PRAYER FOR THE UNFOCUSED [editor’s note: This is part of a series of guest posts by the lovely Kelly O’Dell Stanley. See her previous posts, Prayer for the Weary Parent and Prayer for the Overwhelmed by following the links!] Dear Lord, I’m so glad you …
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Prayer for Those Stuck In A Rut
[Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a series of devotionals by Praying Upside Down’s Kelly O’Dell Stanley. I am so grateful to have Kelly’s posts here on Devotional Diva. You can check out her other posts on prayer by following this link!]
This is for all of you people out there who love God but sometimes get bored. Who have had good prayer lives but sometimes feel like you’ve lost that spark. Will you please pray with me?
Lord, I love you, I do. That has never changed. I long to grow closer to you. I’m excited by the new things I discover in Your word, by the way I see You in prayer and in the changed lives around me.
But I don’t know how to maintain my passion for you. I struggle with staying focused and purposeful in prayer without falling into a rut.
Remind me that I don’t have to have the answers. That You will give me the ones I need, and that the other ones don’t matter.
Reveal Yourself to me in new ways all the time. Let me know You better and better. When I don’t hear from You, or when I feel dry and parched, let me know that doesn’t mean You’re not with me.
Renew my passion for You in ways that will wake up something in my spirit. Excite me, fill my mind with ideas, fill my heart with so much love for You that I can’t just sit back and keep it to myself.
Let me learn that prayer is valuable and I can’t have a good relationship with You without it. But at the same time, don’t let me squander it. I was never meant to keep You all to myself. Prayer equips me to reach out to others, so it shouldn’t stay within the walls of my house. Faith should be active—real, hands-on involvement in changing lives, in helping people carry their burdens, in pointing people to You as the answer for all of their questions and needs.
When I start to have doubts, when I feel bored, when I wonder if it’s worth the effort, help me to remember. Let me look back at the times when I have seen prayers answered in surprising and creative ways. Help me to recall the moments of insight, the surges of passion, the large and small changes You’ve helped me make in my life since I found You.
And when I get too focused on myself—on what I want and need and feel—gently nudge me until I notice the enormity of Your kingdom, the beauty of Your righteousness, the hope that You bring to hopeless and tragic situations, the love that You shower on all your people.
This faith of mine isn’t just for me. It’s meant to change me, and in turn, to change the lives of others. It’s meant to be a witness to nonbelievers, pointing them to the One they long to know. It’s intended to prepare me to live for You—which means to draw people together, to form lasting relationships, to model a content and joyful life. To show people what life can be like when we let You in, when we hand over the controls and break down those barriers and yield all power to You.
It’s exciting to contemplate all that You are and all that my relationship with You can be. I don’t have to bring the passion in to this relationship; I just need to open my heart to You and the passion will come. The ruts won’t feel constraining, but will instead guide me to exactly where I need to be. The boredom will turn to adventure. And You will make all things new. Because You are the God of possibility, of expansion, of miraculous change and surprising answers. And oh how I love You!
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Kelly O’Dell Stanley: Full of doubt and full of faith, Kelly is the author of Praying Upside Down and Designed to Pray. She lives in small-town Indiana, where she operates her own graphic design business, reads too much and cleans too little, and thrives on coffee and deep discussions with friends.
Would you like a colorful reminder to get your prayers started every day? Subscribe to my newsletter at www.kellyostanley.com/downloads and you can download monthly prayer prompt calendars (and other freebies).
Prayer for the Distracted [Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a series of guest posts on prayer by Kelly O’Dell Stanley! Check out the previous prayers for the… Overwhelmed, Weary Parent, Unfocused, Comparer.] Dear Lord, I’m so glad that I can come to You at any time. But …
Prayer for the Comparer [Editor’s Note: This is the latest installment in a series of devotionals by Kelly O’Dell Stanley. Check out Prayer for the Unfocused, Prayer for the Weary Parent and Prayer for the Overwhelmed by following the links!] I confess my tendency to look at …
Prayer for the Weary Parent
[editor’s note: This is part of a series of guest posts by Kelly O’Dell Stanley. See her last post, Prayer for the Overwhelmed here!]
Lord, I am so tired.
Yes, of course I love my children. I adore them. I’m grateful for them, for their own unique quirks and personalities, for the ways they make me laugh, for the joys they’ve brought into my life. I sometimes look at them in wonder—usually as they sleep—amazed by Your creation. Awed by their perfection. Humbled by the powerful emotions they bring out in me. Honored to be given the chance to be part of their life, to be in a position to influence and teach and guide.
But at the same time, I’m weary. It’s hard to be a parent, to make decisions that aren’t easy and won’t make me popular. It’s difficult to enforce the rules, day after day, to monitor behavior and ask them to pick things up and remind them to do homework and to not take it personally every time they resist. To not be hurt by disrespect and disagreement and rebellion, whether large or small.
It’s exhausting, constantly fighting to get my kids to see reason. It’s challenging to know that I can’t make all their choices for them. I can’t protect them from bad decisions, I can’t ensure they never face harsh consequences, and I can’t do everything for them.
And really, I don’t want to. I offered them to You when they were born, and I trust You to lead them and take care of them. I want them to learn from their experiences and I believe they are strong enough, smart enough, and capable enough to succeed (in all the different kinds of ways we measure success). I don’t want to overstep my bounds. As my friend Lisa told me once, our job as parents is to put ourselves out of a job. To teach our kids what they need to know to live. To love. To respect and honor and obey and be productive.
And to lean on You. Because if there is one thing I do know, it is that life is hard. Even when it looks like we have it all together. The only way to get through is to turn towards You, to allow You to teach us individually, personally, in whatever ways we each learn best.
So, Lord, help me lean on You today. Let my kids see that even though I’m not perfect, my mistakes are made out of a desire to protect them, which stems from the amazing depths of the love a parent feels for a child. Let them see that, no matter what they face, it’s better to go through it with You than without You. You can lift the burdens which are too heavy, and enrich the good moments beyond measure. You will shine light into the darkness that they will inevitably face. You will reveal that which is a mystery in the right time. You will endure that which seems too hard to bear. And You will emerge victorious, with them by Your side.
While I wait, while I watch them develop into the people You knew they would become, let me be gracious. Let me cheer them on and not drag them down. Let me hold my tongue when they need to listen instead for You. Let me be a safe place for them to return, an unending source of love to come home to. Restore my weary soul, physically and emotionally. Remind me that You are in control so I don’t have to be. Show me how to relinquish my grasp on their lives and live in faith, how to turn my worrying into prayer.
As You help them grow, do the same for me. Because if anyone understands the turmoil of a parent’s love for a child, it is You. If anyone knows what it means to watch our kids go through hard things and not step in, it is You. If anyone understands the unending, deep and passionate and desperate love we feel, it is You.
The enormity of that takes my breath away, and I know once again the complete truth: We could not be in better hands. Thank You, Jesus. I love You.
Kelly O’Dell Stanley: Full of doubt and full of faith, Kelly is the author of Praying Upside Down and Designed to Pray (August 2016). She lives in small-town Indiana, where she operates her own graphic design business, reads too much and cleans too little, and thrives on coffee and deep discussions with friends. Download free monthly prayer prompt calendars at prayingupsidedown.com.
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