In an earlier post, "The Best Smoothie in the World," I mentioned the health trials my wife Kathy went through in 2017 and some of the lessons we learned. Right after her surgery, when she could not raise her head, I read to her from her devotional books and the Bible. I quickly became a fan of her favorite, Sarah Young's Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, which I found is one of the all-time best-selling daily devotionals. I caught up with the one page readings from the first of the year, and have read it daily since then.
I am constantly amazed at the depth of these simple paragraphs, which I believe come straight from the Father's heart. I have mentioned to my wife and others that each page contains enough meat for a sermon, and that if we could live by them, we would truly have a "kingdom attitude."
Recently, I decided to make a condensed version of the key action-oriented thoughts from her book so I could use them as a daily prayer. I skimmed through the entire book, pulling excerpts, organizing and editing them. The result below contains a mixture of quotes, paraphrases, and some of my own words. It is roughly organized along the lines of the Lord's Prayer.
Heavenly Father, in Jesus's Name, I draw aside from the distractions of a busy life and focus my attention on You, the Creator who has designed me and called me for a unique purpose.
I admit my fears and weaknesses, my guilt and shame, and even my feelings of being unworthy of Your love. For You do love me, and You are worthy of my absolute trust.
I thank You for using every circumstance of this day to bring about good. I thank You for giving me ears to hear as You speak to me moment by moment through Your Spirit, Your Word, and Your creation. Even now, I stop to listen to what You are saying…
Let Your heavenly will be done in my life this day. I discern and reject negative and sinful thoughts pushed on me from the world. Instead I focus on hearing Your quiet voice. Train me, Lord, to think Your thoughts. Transform my mind and my emotions. Teach me to listen first and speak only as I hear You speaking within me.
I choose not to judge others, circumstances, or even the weather. I choose not to focus on problems or what I don't have. Instead I choose to view each day as an adventure, embracing challenges, eager to gain blessings hidden in the difficulties.
Forgive me of my sins, especially my tendency to complain to others about my problems and the unfairness I seem to face daily. I lay these complaints at Your feet instead. I trust You with them and thank You for giving me peace as I begin to see them from Your perspective.
Father, help me to relax and walk with You one day at a time, not worrying about the past or the future or trying to plan for what only You can see. And for this day, show me your priorities. I choose not to fall into the trap of always being on the go, trying desperately to please You and others with "good" works. I choose instead to relax in Your love for me and sit quietly at Your feet, drinking in words of life.
I will call on your Name throughout this day, trusting and thanking You for guidance in each situation. You have not promised me a trouble-free life, but You have given me Your Spirit so I can respond rightly to life's challenges, small and large.
May my words and actions bring glory to Your Name. And may I experience touches of heaven on earth as I see You working through me in everyday situations.
I personalize this each day to include my specific and ongoing requests. I expect by faith to hear promptings from the Holy Spirit to know my priorities for the day and answers to my requests. Then, as I go about the day, in spite of the inevitable problems and distractions that come my way, I try to live in the kingdom by shooting up prayers for help and understanding. I try to pray, listen, obey, and trust--absolutely. It's hard, but more and more every day I feel I am bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth. However imperfectly, I am learning to live with kingdom attitude!