Monday, October 14th

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“Husbands, in the same way live with your wives in an understanding way, as a weaker partner, showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”    1 Peter 3:7

A prayer for husbands and men:

Lord God, We’re used to looking at life in terms of authority and positions.  Some people are more important than others because of the place that they hold, because of the authority they carry.  Others are more important because of what they can do for others, because of the value they bring.  Some are less important and less valuable because of their position, because of what they bring to the table.  At times, I can even see women and my wife in this way.  It happens so easily.  I think to myself, “I’m a little stronger, so I’m better.”  I think to myself, “God made me the head in this marriage, so she better just bow to my will.”  Ahh, God.  Forgive me.  That’s not taking care of my wife as my own body.  That’s not living with her in an understanding way.  And that certainly doesn’t recognize her as the coheir of heaven that she is.  God, forgive me.  She is a coheir and a co-sharer of heaven.  Help me to see her as the coheir that she is and to honor her as such.  Amen.

Sunday, October 13th

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“Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker partner, showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.”  1 Peter 3:7

A prayer for husbands and men:

Lord God, It’s so natural for me to think of myself first, middle and last.  It’s just what I do.  But when I got married to my dear wife, I entered into a new and precious relationship.  When we became one, she became part of me, part of my body.  And, Lord God, as a part of my body it is my role as head of the body, to take care of her.  Her needs come first.  Her desires come first.  Her good comes first.  That makes sense to me when I think about my own body.  I’m going to take care of all the parts of my body because what affects them affects me.  Lord God, help me see what my wife needs from me.  She comes first.  She needs me to live with her in an understanding way, to take care of her like I do my own body.  Help me do this, Lord God.  Help me to make her first.  Help me to take care of her as if she were a part of my body, which she truly is.  Amen. 

Saturday, October 12th

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“You have become one of her children when you do what is good and do not fear any intimidation.”   1 Peter 3:6

A prayer for women and wives:

Lord God, Help me to learn from Sarah and follow her example of fear.  She served her husband, Abraham, and obeyed him.  She wasn’t afraid.  She followed him.  She submitted to him.  Give me a husband like Abraham, who loves me and cares for me, a man of faith who follows the promise and the leading of God.  Make my husband like Abraham, a man of faith who cares for me.  And Lord, help me to follow him and to submit to him without fear.  Make me a woman of faith who trusts you, who trusts your promises, and is not afraid.  It’s so easy to be afraid because of circumstances.  It’s so easy to be afraid because of what is going on in life.  It’s sometimes even easy to be afraid because of mistreatment.  Make me a woman of faith who trusts you and finds my place in life without fear.  Amen.

Friday, October 11th

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This, then, is how you should pray: 

    “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil  one.’“ Matthew 6:9-13

Dear Jesus, How could we ever improve on the prayer you gave us?  It shows us what kind of prayer you and the Father want from us.  Help me learn the meaning of every phrase and learn to pray it from my heart.  Amen.

The prayer Jesus gave us shows us how God wants us to think and talk to him. 

Thursday, October 10th

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And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”  Matthew 6:5-8

Dear Jesus, I see two big points about prayer here.  They both convict me since I send out my prayer to you and to thousands of others every day.  You don’t want us to pray for show and you don’t want us to throw words up at you as if we are working our way into your favor through our prayers.  You see my heart.  That is a sobering realization.  You know my motives in every thought, whether it’s a prayer or just a thought I embrace.  Oh, Lord, let your kingdom come in my prayers, in my life, and in my space.  You know my needs, my wants and my plans.  Do what you need, want, and plan and thank you for being the author and preserver of my life.  Amen.

God loves authentic believing prayer that comes from a heart that gets him.

Wednesday, October 9th

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“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.  if you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.  So, when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”   Matthew 6:1-4

Dear Jesus, Spare me from the strong desire to receive affirmation from people that I am doing the good things in life.  Help me to be thoughtlessly thoughtful and carelessly generous.  Make me forget my good deeds the moment I finish them and focus the eyes of my heart on the welfare and needs of others.  Make me compassionate for them and happy for their successes.  Just help me get over myself and learn to be as in love with people as you are.  Amen.

Living for others is a great cure for boredom and unhappiness.

Tuesday, October 8th

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“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree; so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness.  By his wounds you have been healed.  For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”  1 Peter 2:24-25

Lord Jesus, You have done so much for me.  When I was lost and going astray, you turned me back by your gentle call and your loving staff.  By your redemption, you have adopted me into the family of God and I belong to you.  By your life, you have given me a perfect standing before God.  And now, you promise, that you are the Shepherd and Overseer of my soul.  No matter what things may happen to me, od you are watching over my soul.  You are shepherding me along every path.  Lord, help me to trust your guiding, your protecting and your planning.  I was lost, but now I’m found.  Keep me close to you all the days of my life that I may be yours now and forever.  Amen.

Monday, October 7th

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“For you were called to this, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.  He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth; when he was insulted, he did not insult in return but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.”  1 Peter 2:21-23

Lord Jesus, When people hurt me, it is so easy for me to hurt back in the same way that they hurt me, even worse.  I want to get even with them.  I want to hurt them back.  But that’s not the kind of life that I learn from you.  You did the very opposite of what my nature would do.  Teach me to follow your example.  Help me learn from you.  Help me learn to be like you when people insult me and false say all kinds of evil against me.  Help me learn to keep my mouth closed, but instead find comfort and assurance in what you say about me.  Their words may sting.  Their words may ruin my reputation.  But, Lord God, eternally and before you in heaven their words have no standing.  Your word has the final say-so.  And Lord, when people hurt me, when they abuse me, teach me to trust you to handle things.  It is not my responsibility to get justice.  That belongs to you, Lord.  Help me to trust you to get justice in the right way at the right time.  You claim that right.  And it rightly belongs you.  Yes, Lord, justice does belong to you.  Teach me to follow the example that Christ left me.  Help me learn from him to keep my mouth closed and heart trusting you in the face of the harm that comes to me.  Amen.

Sunday, October 6th

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“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5:43-48

Dear Jesus, You modeled love for your enemies perfectly.  I’m glad you did because your life covers mine.  It really clears the air to hear you say, “Even pagans love their own people and greet them.”  It’s not special Christian love to love those who love me first.  It’s special Christian love to show love to those who hate and mistreat me.  A few times in my life you have walked with me through this special kind of love.  It was a moving experience for me and the people you made me love.  Give me this over the top unconditional love for the sand paper people in my life.  Make me mature in love like you and your father are.  I cannot do this one on my own.  I will need your Spirit’s supernatural power.  Amen.

We weren’t lovable when God first loved us.  So, don’t expect people to earn your love before you give it.  Change them into someone lovable by how you treat them. 

Saturday, October 5th

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“For you were called to this because Christ also suffered for you.”  1 Peter 2:21

Lord Jesus, It is such a marvel to watch you.  And it hits me that all this that you suffered at the hands of wicked men, all this injustice, all the false accusation, you did it for me.  It was for me that you suffered like this.  It was for me that you kept your mouth closed when you had every reason to retaliate.  It was for me that you were condemned so that I might be set free from condemnation.  It was all for me.  That’s what you did for me, dear Jesus.  Let your cross be a constant reminder to me of how deeply and how dearly you love me.  Let your cross tell me what you gave and what you did for me so that I could be yours.  And then, Lord Jesus, by your suffering and death, grant peace to my soul because all that you did, you did it for me.  Amen.

Friday, October 4th

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For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.  But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it?  But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.”  1 Peter 2:19-20

Dear Father, Peter places such an emphasis on the way that I live and especially on the way that I live within the relationships of my life.  He urges me to do the right thing no matter what. It’s easy when a boss is overbearing or when the government is unjust for us to think that it is justifiable to fight back, to rebel, and to push back against it.  Then, we wear the suffering that comes like a badge of honor when it was our sin that earned us that suffering.  I wonder to myself how much of the suffering in my life was earned because I acted in a way that was out of line with my calling, when I acted in a way that was unloving and disrespectful.  I look back at some of the suffering in my life and realize in repentance that I deserved that pain because I was out of line.  Lord God, help me to simply live in my callings and to fit into my place.  If suffering comes unjustly, I know, dear Lord, that you are watching me and you will reward me graciously with heaven and your loving commendation.  If suffering comes to me because of my own sin, lead me, dear Savior, to repent of my sin and to fit back into my place.  Help me, dear Lord, to do the right thing no matter what the consequences may be for my body and life.  Amen.

Thursday, October 3rd

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“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’  But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all; either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.  And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.  All you need to say is simply ‘Yes” or “No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”  Matthew 5:33-37

Dear Jesus, How hard it must be for you to watch us puny little humans make promises and ask others to trust our ability to make things happen for them, when you know all along that your heavenly father holds our every breath in the palm of his hand.  Your father has complete control of my life.  I just want to be faithful to my word and let him take care of everything else.  Help my generation to quit flippantly saying, “I swear to God.’ as if your name is free for our slang.  Make us reverent and dependent on your father just as you were perfectly during your entire life.  Our lives are in his hands.  It gives us peace but it also makes us careful not to boast about ourselves and our ability to accomplish anything without him.  Amen.

If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

Wednesday, October 2nd

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“Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.”  1 Peter 2:18

Lord God, my callings in life constantly guide me and give me my place in this world.  You have placed me in all kinds of relationships and teach me to submit within all of those relationships.  You have put me in a workplace with bosses over me and people under me.  They are my bosses and you call me to submit to them, even if they’re not that great of a boss.  You have put me in a family relationship; there you call me to honor my parents, love my spouse, and submit to my husband.  You tell me to do all this without giving any perspective to whether my boss is good or bad, whether my parents are good or bad.  You tell me to fit into my place simply because you are the big boss.  You, God, in your grace and mercy have put bosses over me at work, husbands over wives, parents over children.  This is the way you have ordered things in my life for my good and for my benefit.  As I go to work today, help me to remember that you are the big boss and that when I work for my boss, I’m working for you.  Help me to do my job with all my might because you’re the big boss.  Amen. 

Tuesday, Oct 1st

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Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”  1 Peter 2:17

Lord God, My place in this world has been given to me by you.  I know, by my callings, exactly where I fit.  I sit underneath the government; I am a citizen and I owe all my leaders whether I like them or not honor, respect and obedience.  I sit inside the family of believers; I am a member of that family and I owe each member of that body a love that makes them first.  I owe all people in this world respect, simply because they are created by you.  Most of all God, I owe you fear and respect, awe and wonder, because you are the great God of this universe and the Savior of the World.  You are truly worthy of awe and wonder.  Help me to know my place and to fit in just where you put me.  Keep me from longing to be outside of my place in my callings.  Keep me from fighting against the order that you have established in my life.  Make it clear to me where I fit in and help me to fill my callings.  Amen.

Monday, September 30th

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“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’  But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”  Matthew 5:31-32

Dear Jesus, Teach us to love marriage the way you do.  Every generation including my own has found a way to spurn the beautiful institution you have invented.  Help me hold my own marriage sacred as well as the partner you have chosen for me.  Thank you for the many ways my spouse has blessed our children and me.  Help me see their needs and find creative ways to meet them.  And protect our marriage from outside forces that would cheapen or destroy what you have given us.  Most of all, help us model in our marriage the wonderful relationship you have with your church.  Finally, help single Christians do what they can to honor the marriages all around the by the way they encourage their married friends to be a best friend of their mate.  Amen.

Marriage is God’s thing.  He’s absolutely in love with the concept. 

Sunday, September 29th

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“Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.”  1 Peter 2:16

Lord God, As I walk out into this new day it’s so easy to forget who I am.  I often identify myself by my vocations.  I identify myself by my callings in my life.  I’m a husband, I’m a wife, I’m a mother, I’m a father, I’m a worker, I’m a friend.  And within those vocations. I often find myself seeking my own goals, desires, and pleasures.  It’s what’s I do.  But God, those are just my callings and not my identity.  And I am certainly not to be seeking my own pleasures.  Forgive me and help me to see myself as you do.  Help me to see that my identity comes from you.  I am your child, holy and dearly loved.  I am redeemed by you and adopted into your family.  My life now is wholly directed to you.  You are the audience for whose applause I play.  You are the one I seek to serve.  As I walk out into this day, dear Lord, help me to remember who I am and live my life for you and you alone.  Amen.

Saturday, September 28th

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“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away.  It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”  Matthew 5:27-30

Dear Jesus, In this uncommitted culture I easily remove myself from the law about marriage.  I have never committed adultery so I feel smugly righteous.  But then, you drive a spear in my heart.  You tell me I have committed adultery in my heart more times than I could count.  Help me take my thoughts as seriously as you do.  Help me fight for a pure heart that refuses to objectivize people.  Give me the discipline and love to focus on helping and encouraging others instead of exploiting them in my heart.  Make me a grace driven, truth sharing, love showing, saint.  I want to help others see your intentions for marriage by the way I hold all marriages sacred, starting with my own.  Amen.

Marriage is one of God’s most cherished possessions.  Don’t do anything to mess it up. 

Friday, September 27th

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“Submit as free people, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but as God’s slaves.”       1 Peter 2:16 

O God, It’s easy for me to use your grace and your forgiveness as an excuse to do whatever I want.  I can talk how I want because you’ll forgive me.  I can do what I want because you’ll forgive me.  There’s always more grace, I think to myself.  But God, that’s sinful thinking.  That’s wicked thinking.  Your grace is not an excuse for evil, for sin, for anything outside of your will.  Your always new and never-ending forgiveness is never an excuse for me to do what I want.  Lord God, keep me from using your grace as an excuse.  Instead, let your grace and your daily forgiveness drive and compel me to live for you.  This is your day, help me to live in it as your child and your redeemed slave.  Amen. 

Thursday, September 26th

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“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.  Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court.  Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.  Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”  Matthew 5:23-26 

Dear Jesus, I live among a people that are addicted to litigation.  Every car wreck and every mishap in the hospital is punctuated by law suits.  It bleeds down to our personal relationships where we seem to be more interested in getting even or ahead than reconciled.  Our marriages are ravaged, our friendships shattered and neighbors live in cool tension with one another.  Give me the spirit of your word here, that leads me to resolve conflict with forgiveness, compromise and peace-loving friendship.  Help me see the value in winning them over rather than winning over my enemies.  Amen. 

Conflict is an opportunity to unleash the gospel at street level.  Don’t mess it up by trying to win.   

Wednesday, September 25th

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“For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.”  1 Peter 2:15 

Lord God, People are watching me live my life.  People are listening to what I say, who I say it about, and even how I say it.  People are observing how I behave.  They are watching everything I do, everything.  They are watching the way I speak about our leaders and how I submit to them.  They are watching how I serve and what I do in my service.  Lord God, let my life be a powerful and a loud witness to the God I serve.  Let my whole life be set apart for you Lord.  Make my life a witness and a testimony to you, Lord.  By my life, silence their accusations about “those” Christians.  Let my life give people around me no reason to complain or accuse.  I know they’re watching, Lord.  Help me to show them how good and great you are.  Amen.