Two prayers by Scotty Smith may help you as you pray through challenging relationships in your life:
Archive for the ‘prayers’ Category
Dear heavenly Father, I begin this day humbled and repentant. I extend my empty hand to you trusting you to give me some of the same sufficient grace you gave Paul. Not only do I need your grace for owning and boasting in my weaknesses, but I need your grace so that I will stop despising weaknesses in others. I’ve had the attitude of a grumpy toddler, the self-righteous elder brother in Luke 15, and a serial killer in my heart. Like every day, I need the gospel today.
Though I’d love to justify myself, there is no such justification. I’m a selfish man who would love for everything and everyone to work in concert to give me an undisturbed, enjoyable, predictable life. Too often, I assume the right to green lights at every intersection, an open cash register when I’m ready to check out, and that the fish will be biting anytime I put a bait in the water.
What is worse, there are times when I don’t want people to fear the stuff they should fear, struggle with the same things I struggle with, or simply be the normal sinners that we all are. God, have mercy on me, the sinner. I am humbled to realize you never get irritated, annoyed or resentful of me.
Abba, Father, I’m so thankful that your love for me is steadfast and that I can count on new mercies every morning—including this morning, and all day long. I not only grieve my attitude, I do repent and abandon myself to the resources of the gospel.
Lord Jesus, I want and I need your power to rest on me and to settle my restless heart. I’ll not pray about next week or even tomorrow; just give me the manna of gospel kindness for this one day. Help me to respond gently and not react rigidly to the weaknesses of others. Help me to roll up my sleeves and not roll my eyes, when I meet brokenness, fragility and fear in others. Help me to love as you love me, for that is the bottom line and the top priority. So very Amen I pray, in your powerful loving name.
Lord, give me grace to hold righteousness in all things
that I may lead a clean and blessed life
and prudently flee evil
and that I may understand
the treacherous and deceitful falseness of the devil.
Make me mild, peaceable,
courteous, and temperate.
And make me steadfast and strong.
Also, Lord, give Thou to me that I be quiet in words
and that I speak what is appropriate.
- John Wycliffe (HT – Marc Cortez)
Part of Scotty Smith’s prayer on “A Victorious Prayer and a Fleeing Devil”
“Father, teach me more about resisting the devil with the gospel. Only the gospel frees us to see and own our weakness and susceptibility to the devil’s schemes. I purpose not to be sucker-punched by my arrogance and pride. Indeed, I need the gospel today as much as I did the first day you declared me to be righteous in your sight. I trust you in this moment for all the grace I’ll need to live for your glory this very day.
Accordingly, Lord Jesus, right now I submit to you as my Prophet, Priest, and King. You are our wisdom, our righteousness, our holiness and our redemption from God (1 Cor. 1:30). I boast in you plus nothing, for my standing and protection from God; for there’s nothing boast-worthy in me.
I’ll resist the devil’s deceitful and damning ways by looking unto you, Lord Jesus, pondering your beauty and bounty; your mercy and your might; your victory over evil and death, and your authority over all things.
With the eye of faith, I set my gaze on you, the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2). I’m not even going to glance at the devil as he flees, and flee he must. So very Amen I pray, in your powerful and triumphant name.
Morning Prayer by the preacher and churchman Petrus Dathenus (1531–1588) who put together the first complete church songbook for Dutch Reformed Christians in 1566:
O merciful Father, we thank Thee that Thou didst keep watch over us this past night, in Thy great faithfulness. We pray that Thou mayest strengthen and guide us henceforth by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may put this day as well as all the days of our life to the service of holiness and righteousness. Grant, we pray Thee, that in all our undertakings we may always have an eye single to Thy glory. May we ever labor in the consciousness of our dependence upon Thy beneficence for the success of our work.
We beseech Thee to forgive all our sins according to Thy promise, for the sake of the passion and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we are truly sorry for all our transgressions. Illumine our hearts, we pray Thee, that we may lay aside all works of darkness and as children of light may lead new lives in all godliness.
May it please Thee to bless us also as we engage in the proclamation of the divine Word. Frustrate all the works of the devil. Endue all the ministers of the Church who are faithful to Thee with strength, and make the magistrates of Thy people strong. Instill comfort in the hearts of all that are distressed, through Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son. For He has assured us that thou wilt surely grant us all that we ask of Thee in His Name, and has enjoined us to pray after this fashion, saying: Our Father who art in heaven, etc. Amen.
May grace also be given us, we pray Thee, to order our lives according to Thy will which thou didst reveal in Thy law as contained in the Ten Commandments: I am Jehovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me, etc. Amen.
An Evening Prayer by the preacher and churchman Petrus Dathenus (1531–1588) who put together the first complete church songbook for Dutch Reformed Christians in 1566:
O merciful God, light eternal shining in the darkness, Thou dispellest the night of our sins and the blindness of our hearts. Since Thou didst ordain that man should rest in the night and labor during the day, we pray Thee that our bodies may rest in peace and quiet, in order that they may be enabled to sustain the labors to which we shall again be called. Control our sleep and rule our hearts while we slumber, in order that we may not be defiled in either body or soul, but may glorify Thee even in our nightly rest. Enlighten once more, we beseech Thee, the eyes of our mind, lest we enter upon the sleep of death. Grant that we may ever cherish the expectation of our redemption from the misery of the life that now is. Defend us against all assaults of the devil and take us in Thy holy protection.
We confess that we have not spent this day without grievously sinning against Thee. We pray Thee to cover our sins in Thy mercy, even as Thou dost shroud all the things of earth in the darkness of the night, lest we be cast away from Thy face. Be pleased to bestow comfort and rest upon all that are sick, bowed down with grief, or afflicted with distress of soul, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who would have us pray, saying: Our Father who art in heaven, etc. Amen.i
By means of praying such prayers every morning and evening, we pour out our hearts before our Lord in response to His desire for us. In doing this, we grow in our relationship with Him.
Psalter Hymnal (Grand Rapids: Board of Publications of the Christian Reformed Church, Inc., 1976), 188–89.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.Gal. 6:2
Pastor Scotty Smith’s prayer based on this passage:
Dear Lord Jesus, the call to shoulder up under the burdens of friends and family drives us to you today. Otherwise we would simply turn and walk away, just like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). There are seasons when the needs around us seem to far exceed the resources within us. Where else can we go but to you?
Lord Jesus, it’s only because you bore the burden of the law’s demands and judgment for us; only because you say to us, “Cast all your care upon me, for I care for you” (1 Pet. 5:7); only because you call to us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28) that we can continue to show up and shoulder the many burdens of others.
Grant us grace not to be afraid of the emotional messiness that certain burdens bring. Help us know how to rely on your presence more than we rely on mere words. Help us to understand our limits, but even more so, help us be very aware of your limitless mercy, grace, power, and peace.
We pray for friends who are struggling in their marriages—feeling hopeless, angry and spent. Bring the power of your resurrection to bear. Humble one, then the second spouse. We pray for families with children who are acting out in destructive ways—bring these kids to gospel sanity, and grant their parents wisdom, forbearance and strength. We pray for friends facing great medical challenges with diminishing health care resources—grant your healing grace, and we ask you to sovereignly move within the health care industry. It is just as broken as our bodies are.
We pray for our churches—restore your people to the joy of your free and glorious grace. Pour our your Spirit upon our churches, and redemptively disrupt us. Forgive us for making too much of the wrong things. Rekindle the passion of first-love relationship with you in the hearts of pastors, elders and deacons. Do beyond all we could ask or imagine in our church families, Lord Jesus.
We bring all of these friends to your throne of grace, and we will seek to fulfill “the law of Christ”—the law of love, the way of the gospel—as you give us strength, wisdom, and grace. So very Amen we pray, in your persistent and sufficient name.
“We go astray with the priesthood of all believers when we think it means that we alone are responsible for our spiritual lives, mediating our own access to the Father. That’s a mistake. The priesthood of all believers emphasizes that we need no mediator other than Christ. He is the one who intercedes for us, accepting our faulty and broken attempts at worship, and presenting them to the Father as acceptable sacrifices. We are sub-priests at best, our acts of worship empowered by the Spirit and mediated by our High Priest, Jesus Christ.
When you just can’t pray, all is not lost. We have one who prays for us, kneeling by our side, interceding with the Father, saying what we can’t.”
–Marc Cortez in “When You Just Can’t Pray”
Scotty Smith begins this prayer for freedom from living for the approval of people:
Dear Lord Jesus, it’s not just apostles who need freedom from living for the approval of people; it’s all of us, it’s me. We can’t serve people well if our need for affirmation or fear of rejection is greater than our love for you. I need the power of the gospel to bring greater freedom in my life from this dangerous trap. Sometimes, what people think of me has more functional power over my attitude and choices than your grace, and that’s just not right.
He later prays:
Lord Jesus, I don’t want to live as an “approval suck,” and I don’t want to have an indifferent, hard heart. I do want to love others as you love me—and as you love them. It’s flat-out wrong for me to give anybody the power to control me through their affirmation or their rejection. It’s because of your perfect life offered for me that I can be free from living as a poser, pretender, and performer. It’s because of your death for me on the cross that I can live with the absolute assurance of God’s everlasting approval and his steady kindness.
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