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PRAY: Prayer for Those Who Need Their Love Renewed

I see the resignation in their eyes. It hasn’t changed. It won’t change. Nothing I do can change it. They feel trapped—cornered in a marriage they think should never have been. They feel angry—bitter and frustrated about things they can’t control. They feel alone. I see it because I remember. I remember the days when I allowed hurt and anger to overshadow love. I remember the days when the outlook seemed hopeless, the future a dull gray. But I pray because I know the One who redeems relationships. I hope because I’ve experienced the power of his touch. If this is you, know that someone understands, and Someone is listening. Let’s run to Him together. Father and Friend, today I come to you on behalf of those who need their love renewed. Their relationships hang by a stretched-out thread, ready to snap at the next point of stress. Or they’ve resigned themselves to a life without true intimacy, the soul-nearness you intend marriage to be. God, I lift up my friends to your care. None of them, Father, has the power to stay married. All, like me, are selfish and want their own way. None has the strength to listen to you or to do what is right. Left to themselves, they’ll say unkind words, do ugly things, and continue to hurt each other in ways that hurt you more.  Grace, our Savior, is what they need. I ask for your poured-out grace to flow its sweetness in, around, and through those relationships. Lend your mercy, Lord. Give each one not only the power but the inner desire to do what is right. Reach through the pain and help them remember. Take them back to the first date, the first kiss, the first moments they realized love’s calling.  And God—take them back to their first love for you as well. If they don’t know you, break through their soul-hardness. Keep pursuing, keep speaking until they listen. If they do know you, God, I ask that you use time and circumstances to draw them close, knowing this first love will guard and guide the rest. Keep them from evil. Keep them from wrong. Help my friends. Come to them in power and victory. Giver of life, breathe your life into their marriages. Let each one become a bright reflection of your love for your children. And Jesus? Help me be the wife and love-giver you made me today. Don’t let me be comfortable. Keep me seeking your best. In your precious and powerful name I...

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PRAY: Love Connection

“We can do no great things—only small things with great love.”—Mother Teresa God drew me to himself through authentic prayer. I don’t mean that others prayed for me, although I’m sure they did. I don’t mean I prayed for myself, because I didn’t know how. Instead, God showed me that real prayer flowed from a real relationship. Up until then, my prayer life consisted of 911 calls: “Lord, help me pass this test” or “God, help Grandma feel better right away.” But the more I encountered real prayers that expressed genuine faith, the more I realized my need for Christ. As I grew in the Lord, my prayer life enlarged and expanded. In fact, my first major writing opportunity came through a prayer project. Since then, God’s allowed me not only to pray but to speak and teach about prayer. A few years ago, I began to pray a simple request almost every day, “Lord, teach me to pray.” Who knew he would use pain as a teacher? The pain came because someone didn’t like me. Someone really didn’t like me. That realization came as a shock because I barely knew this person (we’ll call her Jane). Not like me? How could it be? Nonetheless, the situation existed and, because of the circumstances involved, I could do nothing to change it. Nothing, that is, except pray. And that’s what I did. I typed out a list of specific Scriptures to pray for Jane and added more as time passed. My first prayers were selfish. I prayed for her attitude to change and for truth to prevail. But as time passed, I began to pray in new ways. I prayed that she would know the surpassing love of Christ. I prayed that Jesus would increase and abound in her life. I prayed that God would keep her in his name. I prayed that her marriage would be strong, that her children would rise up and call her blessed. I prayed, but I didn’t see God’s change Jane—at least not right away. What I witnessed instead were the ways he worked in mine. I found myself praying for her more and more. I began to see how precious she was to other people and to God. She mattered to him, so she mattered to me, too. Praying for Jane became a joy, not an obligation—a delight, not a duty. One day, I whispered a prayer of thanks as I realized that my wise Father had used this broken relationship to teach me to pray. What he whispered back shocked me: I wasn’t teaching you to pray. I was teaching you to love. Who’s the problem person in your life? Pray for...

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