Prayer Journal – Petitions

The last part of the model prayer for the disciples consists of petition for three things.  Because I have a certain penchant for alliteration, I’ll call these petitions:

  • provision
  • pardon, and
  • protection

breadOne of the names of God that stood out to me was Jehovah Jireh, which means “The Lord shall provide”.  It was used in the OT when Abraham’s faith was put to the test and a ram in the thicket was provided, sparing Isaac’s life.  Through the Old Testament, there are pictures of this provision.  One of the most vivid examples is the provision of manna to the children of Israel as they wandered in the desert.

   Manna was gathered daily when God provided for His people wandering in the desert.  Since we are told that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God, (Matthew 4:4) it’s fairly clear that collecting His words and applying them to our lives on a daily basis is as nourishing and beneficial to our spiritual health as food is to our body.  Remember, manna didn’t keep to the next day…the children of Israel had to go out every day and collect it for use that day…same with God’s word.  What we ate last week just doesn’t taste the same after being reheated and served night after night.  In the same way, what we learned yesterday on our journey was used to nourish us and build us up, doesn’t taste as fresh the next day.  No wonder we find God’s word “stale” and “dry”.  If we haven’t gathered our bread for today, we are resorting to munching on stale dry leftover manna from yesterday’s feast.

Now, we know from Scripture that Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1) who came from heaven (John 17), and He boldly refers to Himself in John 6 as the “Living Bread that came down from heaven…that gives life to the world” (John 6:32, 51).  In doing so, Jesus is not merely comparing Himself to this manna, but actually earnestly laying claim to actually being that same manna that was provided for the wandering Israelites in the desert.  He goes on in this chapter to further baffle, confront, and completely gross out many of his followers.  These same people who had followed him, listened to Him teach, watched Him perform miraculous deeds, tasted of His provision, and hailed him as a prophet after seeing the miracle of the fish and loaves just yesterday, are now confused, irritated, and disgusted at the mental picture of His words today.

When His former fans turned to leave Him, Jesus did not recant His words.  He didn’t correct them for misunderstanding his intention, or  sugar-coat His message to make it palatable.  He could have kept His numbers up here; all He had to do was make His flesh and blood regular bread and grape juice…or a symbol of a deeper spiritual truth.  But He didn’t.  In fact, each time He reiterated his clarification, His terminology got more specific and graphic.  He went from talking about being bread sent from heaven, to the importance of eating, consuming, or devouring His body as a meal (Strong’s 5315), and finally to gnawing, crunching or chewing his flesh (Strong’s 5176).  So greatly repulsed were they, that the Bible says that many of them turned back and no longer followed Him.

Jesus is still the answer to our petition for provision, and continues to offer Himself as our daily bread.   Today, His followers are posed the same question Jesus asked His disciples then.  “Will you leave also?”  Those disciples who continued to follow did so for the sake of eternal life.  And they did so with the understanding that partaking of His body was essential to eternal life.  So it is with His followers today.  Where else would we go?  He alone has the words of eternal life.


Jehovah Jireh showed Himself as “Provider” again  years later on Mount Calvary, when He provided the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  It’s true, when we sin, we fall short of God’s glory, we offend His nature, and hurt His heart.  We are in need of His mercy and pardon for our sin, and it comes natural for us to ask, knowing that He is all-forgiving, and all-loving, and desires our fellowship.

When we sin, that sin doesn’t only offend the heart and the nature of God, and affect our relationship/fellowship with Him, but we also hurt the community of fellowship that He has established, in His body, the Church.  In other words, when we make a mess of things, often it gets on others as well as ourselves and God.  If, as John 17 states, the world sees Jesus and knows that He has been sent by God by the way His followers function and relate to others, then sin against the body of Christ also affects my witness to the world that Jesus is Lord.  My mess affects my message.

I have such a hard time with this part of the Lord’s prayer.  My nature wants to hold onto hurt, rehearse it, coddle it…pick at the scab, and blame someone else for the wound in me that will not heal.  But according to this verse, I have to extend to others who have offended and wounded me, that same mercy and pardon that I ask from the Lord for myself.  And just in case I thought I could weasel out of it, He gets super specific and doesn’t pull any punches when He spells it our clearly for us.  It’s almost like He knew we would need further clarification, so he draws us an “if/then” picture: 

I illustrated this in my prayer journal by turning all the T’s into crosses.  It helps me to remember the price of my own forgiveness was the laying down of His life when Jesus died on the cross.  In the same way, I am called to take up my cross and follow Him.  And that cross is heavy to carry, but it’s even heavier when I realize the destination of that cross…death.

For me, this is another bag of M&Ms.  I find myself hurt all over again by a past offense against me, and I have to hoist up that cross again, and carry it to Calvary,  I truly believe actively pursuing this thought is a key to our process of sanctification, becoming holy, here in this sin-stained world.  Only when I die to myself, can I extend forgiveness to others and receive pardon for myself.


“I am the good Shepherd…”

Because this final petition for protection brings to my mind a picture of our Good Shepherd, I chose to illustrate this page with a staff.  A staff is a multi-purpose walking stick that provides balance for the shepherd and protection for the sheep, as it can be used along the hike to check for dangerous undergrowth, prod a wandering sheep back into the fold, or rescue a wayward or fallen one.

One of my favorite Mother’s day celebrations was the year my children and my husband all pitched in together to surprise me with a picture of a shepherd climbing down the backside of a cliff that overlooks a deep canyon, reaching down to a lamb that had gone astray and found herself in a predicament.  There is a bird of prey hovering above, just waiting for the sheep’s demise.  Thankfully, the shepherd noticed one was missing.  In his love and mercy, He left the other 99 safe in the fold to seek out the one that would otherwise perish.
How often I have identified with that sheep.  I am easily distracted, and find myself in a predicament before I even realize I have separated myself from the Shepherd and the rest of the flock.  I feel isolated and alone, and sometimes I fall, and I need to be rescued.  Jesus lovingly uses the crook of his staff to pull me back to a place of comfort and guidance…then, he continues to lead me.
I love that He leads us.  I really, really love the doctrine of free will.  As a new creation, I am no longer a slave to sin, and I have the freedom to obey.  He continues to lovingly teach me that the benefits of saying yes to God far outweigh the consequences of wandering off on my own, yet He still gives me the choice to love and follow and hears my prayers to be protected from temptation, and delivered from evil.

His prayer for us – part 3

Of all the flowers that God created, the Sunflower is probably the most fascinating.  Did you know that when they are growing and developing, they literally follow the sun?  Even after it has set, for all 360 degrees of the sun’s path around the earth, a sunflower stays oriented to the sun.  The video above illustrates this phenomena.  Can you imagine the unity of a whole field of sunflowers, all oriented to the sun? As believers, we can show this same kind of unity by our orientation to “the Son”.

The third chunk of Jesus’ prayer for His disciples, is specifically first for His Church, as he states in v 20 ““I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word…”  and also for the world.

He asks that:

  • His disciples be one (unity), as He is one with the Father
  • the world (seeing the unity of the church) may believe that the Father has sent the Son
  • His disciples would be with Him where He is
  • His disciples would see His glory
  • the world would know Him and experience His love

I don’t know about you, but this part of Jesus’ prayer is humbling and encouraging, and overwhelming all rolled up into one emotion.  If my connection with fellow believers testifies to the unbelieving world that God sent Jesus, I feel a certain amount of self-expectation and pressure to be faithful.  I want to imitate and please the Lord, but there is a conflict in my spirit at times, because I don’t always feel “one” with my brothers and sisters; not only do we fail to be on the same page, but often it feels like we aren’t even in the same library…and to be honest, some days I don’t even want to.  There are some in my spiritual family that challenge me greatly in this area (sometimes, they even share my living space with me).  It is especially convicting to be reminded that how I react to them is a witness to an unbelieving world of my oneness with Christ, and His oneness with the Father.

We have the opportunity…and the responsibility to participate in the answer to this part of Jesus’ prayer.  Jesus said that the world would know we are followers of Him by the love that we have for one another, and here He says that by seeing our oneness, the world can experience God’s love.  Does the world see our love for one another?  Does the world see a difference in the way we treat others?  Do our lives as believers orient to the Son:

  • In purpose?
  • In fellowship?
  • In bearing one another’s burdens?
  • In love?

What about in areas of disagreements, personality conflicts, or doctrinal differences?  How does the world see us when things are not easy?  If my unbelieving neighbor or unsaved friend doesn’t see love in my life, or if they see me in habitual conflict with those around me, I have failed in my personal responsibility as a disciple of Christ to seize the opportunity to introduce and orient them to God, and fulfill the Great Commission of His Son.

Like that field of sunflowers, we experience unity only if we are all focused on the same external point of reference.   We can accomplish this by joining in prayer with Jesus prayer for us, as we pray for one another in agreement with His will for His body on earth.

Being a “Son follower” not only will be a testimony of God’s love to a world looking for authenticity and truth, but also allows us to catch a glimpse of His glory, as Jesus prayed we would.

Prayer Journal – Let Thy Kingdom Come

kingdom comeWhen Mary and Joseph “lost” Jesus, and “found” him in the synagogue teaching the teachers, they asked why he would behave this way and cause them anxiety.  If we want to follow and imitate Him,  His answer should give us a clue to our mission.  He answered;  “didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2)

As His followers, we need to be about our Father’s business.  When we pray “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, we are recognizing that His will in heaven is our business here on earth, and when we pray for His Kingdom to come, we are lining ourselves up with and agreeing with His will for His Kingdom.  If we are boldly praying for His Kingdom to come, it would behoove us to know what His kingdom looks like.  I think we get a great insight into this by the example Jesus set for us in His prayer  in John 17.

According to this passage, His will is:

  • …that He be glorified in me so that He can bring glory to the Father.
  • …that I know Him.  And as a result of knowing Him, I have eternal life in Him.
  • …that we (His followers) be one, as He and the Father are one…His will is unity in the Spirit.
  • …to have His joy made complete in me.
  • …that I would be sanctified in His word, that is truth.
  • …that the world will know God loves them and will believe Jesus was sent from God by looking at me, and seeing my relationship in Christ.
  • …that God’s love will be in me, and that Jesus Himself will be in me.

thy will

Here I wrote out my favorite answer to the question “What does God want me to do?  What is His will for me?”  I actually learned to sing this Scripture when I was young, and it has never left me.

You can read more of my thoughts on this here.


I was meditating on this part of the verse as John 17’s words about unity and oneness with the Father, Son, and one another reverberated through my mind, mingled with parts of the Apostle’s creed.  His will (according to John 17) is that we be one…and according to this model of prayer that He gave us, we are to pray that His will be done on earth, as in heaven.  He has one body, and we are all part of one another, here on earth as well as in heaven.

This is a vivid picture of the communion of the saints that is taught and professed in the apostles creed.  Though they have gone from this life on earth to REAL life, eternal life in heaven, a departed saint is still part of the “body of Christ”.  Dying has not disconnected them from Christ’s body of believers, otherwise, where would they go?  Christ only has one body, and it is comprised of those here on earth, as well as those in heaven.

I believe they are part of that cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12 that is watching and cheering us on in our journey (the race), and they can and do continue to pray to the Father for us.  They haven’t left or been removed from His body, they are still active participants in His will at the feet of “our Father in heaven”, just as we are present in His body, the church, here on earth.  We are still one body, and we are held together, connected in purpose and spirit, by the Son, in whom we find unity one with another, as He prayed we would.

Our Father


His Prayer For Us (Part 2)

John 17: 4-19

We’ve established context, and we’ve talked about the first three verses of John 17.  After asking to be glorified for doing the work His father gave Him, He turns his attention to the second main part of this prayer, that is focusing specifically on praying for His disciples.

Here Jesus affirms that these disciples:

  • were given to Him by God the Father from the world
  • have kept God’s word
  • know that everything Jesus told them is from God
  • have received His words
  • know the truth that God sent Jesus, and know that He came from God

He asks on behalf of the disciples that God has given him, and then states that they belong to the Father.  This sets up the next part of this passage where Jesus claims to be one with God the Father, boldly stating “what’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine”, then testifies that they (the disciples that God gave to Him from the world) have glorified Him, the Son.

Are you catching all the glorifying going on so far?  The disciples have glorified Jesus, Jesus glorifies the Father, and asks that the Father glorify Him.  That is a lot of glory being passed back and forth.  As He reminds the Father again of the faithful work He has done with them so far, Jesus requests four specific things for His disciples:

  • for their protection
  • for their unity (or oneness)
  • for His joy to be made complete in them
  • for their sanctification

I wonder what would happen if we, the Body of Christ, began to faithfully pray Jesus’ prayer here, each for the other.  I want to add this into my prayer book so that I can remember it.  Can you imagine, if we prayed for protection and unity like we prayed for our health, or our finances?  Or for our brothers and sisters to have God’s joy made complete in them?  How about the big five-syllable word there?  The million dollar word, sanctification.  Nobody even talks like that anymore, maybe we should know what it means before we start putting it on our brothers and sisters in Christ…and ourselves!

Sanctify, according to Merriam Webster has four possible meanings, that all kind of go together, when we are talking about the process in our lives.

  1. to set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use (consecrate).
  2. to free from sin (purify).
  3. a : to impart or impute sacredness, inviolability, or respect to b : to give moral or social sanction to
  4. to make productive of holiness or piety <observe the day of the sabbath, to sanctify it — Deuteronomy 5:12(Douay Version)

Sanctify them in your truth — I never realized how packed those five words were until tonight.  I’m still letting them sink in.

To put legs on this phrase…Jesus was asking that His followers be set apart for a particular use (in context, I would say for the purpose of bringing Him glory), that we would be free from sin (made pure), and free from being violated, kept sacred and respected.  Because we live in a fallen world, this is a process…every day, every hour, moment by moment, we have to be “sanctified” as we walk out our walk.

If this were a real ladies retreat, I would have placed at your tables a 1/2 pt. Mason jar filled with M&M’s to remind you of your need for His sanctifying power in your life “Moment by Moment”  If you are so inclined, you can make one for yourself, tie a pretty bow or a piece of rafia around the lid, and never see a bag of M&M’s the same way again.  🙂

if I were to imitate the Lord’s prayer for His disciples, it might sound something like this:

Father in heaven, my brothers and sisters are in this world that misunderstands and hates us because of our love and devotion to You; guard and protect us as we strive to be in it without adopting its standards to our lives.  Keep us free from sin and safe from the traps that the enemy sets for us, as we follow in your steps.

Help us to realize that we are here for one another, and bind us together in Your  perfect love, so that we can all be one in Your Spirit, as you are one with the Father.

Lord, we know that this world is not our home, and we are trusting you to make your joy complete in us as we focus on our future hope with you in heaven.  But while we are here, Lord, sanctify us.  Cleanse us and make us pure.  Set us apart, make us sacred, keep us from being violated, help us do the right thing, make us holy and ready to accomplish your perfect will in your truth. Your word is truth, hide it in our hearts, and keep us mindful of your truth and our purpose.

In the precious Name of Jesus, who set the example for us to follow,  Amen.


Prayer Journal – Our Father

9 Pray then like this:  First, how not to pray…now, the instruction of how rather to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven, — I love that God is not just Jesus’ Father…and he’s not just my Father…but our Father.  I am not an only child here!  I have a huge family unit consisting of brothers and sisters, spanning the globe and the ages.  We are one big family!  “Father” is a personal, intimate term.  It indicates a family relationship, of favor, love, nurturing and protection.  We might not have the best example in our earthly fathers, but everything that we would expect and respect in our own earthly daddy, God is to us, and infinitely more.  In fact, He sets the bar for earthly fathers, even the best daddy in this world will fall short of the excellency of our Heavenly Father.

Hallowed be thy name.

God’s name and very essence is “hallowed” which means holy, or consecrated (set apart…above all) sacred, or revered  (I’d be getting WAY AHEAD of myself here if I took you on the bunny trail of the word sanctification…we’ll get to it in a bit, I promise).  While we are not the ones doing the “hallowing”, by observing and understanding the holy, sacred nature of God’s Name, we participate in an act of worship to Our Father, God.  It is  the first step in adoration, that is, recognizing  and reverencing Him for who He is, apart from what He’s done/is doing. By the way, if you’ve never done a personal study on the names of God, you are missing out on some wonderful heart knowledge.  I love the thought of incorporating God’s names and attributes into my prayers, but often my mind goes blank and I can’t bring them to mind.  Having a list handy during my prayer time would be helpful, so I decided to devote one page of my prayer journal to the attributes of God, and another to the names that are recorded of His.

Our Father_Hallowed Names_Attributes

This was a lofty plan, I found as I began a crash course on the attributes/names of God, using this site.    Wow.  I knew there was not enough room on my page to list them all (further proof that our God cannot and will not be contained).  I finally just chose the ones that are relevant to me where I am on my journey today.  Eventually, I plan to do an in-depth study of the names of God, I’ll write the Hebrew name on one side of an open page, and the English meaning on the other.  For now, because of limited space, I gave myself permission to write only the English meaning of the Hebrew name.  Since God is both perfect and multilingual, I figure He’s okay with me not butchering the Hebrew when calling on Him.

What about you?   Do you find it helpful to focus you attention on His attributes when you address Him by name?  What are the names/attributes of God that you focus on when you pray?

TipUnfortunately, even with the pages doubled, my marker bled through to the opening page of my journal.  To prevent this, on future pages, I illustrated first (with an index card underneath the page(s)  I’m coloring), then glued when finished.

Let Thy Kingdom Come