Morning: A Prayer (FMF Link-up)

You know when a night comes if it will become a night season. You know. I do not. You know. And gracious God, You who are my Maker, You give songs in the night.

You enabled Paul and Silas to sing at midnight in a prison after their clothes were torn from them and they had been severely beaten. You enabled them to sing, dear Father. And You who give songs and grace in the night seasons and remain with us throughout the night, You assure us that morning will come and with it joy.

And when the morning comes, may I, like the psalmist David, sing of Your mighty strength and power; yes, sing joyfully of Your lovingkindness in the morning. For You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress. To You, O God my strength, I will sing praises. For God, You are  my stronghold, my refuge, my protector, my high tower, the God who shows me steadfast lovingkindness. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. The writing prompt is, “Morning.” The verses of Scripture mentioned in the post, in the order shared, are Job 35:10 (NKJV); Acts 16:22-25 (NKJV); Psalm 30:5 (HCSB); Psalm 59:16-17 (AMP); Psalm 5:3 (NKJV). This post took a tad longer than five minutes.


I am joining (on a Monday), the Five Minute Friday writing community hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. The writing prompt is, “Teach.” Scripture images and the link to C. T. Stubbs’ poem were added after the allotted five minutes period had ended.

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“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.”
(Psalm 90:1-2; emphasis added).

The verses above are the opening statements of a prayer of Moses. Perhaps it was his privilege of experiencing God as no other human did before the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, that shaped his prayer. His awareness that God has always existed. That unlike mankind, His existence is not counted in days.

I do not know when he prayed this prayer. He lived to be 120 years. Whenever he wrote it, he understood the transient nature of our time on earth and prayed, “So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12, NKJV). Other translations read:

“Teach us how short our lives really are so that we may be wise.” (Psalm 90:12, ICB)

“Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept your correction.” (TPT).

“Teach us to use wisely all the time we have.” (CEV).

Which ever translation we favor, the truth remains – we need God’s help to use wisely the time He has allotted us. As, C. T. Studd wrote, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Sustenance from the archives+: Audience

Sustenance from the archives+ (20)

“The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins,” and he made her queen instead of Vashti (Esther 2:17). All this was true but Esther did not have the freedom to enter the king’s presence without his permission. She could not even request an audience with him. To violate the protocol was to risk death. King Ahasuerus was a powerful man who could end someone’s life on a whim. How amazing, incomprehensible it is that Elohim, the Almighty God, the Ancient of Days, Yahweh, invites us into His presence and tells us to come boldly. We do not have to request an audience with the King of Kings; we have unlimited access to His throne because of Jesus.

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16, NKJV).

Today’s post is for Day 20 of the series, “Sustenance from the archives+,” that is part of the 31 Days Free Writes writing challenge. The post is one of the “+” in the series title “…archives+,” in that is freshly minted. The prompt is, “Audience.” To read Day 19’s post please click on the link below.

Day 19: Who

Monday Vitamins: A Child’s Bedtime Prayer

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As a child, I learned the words, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake. I pray to God my soul to take.” I repeated them religiously every night for many years, as my bedtime prayer. Today, I learned that the words are part of, “A Child’s  Bedtime Prayer,” by Henry Johnstone. I read the entire prayer for the first time today and realized that this childhood bedtime prayer, holds truths which are relevant for my adult life:

  • Committing my soul to my heavenly Father’s care is my best choice, in every phase of life and at its end.
  • For the length of my days, I need Him to guide me.
  • God’s eyes are on me and He is my Protector.
  • Praying for and helping others must be a central part of my life.

What truths do you see in this bedtime prayer?

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray to God my soul to take.
If I should live for other days,
I pray the Lord to guide my ways.

Father, unto thee I pray,
Thou has guarded me all day;
Safe I am while in thy sight,
Safely let me sleep tonight
Bless my friends, the whole world bless;
Help me to learn helpfulness;
Keep me every in thy sight;
So to all I say good night.




Christ, at home in our hearts

“And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in Him…” (Ephesians 3:17, TLB)

A friend of several decades means it when she tells a guest, “Make yourself at home.”  The first time I spent the weekend with her and her family, during the early days of our friendship, after taking me to the guest bedroom to deposit my bags, she walked me into the kitchen. There she opened cabinet doors and the refrigerator to familiarize me with the contents.  We moved on through other rooms in the house with my friend opening doors to reveal where items such as extra bed linen, towels, etc. were stored. Then to the family room in the basement, where she demonstrated how to use the television and other devices. My friend made it clear that her home was mine for the duration of the current visit and all future ones.

As I read and reread the words, “And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living with you as you trust in Him,” I wondered about the reality of Jesus being at home in my heart, as I was in my friend’s home. And I thought of a song I sang as a child:

Into my heart, into my heart
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus
Come in today, come in to stay
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus

I invited Him in as a child but Ephesians 3:17 invites me to reflect on whether He is fully at home in my grown-up heart as He was in my childhood heart. Is Christ increasingly at home there, “living within” as I trust in Him? If He is not “more and more at home” in my heart how will I know, and what then needs to happen in my heart to make this a reality?  Are there doors I closed over the years which I need to unlock to give Him unrestrained access?  Walls which need to be demolished?

What about you?

Let us commit to taking whatever steps are necessary for Him to be “more and more at home” in our hearts.

Monday Vitamins: Rooted in His Love

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And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high His love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God Himself.” (Ephesians 3:17-19, TLB)

Wednesay evening prayer

It is Wednesday evening and the Cross is on my mind
The Cross and The Lamb and His willing submission to the Father’s will in all forms

It is Wednesday evening and the longing is there to keep His death, burial, and resurrection center place in my heart, mind, and spirit
Center place in my decisions and my interactions with other image bearers
Center place in my secret places
Bringing them to the Light
Causing any idols hidden there to be reduced to ashes
Center place in my broken places
Offering them up for the healing He paid for with His torn flesh

The thing is, Father, You know I have felt these longings before
But they did not translate into sustained action or change
Show me how to make them so, Abba
Show me how

Lead me to the Cross by Hillsong

Monday Vitamins: Praying Ephesians 3:16-19

 “May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].


May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,


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That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];


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[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified Bible)

Prepare Him Room

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room…

Prince William and his wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, are in NY as I write this. I acknowledge unashamedly that I cannot fully imagine all that was necessary to prepare for their visit. I think also of my own preparations when a family member is coming to visit. There are all the different tasks, none which feels onerous, to prepare the guest room just so. There is also the anticipation of the arrival which makes me smile wide and often.

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room…

My preparations for Christmas Day began the Saturday after Thanksgiving. My tree with its gold snowflakes, balls, ribbons, and clear lights is completely decorated. The mantle above the fireplace has a similar color scheme, combined with a Nativity scene, framed by three red cranberry spice scented candles and two angels, one at each end. A wreath with four battery operated candles are components of the center piece on the coffee table. A wreath hangs on my front door. The menu is a work in progress as are the decorations for the dining room table.

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room…

What about the preparations of my heart? How am I preparing my heart for Him, my King, this Christmas? How am I preparing myself to celebrate Christmas so that He, my Savior, is truly the focus of the celebration of His birthday? Umm. “Let every heart prepare Him room.”

Scents of Christmas

“Cranberry spice,” was the label on one candle. I imagined the candle on the mantle of my fireplace and placed three in my cart. On another shelf, the label on a red packet proclaimed, “Red Hot Cinnamon: Luxurious Simmering Potpourri.” I picked up the packet and the scent of cinnamon teased my nose. I inhaled and could imagine the scent filling my home.

Scents. They are such an essential part of Christmas.

Freshly baked bread.


Pumpkin-Pie-ImageA natural Christmas tree.

Christmas-Tree-Natural-Wallpapers-3Pine Cones.

Pine_cone_edit I am thinking also of another scent that can permeate our lives this Christmas season as we engage in every activity, including standing in long lines to purchase groceries and gifts. The scent I am thinking of is that of prayer. In Psalm 141:2, David prayed, “Let my prayer be like incense offered before You, and my uplifted hands like the evening sacrifice.”

Revelation chapter 5 paints a gripping scene in which the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, Who is also the Lamb, takes center place and is worshiped. He is worshiped by angels, and elders, and the living creatures, and every creature in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea. In the midst of this awe inspiring scene, our prayers are mentioned. Verse 8 states, “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (emphasis added). Our prayers are incense to the One Who sits on the Throne and to the Lamb.

incenseWhat would happen if this incense permeates our lives this Christmas? What if we prayed for each person on our Christmas card and/or gift list? Prayed as we purchased their gift and/or wrapped it? What if we prayed for the impatient person ahead of us in line? The frazzled cashier? The person who cuts us off in traffic? The postal worker or whomever it is who delivers our mail this Christmas season? For those who are without whatever we are enjoying in a given moment … warmth, shelter, fellowship, a meal? What if we prayed for ourselves … that His peace will flood our hearts, that we will chose joy, that we quiet our souls in His presence, that we remain focused on Him Who is both the Giver of every good and perfect gift and the Gift? What if we prayed as we never have before during previous Christmases?

The prayers mentioned above involve petitions but I pray that our prayers also be prayers of worship, praise and thanksgiving. Prayers in which we do not make any requests; instead we worship Him for Who He is. Prayers in which we praise and thank Him for what He has done and is doing. Prayers in which we thank Him for loving us and we express our love to Him.

May our lives be scented with prayer this Christmas.

Photo Credits: Bread. Pumpkin Pie. Tree. Pine Cone. Incense.