October 16, 2017

My First Bible Prayer


Growing up in a church that relied on spontaneous prayer, rather than prayers from the Bible, I didn’t hear the Lord’s Prayer aka Our Father right away. However, my Sunday School teachers encouraged us to get into the habit of bringing a Bible to church and reading it regularly at home, which I did at the time and have kept doing for decades.

At some point in those early years with God’s Word, I ran across a short prayer in Psalm 19:14 that’s often referred to as “David’s Prayer.” Whether King David was the actual psalmist for these particular lines, I don’t know, but I do know that the prayer became my prayer.

Since I first learned “my prayer” in the King James Version of the Bible (KJV), that’s still my first choice for praying and sharing with you:

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer,”
KJV.

Today’s “Verse of the Day” on Bible Gateway featured this Bible prayer, which I then searched out in other English versions such as the Good News Translation (GNT.)

“May my words and my thoughts be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my refuge and my redeemer!”


Since the New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE) often counts the title or inscription of a psalm as the first verse, this version can be found as Psalm 19:15:

“Let the words of my mouth be acceptable,
the thoughts of my heart before you,
Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”


Regardless of the translation you prefer, my prayer can be your prayer too.

Dear Lord God, Heavenly Father,
help me to say only what’s true
and acceptable to You.

Write Your words upon my heart,
and help my thoughts to keep You
continually in mind and spirit

for You are the Rock, the Tower
to Whom I run. You are
The Spirit Who redeems
our untoward words
and fills us with Your power.


by Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017



October 12, 2017

Praying for enemies and other meanies


In Matthew 5:43-44, Jesus taught His followers a different way of looking at things and responding to other people. As He told us, You have heard it said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who hate you and pray for those who use you or mistreat you, spitefully.

Thank God, Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies and love them without demanding something as humanly impossible as liking them!

From a biblical perspective, love has little to do with preferring people to whom we fondly respond. Instead godly love calls for upright actions whereby we act with kindness and consideration for the well-being of others, including unsavory characters and people we dislike.

Wanting to please and obey God would be reason enough for us to love our enemies, but God might have more in mind. For example, loving our adversaries can disarm them, calm them, heal them, and help them to hear what we have to say about our forgiving Father and His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Even though earthly foes might bully or people abuse, our prayers promptly propel our enemies into a spiritual realm protected by the power of Almighty God. Think of it! What blessings, what spiritual awakening, what new hope of reconciliation could our loving prayers bring to the most unlovable people?

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father of All, forgive us for wishing anyone ill! Help us to convey Your love to everyone with whom we have contact. Give us Your words of blessing, especially to our families, other Christians, and church leaders, but also to those who wish us ill or, worse, who malign You. Protect us, Lord. Help us to do what’s best from Your perspective and become excellent examples of Your forgiving love in Jesus’ Name.

Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017, from her new book, What the Bible Says About Love

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September 16, 2017

After Irma: Psalm 80 for today


After being without power all week due to Hurricane Irma’s sweep through Florida, my electricity has been restored, thank God! May our spiritual power be restored with this prayer-a-phrase of Psalm 80.

Listen, O Shepherd
Who leads us like a flock –
yes, You, Lord, who lives
among cherubim and us –
shine forth!

For we who feel powerless,
stir up Your mighty power,
so we can see Your help.

Turn us toward You, O God.
Let Your face shine on us,
and we shall be saved.

O Lord God of hosts,
some say You’re too angry with us
to hear our prayers.

Some say You feed us with
bread made from our moans
and flood us with tears.

Some say You cause quarrels between us,
so our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of All.
Show how Your face glows over us.
We praise You for we have been saved.



Mary Harwell Sayler
, ©2017, prayer-a-phrased Psalm 80 with the help of scriptures on Bible Gateway.




August 28, 2017

Praying through the flood of tears and Hurricane Harvey

Save us, O God!
The waters have come up to my neck!

I sink in mire so deep, my foot
finds no place to rest.

In these unfathomable waters,
the flood sweeps over me.

All this crying wearies me,
but only my throat goes dry.

Hope starts to dim
as I wait for my God,
but, still, I pray to You, O Lord.

In Your flood of steadfast love,
answer me!

With Your faithful help, rescue me
from sinking deeper and deeper!

Deliver me, O Lord, from every
foe and flood.

Do not let these deep waters
sweep over or swallow me!

Do not let the bottomless pit close its mouth.



Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017, prayer-a-phrased Psalm 69:1-3, 13-15 after researching scriptures on Bible Gateway


June 6, 2017

Praying for God to empower the church


Kneeling before the Father –
from Whom every family
in heaven and earth
has its true Family Name –
let's pray for God’s great glory
to give us the power to be
strengthened in our spirit
through the Holy Spirit.

Let's pray for Christ to quicken
our hearts with faith,
so our lives will be built
on unshakable love.

And pray for all of God’s people
to be fortified by Christ’s love,
so we can see how wide,
how long, how high, how deep
His Fortress of Love really is.

For Christ’s love is greater
than anything we can know!

And His love fills us with God.

Now to Him Who Is Able
to do far more than we
can ask or imagine,
let's let His power be at work in us,
the Body of Christ, and may we,
as one church, bring glory to God
for ever and ever.


Ephesians 3:14-21 prayer-a-phrased by Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2017, using scripture from various translations on Bible Gateway.



May 5, 2017

May the peace of the Lord be with you

Don’t worry!
Be prayerful.

Ask God
for everything
you need, and
thank God,
even as you pray.

And the peace
of the Lord,
which is too great
to understand,
will keep watch
over your heart
and mind
in Christ Jesus.


Philippians 4:6-7 prayer-a-phrased by Mary Harwell Sayler, © 2017, using scripture from various translations on Bible Gateway