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Back-To-School Prayers, Puritan Style

As school gets started here in the South, naturally you’re praying about teachers, schedules, activities, friends, stressworkload etc. But as you think of these modern-day concerns, it’s good to know that there were prayers prayed a few centuries ago that could bring your prayers today to a whole new level. What if you took a few minutes to pray like a Puritan?

“Lord of the Cloud and Fire, all intellect is derived from You.”

“O Most High, may I never be satisfied with my present spiritual progress.”

“O Lord of the Oceans, the voyage is long and the waves high, but my helm is held steady, Your Word secures safe passage, and Your grace wafts me onward.”

“Lord Jesus Great High Priest, every new duty calls for more grace than I now possess.”

“All-Sufficient King, may Your goodness always lead me to repentance.”

“Compassionate Lord, here is my blind understanding, chase away its mists of ignorance.”

“O God the Author of All Good, teach me how to use the world, and not abuse it, to improve my talents, to redeem my time, and to walk in wisdom toward those without.”

“Almighty God, may my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound Your praise.”

“My Dear Lord, wrap my life in Divine Love that I may be fitted for doing and suffering.

“Lord of Immortality, expel from my mind all sinful fear and shame, and stay my mind on Your peace, knowing that nothing can befall me without Your permission, appointment and administration.”

“O God Most Glorious, Your presence alone can make me holy, devout, strong, and happy.”

“Father of Jesus, let my happy place (yes it really does say that) be among the poor in spirit. Let me always esteem others better than myself.”

“Maker and Sustainer of All Things, deliver me from worldly dispositions that I may be a glory to You and an example to others.”

“O Very Great God, send me Your help, for your appointments are not meant to make me independent of You.”

“O Christ, bring me speedily to the land of joy.”

Taken from The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:

Consider making one of these pure prayers a theme for your upcoming school year.

Look up more Puritan prayers to suit your needs and desires. Enjoy the creativity and freshness they will bring to your prayer life.

Journal your favorites and find the Scriptures they are based upon.

Pray like a Puritan for yourself and for others. And enjoy the peace these beautiful prayers can bring you as they help you keep your mind centered on His Word, holiness, divinity, and power.

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thess. 5:17)

Where Are You On The Praying-With-Your-Spouse Spectrum?

Being married, especially if you have kids, comes with pressing demands and responsibilities. When discussing schedules and logistics, it can be a good opportunity to evaluate your prayer time to see if any change is desired. Consider where you might plot intercession if you and your spouse were looking at a prayer scale:

On one extreme of the continuum could be no spouse prayer time at all, not even saying grace together. Then, on the other end could be the example of ministry couple, Eric and Leslie Ludy who sometimes pull all-nighters of prayer together! But don’t be discouraged or intimidated if you and your spouse are much closer to the first end of the spectrum than the second.

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:

Check out Cindi McMenamin’s article, “Why is it so Hard to Pray with my Spouse” (found here). She lists some common dilemmas to praying together, which are very validating and accepting of where you might be with regards to prayer. Then, she offers some fresh, realistic solutions that can definitely help you see that praying as a couple doesn’t have to be overwhelming or unrealistic. In fact, her suggestions are quite motivating no matter what your prayer experiences have been. The Enemy wants to make husbands and wives think praying together is unnecessary, too hard, or too awkward. But you can allow the Lord to use this article to move you to a simple and powerful place with prayer – and you will feel closer to one another as well.

If it becomes right for you and your spouse, you don’t have to make McMenamin’s ideas your end goal. When you’re ready, you can check out Eric & Leslie Ludy’s book, “Wrestling Prayer, A Passionate Communion with God” and ask the Lord to unite your hearts for this kind of prayer life in your marriage.

Even a few new efforts can be far-reaching. Paul talks about two chief activities of a married couple: sex and prayer (1 Cor. 7:5). When you’re teaching the young people in your life that waiting for marriage makes sex great, also give them a vision for a future marriage that makes prayer great!

A Prayer Sheet for Parents & Grandparents of Campers & Travelers

If a child in your life is going away to camp this summer, or perhaps to another country for a mission trip, you may feel worried at times and wish you knew the most comforting, power-filled ways to pray. And maybe you’re also quite busy yourself and wish you had a convenient resource to help make prayer easier on the fly. Finally, some of you are preparing to send a child to boot camp or college for the first time and while your heart is already full of prayers, you might be looking for new ideas for applying Scripture to your requests. If any of these apply to you, the following is a guide to help you.

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:

God, thank You for the comfort of knowing You have engraved (__________) on the palm of Your hands. (Is. 49:16)

I praise You that You never sleep; but always watch Your children. And You’ve even gone before (__________) to this place. (Deut. 31:8; Ps. 121:3)

As well as I know this child, Father, You are perfectly acquainted with and watchful of  (__________’s) ways. (Ps. 139:3)

Help (_____________) to be outwardly focused and not self-absorbed during this time away. (Heb. 13:16; Phil. 2:4)

Lord, give (_____________) discernment to see harmful teachings, lifestyles and activities while away from my instruction. Provide strength to live for Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5)

Father, use this time away to grow (______________) in ways that I cannot bring about at home. (Lk. 1:80)

Jesus, show Yourself in deep, real ways to (_____________) so that there is a new personal dependency on You from now on. (Mt. 6:25-34)

I ask that You would destroy any strongholds on (_____________’s) life and bring about irresistible freedom and joy for Your glory. (2 Cor. 10:4; Gal. 5:1; 22)

Shine your light through (__________) and then equip (_____________) to lead new acquaintances and friends closer to You. (Phil. 2:15; 1 Pet. 3:15)

God, may this time (__________) is away be according to Your will and not mine, at whatever cost to my personal comfort. As such, may all of my family be mission-focused in all things, in all places. (Ps. 143:10; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Pet. 3:14)

Finally, my great God, may this event bless (_____________) with relationships and fulfillment far more than I could even ask, think, or imagine according to Your power at work within! (John 10:10; Eph. 3:20)

A Fun Prayer Idea

Sometimes it’s fun to try something new with prayer – in order to keep things fresh or to take your faith to the next level. Peter did it by praying on a roof (Acts 10:9), but you can do something less dangerous yet equally rewarding. Try a “motorcade” style of intercession by driving behind a loved one and dedicating the trip to talking to God on his or her behalf.

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:      

Consider these Examples for Inspiration:

*Maybe your wife’s car needs to go in the shop and you’re following her to drop it off. This is an opportune time to dwell on how much you want her to be protected and to ask God to help you take good care of the woman you love.

*Perhaps you happen to get behind your best friend on your way in to school one morning. What a fabulous moment to turn off your music and pray out loud for your friendship and for each of you to grow closer to Christ through your relationship. See if you can do it the entire drive without losing your focus.

*If you’ve dared to ask a friend with a truck to help you move, by all means thank God for him, as you humbly trail behind him and your belongings headed to your new apartment or house.

*There are plenty of times you can travel behind your newly licensed teenager to an event – because one of you probably needs to leave before the other anyway. When this happens, cherish this time when you are staring at the back of her head, or observing how his personality comes through as he navigates traffic. Allow yourself to press into the Lord with all the feelings of your heart about your beloved child. Turn your worries into blessings and become aware of God’s presence in your car and in your parenting.

Enjoy the Results!

*Be amazed by the powerful experience of being alone and undistracted with your Father, sharing your deepest hopes and concerns about someone you love who is in a car right in front of you.

*Imagine the prayers Jesus must have spoken about his disciples all those times He was following them from village to village and from land to sea. The Lord once said to Simon Peter, “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Lk. 22:32). Sitting in a car is a great time for you to pray that too.

7 Liberating Prayers You Can Learn from a Prison Break

You love them dearly, but some of your friends or family members are confined by selfishness, bitterness, stubbornness, rebellion, obsession, and/or pride. It’s breaking you as much as it’s harming them, but you’ve failed to help them escape.

Biblical Starting Point:

Inside his prison cell, Peter was asleep between two soldiers, locked in chains, and two watchmen were guarding the door (Acts 12:6). It’s no different with your bound loved ones. Visualize them as being in a slumber (denial), unaware of the armed opponents on each side (sin closing in), the weight of the restraints holding them down (burdened), and their frenemies keeping them in the situation (lack of freedom). What can you understand from this?

During his imprisonment, Peter’s brothers and sisters in Christ were dedicated to praying for him while waiting for God’s performance. An angel of light stirred Peter, ordered him to get up and dressed – and when Peter obeyed – chains broke, guards froze, and freedom was gained. Your loved ones are not the enemy; their captors are the problem. And prayer is the way to fight for them. (Acts 12:5, 12; Eph. 6: 12, 18)

Keeping Room Tips:

  1. Pray that the angels who already guard your dear ones (Ps. 91:11) will touch and wake them from their deep stupor. (Acts 12:7)
  2. Ask the Light of the world to penetrate the darkness surrounding the ones you love. (Acts 12:7)
  3. Request promptings from the Lord and obedience to Him so that the constraints on the trapped body and soul can be broken and removed. (Acts 12:7)
  4. Summon the Father to replace their garments of shame – even clothing them with His Son. (Acts 12:8; Rom 13:14; Rev. 3:18)
  5. Petition your Lord to bring in the right leader so that your friends and family members will follow the chosen one. (Acts 12:9)
  6. Call out to God on their behalf that they would learn to give Him credit for freedom. (Acts 12:11)
  7. Believe in the day your loved ones will describe the ways your prayers were answered for their unique victory, and praise God for His marvelous design of these sufferers for whom you will pray so much. (Ps. 139:14: Acts 12:17)

When God Doesn’t Fix It (a Book Recommendation)

God has used Perimeter Church Worship Leader and Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Laura Story’s marriage to Martin Elvington to bring attention to the full story of His Word, His story, and His truth. As told in her book, “When God Doesn’t Fix It, Lessons you Never wanted to Learn, Truths you can’t Live Without,” Martin is Laura’s dream come true – just not the dream she created.

Early in their story when Martin began demonstrating atypical behavior, Laura cried out, “God, you’ve got to help me. Something has to change!

After they received the diagnosis for Martin’s brain tumor, her thought was, “In the future, the brain tumor will be a great story to tell of how God brought us through it all, and we will all live happily ever after.”

The night before the surgery to remove Martin’s tumor, Laura fought against the temptation to think God owed them, to “remind God of all the good things Martin and I have done for Him.

As complications from the tumor and surgery grew from short-term to long-term, Laura began to see the powerlessness that she and even the doctors had to fix Martin’s health. And she began to see a new perspective about God, too. “Jesus came to heal, but He doesn’t always fix the broken things I want fixed.”

Living with the lasting effects of her husband’s brain tumor surgery and knowing that her happily-ever-after didn’t come in a nice, neat package, Laura admitted, “joy came when I took tentative steps in God’s direction.”

Full of doubts and uncertainty, Laura was not afraid to ask Him “Why?” But He turned her questions to “How?” “How might God use this for His glory?”

One of God’s many answers to Laura was to use her music to reveal His faithfulness to her listeners. She began to wonder, “What if the worst thing I have to offer – my broken story – is really the best thing I have to offer? I learned that when I was willing to share my story, God used it to heal others emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And that’s what healed me.”

Once Laura put her dreams into God’s hands, she had to learn to trust Him. “I learned that God could, and would, provide for my deepest longings. It just might look different than if I had been in control.”

Laura wanted to blame the problems in her life on her husband’s disability, but she humbly realized, “the biggest problem in our marriage was our sin. Martin’s disability offers me more chances to get it right (or wrong) than most other people get in their marriage. To be better in our brokenness isn’t to remove the brokenness; it’s to remove the selfishness, pride, impatience, or other sinful behaviors we blame on the brokenness. Martin did not have a brain tumor so I would learn how to be more patient. But God can use our circumstances to teach us to have patience and a thousand other things that make our marriage stronger than it would be without our trials.”

Laura and Martin have accepted their hard story because they have learned that, “even if our situation may not get better, we can get better. Despite our brokenness, we wouldn’t want it any other way, for it is through our brokenness that God is the hero of our story.”

Keeping Room Tips:  

“When God Doesn’t Fix It” is recommended to you by The Keeping Room because Laura and Martin’s story models true healthy living and reflects and expands upon Scripture: “If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer…And…the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (2 Cor. 1:6; Rom. 8:18)