A prayer for wise choices

Oh lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days;Let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my day’s a few handbreaths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a shadow before you! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
And now, oh Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you. Psalm 39.4–7

Sovereign Father, though I have no desire to know the exact day or means by which you will take me home, I am committed to live with that they in view. Because the gospel is true, I have no fear of dying. I really believe that to be absent from my body will mean that I am immediately present with you. The sting of my death has been removed. The grave has been robbed of its victory over me and my body. I can honestly say with Paul that it is better by far to depart and be with the Lord.

But until that departure, how do you want me to invest the rest of my days? I have spent enough years bustling about in vanity, keeping up stuff that will surely only end up in the ash heap one day. Should you give me one more, 10 more, 25 more years, how can the gospel of your kingdom and the riches of your grace claim and fill the span of those brief years?

What do I need to make a bigger deal about—and a lesser deal up? What things do I simply need to let go of? Who should I be spending more time with or, quite honestly, less time with?

The two things that define the rest of history are your commitment to redeem your people through the gospel and your commitment to make all things new through Jesus. How do you want me to engage with both of those stories with my friends in church?

Indeed, give me a greater love for people who don’t know Jesus, Father. I spend way too much time just with other Christians. And help me live more intentionally as an agent of redemption and restoration in my community and neighborhood. I pray in Jesus magnificent name. Amen

~ Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers

Prayers thoughts from Scotty Smith

selected from recent readings in my devotional time:

Father, keep on rescuing me from all wrong thinking about you. Keep showing me how little I really see you and understand about the greatness of your love for us in Jesus.

I choose the rest of your love rather than stew in my regrets. I have great confidence and hope and your commitment to make all things new.

By your Spirit, Father, continue to reveal it to me how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ–– the only love that surpasses knowledge. Ephesians 3:18– 19

You will never lead us into hard places where you are not present.

It is obvious to me now, that the whole Christian life is about coming to Jesus. We need Jesus today as much as the first day we he entered our lives. In fact we will never exhaust our need for what Jesus alone can give.

Jesus, we come to you right now — we come bring it in our emptiness to the fountain of your fullness.

Father, I am not asking to soar like an eagle, as fun as that might be, and I am not seeking to run like a sprinter or a marathoner. Just walking upright with a renewed heart, a steady gait, and replenished energy will be enough.

Right now I look to you for all the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical strength I will need to live out the implications of the gospel just today.

A prayer for gospel Pharisees and Scribes

And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with the file hands?

And he said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, this people honors me with their lips, but there’re heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines and the commandments of men. You leave the Commandments of God and hold the tradition of men. Mark 7. 5 – 8

Jesus these are strong words. What could be more tragic than to hear you say, you talk about me a whole lot, using plenty of spiritual language and biblical quotes. You are quick to recognize and correct faults teaching.  You’re even zealous to apply what you know to others. But your heart is very far from me?

It would be one thing you’re such a review came to us because we were acting like Mosaic Pharisees and scribes – distorting and misapplying Old Testament law; putting people under the yoke of performance–based spirituality; replacing your Commandments with our traditions. But it is an altogether different thing to be a gospel Pharisee and scribe.

Forgive us, Jesus, when me love exposing faults gospels more than we love spending time with you in prayer and fellowship.

Forgive us when we are quick to tell people what obedience is not but failed to demonstrate what the obedience of faith and love actually is.

Forgive us when we call ourselves recovering Pharisees or recovering legalists when in actuality, were not really recovering from anything.

Forgive us when we talk more about “getting” the gospel then how we have been “gotten” by the gospel.

Forgive us for being just as arrogant about grace theology as we were obnoxious about legalistic theology.

Forgive us when we don’t use our freedom to serve one another in love, but rather use it to put our consciences to sleep.

Forgive us what our love for the gospel does not translate into a love for holiness, world evangelism, and caring for widows and orphans.

Forgive us for having a PhD in the indicatives of the gospel yet feeling so miserably when it comes to the imperatives of the gospel.

Forgive us when we love the gospel more than we actually love you, Jesus, as impossible as that may seem.

~ Scotty Smith

A prayer about our tireless, Weariless God

The Lord is the everlasting God, The creator of the ends of the earth.
And his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28 – 31

Gracious Father, this was one of the first scriptures I memorized as a young believer, yet reading at today is like finding a new treasure in an old field. That is one of the things I most love about your word. It is never antiquated or redundant but always vintage and ever knew. You are the God who speaks in specific ways without stuttering. You are the father who knows what we need even before we ask, and you provided before we ask.

This passage from Isaiah is underlined in multiple times in my favorite Bible, and for good reason. It reminds me but you are not like me, in so many ways. you never get tired or weary. I do and I am. Accepting limitations, finiteness, and weakness has never been one of my strengths. But I must. Since youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, why do I think I am exempt from running on empty and hitting the wall?

Father, I am not asking to soar like an eagle, as fun as it might be, And I’m not seeking to run like a sprinter or a marathoner. Just walking upright with a renewed heart, and a steady gait, and replenish straits will be enough.

My hope is in you, father – merciful Abba, who brings refreshment into the wilderness; generous Lord, who promises sufficient grace everyday; mighty God, who raises the dead. Right now I look to you for all the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical strength I will need to live out the implications of the gospel just today. I am not depleted, though heading there, but I have no doubts about your great compassion for me in Jesus.

Because Jesus embraced the ultimate weakness and weariness of the cross, I am confident of your burden – bearing love. I may be weary in my servant hood, but I am thriving in my sonship. Nothing can separate us from your love. I pray in Jesus is tender and triumphant name. Amen

~ Scotty Smith

A prayer and praise of the Holy Spirit

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the spirit, anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Romans 8.5–9

Heavenly father, I am particular grateful today for the person at work of the Holy Spirit. Though I don’t understand stand everything he is up to, these things I gladly affirmed today…

Just as assuredly as Jesus stood up outside of Lazarus’s Truman said, “Come forth”, you sent the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel to my heart, and I came out of the tomb of my sin and death. How I praise you for your sovereign goodness and power. Unless you had breathe new life into my spirit, I would have never, could have never believe the gospel.

When you raise me up in Jesus, you baptize me with the Holy Spirit, making me a member of your family in Christ’s bride. You sealed me for eternity by the Spirit, marking me as your own possession. You sent the Spirit to live as a permanent resident in my heart—to constantly preach the gospel to my heart, convict me up soon, make me like Jesus, and tell me that I am your beloved child.

According to the truth of the Gospel in your Word, I am all ready controlled by the Holy Spirit. I am no longer controlled by my sinful nature. You have given me all the gifts of the Spirit I need to live as a functioning part of the church and a caring service in your kingdom. You gave the Spirit to me as the first fruits and guaranteed other full inheritance salvation that Jesus completely earned for me. What a generous and loving God you are!

Therefore, I acknowledge my desire to be more fully and consistently filled with the Holy Spirit, to walk according to the Spirit, to keep in step with the Spirit, to set my mind on what the Spirit desires. All of two which I say, “Hallelujah, what a Savior! Hallelujah, what a salvation!” I pray in Jesus name. Amen

~ Scotty Smith

Prayer thoughts from Scotty Smith

Even as we first needed grace to respond to your love (Ephesians 2.8–10), so we need grace to stay alive too your love and to love as you deserve to be loved. Your love for us is the one constant in our lives. Everything else changes. Everything else is subject to whim and fancy. Our brothers and sisters in Heaven are more happy than we are, but they are not more loved. But our love for you ebbs and flows.

Jesus, give us grace to love you with an undying love. May the cooling of our affection for you bother us more than the fragile economy, are broken relationships, political of people in the world, concerns about Our health, growing older, or anything else. Jesus, don’t let us get use to status quo, middle-class, business–as-usual love for you.

But because of this hope, we will not to doubt, numb out, or checkout. We will seek to show up. Lead us, King Jesus. Lead us into your work of redemption and restoration. What will it mean to love mercy, do justice, and walk calmly with you in the broken places of your world?

I’m feeling a bit distracted this morning, scattered and not very focused.

It is one of those days I am glad the gospel is much more about your grasp of me then my grip on you. I am grateful your delight in me is not contingent upon my delight in you. I am very thankful for the prayer ministry of the Holy Spirit.

It is freeing to know your spirit doesn’t abandon us when we are weak but helps us in our weakness, faithfully praying it us with “wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).

You search our hearts to save us not to shame us; to deliver us, not today demean us; two change us, not to chide us.

And at this very moment your Spirit is praying inside me, perfectly tuned into my needs and in total harmony with your will. I cannot measure the peace that brings. I surrender right now, Father. I will gladly groan to your glory. I know you are at work for my good in all things, including this season. You called me to life in Christ, and you will complete your purpose and me, in each of your children, and in the entire cosmos. I do love you; I would love you more. I pray for thankfulness, and Jesus is merciful and faithful name. Amen

A prayer for seeing with gospel eyes

But the Lord said to Samuel,”Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look on the things people looked at it. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16. 7

Loving father, I have worn prescription glasses since high school, moving from regular to progressive focus lenses over the course of years. Recently I have had laser surgery to help me see more precisely than ever. Yet there is an ophthalmologic or corrective that can only take place as a gospel does it’s work on the eyes of my heart.

Even if I could see with 20/15 or 20/10 vision, if I am only focusing on the “ outward appearance” of people and things, I am still not seeing as you intend. My plea? Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, soI may see Jesus — and as I begin seeing Jesus more clearly, help me see everything else from his perspective.

Help me to see people with gospel eyes. Father, when I am only looking at people with the aberrations of the fallen heart, show me what true beauty consists of. What I only see the things and people that irritate or inconvenience me, help me to see their dignity, their brokenness, and your image in them. When I only see people in terms of how they might harm or help me, expand my vision beyond my story to your larger story of redemption and restoration. Help me to see what you see in my spouse … In my children … And my friends … Even In total strangers.

Help me to see creation with gospel eyes. Father, don’t let me look at the ocean, mountains, stars, sunrises and sunsets, flora and fauna, or even weather patterns just in terms of me and my plans. As you’re open and heal the eyes of my heart, enable me to live more as a worshipful steward of your creation and left as a selfish consumer of your creation.

Help me to see pain and suffering up gospel eyes. Father, sometimes looking at all the crucibles, crises, and cruel stores of life make me want to run, hide, fix, or deny. Help me to see with the eyes of Jesus when overwhelming need to staring me down. I pray in Jesus healing name. Amen