselves were sinful, they manipulated the law to fit their own selfish needs, and worst of all, their poor leadership steered the people away from the promise of the kingdom.

These “religious leaders” called themselves children of God (John 8:41), and yet when God wrapped Himself in flesh and came down to earth to walk with and save His people, they wanted to kill Him! They were more concerned about themselves and continuing in their evil practices than they were the people, and a leader who doesn’t care about the people is a leader no one needs.

So now that we know what a good leader is not, how does the Bible describe for us the ideal leader? Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” As leaders, we should be examples of Christ. How are we exemplifying Christ in the way we lead? What are we doing to ultimately bring all the glory and honor back to God in heaven?

Christ calls us the light of the world in Matthew 5:14, and light isn’t corrupted by darkness but is mounted up to provide light to all around it. Likewise, we should have nothing to do with darkness (evil, sinful, selfish practices), but be that light that draws people to Christ. Further, Paul says in Romans 13:14 to “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” We should clothe ourselves in light. As Ephesians 5:8-9 says, we are light in the Lord, and the fruit of that light “consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth,” qualities of a good, godly leader.

“For this is what the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'” Acts 13:47

Are people still going to talk about you? Of course. Do we not still express our grievances against the president, even when he does something commendable? As such, people will always talk about you, whether you are doing good or evil, more so when you’re a follower of Christ. But as written in 1 Peter 3:17, it is better to suffer for doing good than evil, and those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ will eventually be put to shame for their slander (v. 16).

So continue to be that good leader God has called you to be. Walk in His Spirit, exemplifying its fruit— love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)—and avoid all hypocrisy as described in Matthew 23. Lead people back to Christ by being His example, and while you’re at it, try not to be so critical of your own leaders. Remember, the Bible says judge not lest you be judged.

God Bless.

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2

Hump Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us to lead by example. We want to be your light on this earth, exemplifying the fruit of your Spirit in our everyday lives so that others may glorify you in heaven. You’re word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. So lead us by your word. Direct our paths so that we may shine like light, being imitators of Christ, and leading the lost to salvation. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.