Psalm 63 – thirst

Oh God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
My soul thirst for you;
As in dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
Beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
My lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
In your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
And my mouth will praise you with joyful lips. Psalm 63: 1 to 5

Dear Jesus, we come before you today asking for the gift of thirst. Renew and intensify our thirst for you. Make a so faint that unless you hydrate our hearts with the Gospel, we will surely perish.

It is a dangerous thing to no longer deeply crave fellowship with you, Jesus. It is a deceptive thing to enjoy but no longer actually need you. It is a deceitful thing to be satisfied with correct theology about you, without experiencing rich communion with you. It is a demonic thing to find our ultimate satisfaction and anyone or anything else but you.

Only your steadfast love is better than life, Jesus — only your contra-conditional, irrepressible affection for us. Nothing else will do. You have created a gospel–shaped vacuum in our hearts –– a screaming empty place that fits only you. Forgive us we try to cram human love, creature comforts, or anything else into that place. Don’t let us be so easily satisfied. Give us redemptive discontent until our hearts rest again in you.

Jesus, we are asking this not just for ourselves as individuals, but for our churches as well. Forgive us when we get so organized, creative, and “right” that we no longer miss your presence. Is it really you we are worshiping, or are we just worshiping worship? Is it really you we are serving, or are we just serving ourselves as religious consumers?

If you actually “left the house,” how long would it take before we knew the difference? In all honesty, Jesus, how much of what we do in our churches doesn’t require the Holy Spirit at all? Show us, convict us, forgive us, and change us.

Let us see and experience your power and glory in fresh ways, Jesus,. We want to lift our hearts, voices, hands, and whole lives to you as a sacrifice of praise. May the truth and grace of the gospel satisfy us as fat and rich food. We pray longing hearts. Amen

~ Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers

Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmsgYY-INf8

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Help me to see people with gospel eyes.

Help me to see people with gospel eyes. Father, when I am only looking at people with the aberrations of a fallen heart, when I want to see the things in people that irritate our 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 …. In my friends … even in total strangers.

~ Scotty Smith

A prayer about loving

The end of all things is at hand and sober minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s very grace. 1 Peter 4. 7 – 10

Dear Jesus, may Peter’s words sink and settle deep into my heart. If I really believe the end of all things is at hand, if I really believe that your return could happen within my lifetime, it seems he would make a significant difference in how I live and love.

Whenever I attend a funeral, I always go away with a sense of my mortality and the fragility of life. At least for a few days, I hug loved ones a little tighter and linger little longer any conversations. But then it’s back to normal, and the same old harried pace takes over in the same old broken patterns and relationships resume.

Normal sinners go on loving as normal sinners do: rather than covering sins, we get irritated with one another’s sins; rather than welcoming one another without grumbling, we guard our own space with complaining; rather than using our gifts to serve each other, we hoard your grace to satisfy ourselves; rather than administering your multifaceted grace to one another, we withhold it from one another. Yet the end of all things is at hand. God, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Jesus, please bring the gospel to bear in fresh and powerful ways in my way of relating to others. I don’t want to love by guilt but by grace. I don’t want to love my fear but by faith. I don’t want to love with the hearts of manipulation but with the heart of ministry. I don’t want to love with a view to another funeral but with the view of your second coming. I don’t want to love to get anything but because I’ve received everything in you.

Jesus, you are the one who loves us deeply. You’re the one who has covered not just the multitude but all our sins. You’re the one who always offers us hospitality without grumbling. You’re the one who’s always serving us and giving us more grace in all its forms. Live in us and love through us, whether you return in 15 minutes or 1500 years. We pray you and your faithful name. Amen

A Prayer About Singing Mountains and Clapping Trees

by Scotty Smith

“My word that goes out from my mouth, it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:11-12

Gracious Father, you know how much I love mountains, of all shapes and sizes. There’s just something about mountains that causes my heart to feel the greatness of your glory and grace—the weightiness of your majesty and the endlessness of your mercy. What a glorious creation… what a magnificent Creator you are.

It all started with excursions to the foothills of western North Carolina, and then onto exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains around Boone and Banner Elk, NC. And I’ll never forget my first sighting of the Rocky Mountains in Estes Park, Colorado… and bright yellow Aspen leaves dancing against the rich blue backdrop of a haze-free fall skyline.

But then there was the day I stepped off the train in the village of Interlaken, Switzerland, and got hammered with the holy wonder of three Alps, the Eiger, Monch and the Jungfrau. I can still see, smell, feel and taste the sensual overload of that day. Indeed, Father, the works of your hands declare your glory, loud and clear. For those who have ears to hear, there is no place in all creation where your loving and wooing voice cannot be heard singing your praise. (Psalm 19:1-6)

But, Father, these words of Isaiah envision a Day when the mountains themselves will burst into song—the new song of the new creation… the regenerating, renewing and restoring melody of the gospel. Though your glory is clearly revealed in the beauty of your creation, it is revealed ten thousand times more in the redemption that you freely give us in Jesus. Jesus is the Alps of your mercy, grace and love for us.

Because of Jesus, we, your redeemed people, will go out in joy and be led for into the peace—into the shalom—the perfect order, society, environment and world of the new heaven and new earth. You have spoken… you have promised… and so shall it be. Your Word will accomplish everything you decree and every one of your delights.  Hasten that Day, Father. Bring in on… make it happen, the sooner the better.

In light of the Day of singing mountains and clapping trees, we enter this day groaning inwardly and waiting expectantly… confident that your Word will not return empty (Romans 8:18-27). Joy is coming to the world because Jesus has come to the world, and is coming again. So very Amen, we pray, in His matchless and merciful name.

A prayer about guaranteed glory

Ephesians 1:13 – 14

Gracious Father, sometimes reading Paul’s letters is like standing in front of a gushing fire hydrant. It is hard to stand up to the rush of so much glory and grace. It is simply overwhelming.

For instance, as I read through Ephesians I am confronted with been loved before the foundation of the world, being chosen in Christ and called in life, being justified by faith and declared to be righteous, and being adopted by Abba, Father, betrothed to Jesus, and indwell by the Holy Spirit. I am shown that I have a completely forgiven past, a present stand in grace, and future of unimaginable wonder. You have given us staggering riches in Jesus.

But what really encourages me today is knowing that all of this is guaranteed. You have “sealed the deal” by the Holy Spirit. You have guaranteed our inheritance in Christ. You have given us a down payment, the firstfruits, the promise of a future beyond our wildest dreams and asking.

There is no possibility of “bait and switch” or “revoking the warranty.” Their are no factory recalls, no fine print are doublespeak, no possibility of bankruptcy or legal maneuverings. Nothing will sabotage or bring it to completion of the good work you have begun in us and in your entire cosmos!

Father, rip and grip our hearts with the gospel of your grace. Let us be up people who live to the praise of your glorious grace.

~ Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers

God’s forgetfulness

Heavenly Father, what I heart-pounding joy it is to begin this day by remembering your forgetfulness. You promise never again to remember our sins and lawless acts against us. You will never again deal with us according to our sins or reward us according to our iniquities. For on the cross, you dealt with Jesus according to our sins and rewarded him according to our iniquities.

~ Scotty Smith

We are called

We are “called” to belong — not merely invited, but subpoenaed into eternal life of being wanted, desired, known, celebrated, and enjoyed. We are “called” to belong not own like a new car but connected like a new bride. Lord Jesus, you have purchased us with the price of your life, and your love for us, alone, it is better than life. We belong, now and forever, to you! Help me, help us, to become more fully alive to our “belongingness” in you, Jesus.

~ Scotty Smith