My little Mazda is loaded down with clothes and prayer books, and the rest of my stuff is tucked in a storage pod for who knows how long. And here I sit in my friend’s home wondering what God’s up to. I didn’t intend to roll into Thanksgiving week jobless and homeless, but, somehow, the timing seems perfect. What better week to begin again than the week devoted to gratitude?
I’ll be honest. My heart isn’t feeling especially grateful. It’s too full of questions, hurt feelings and second guesses. So, I’ll have to fight for a grateful heart. I’ll have to force myself to think of this week as a new beginning and not as a dead-end. I’ll have to boss my heart around a bit, and the best way to do that is through prayer.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5 NIV).
Perhaps you, too, find yourself in a tough spot this Thanksgiving. Let’s fight for our joy together. Let’s fight for gratitude. Let’s fight with the power of God through honest prayer.
As I begin a week set aside for gratitude, I feel far from grateful. It’s hard to be thankful when I’m the guest of honor at a pity party. This week is about gathering together, and I want to hide. This week is about reflecting on blessings, and I feel like I’m cursed. This week is about the family table, and my table’s in storage.
I need Your help, Lord. To see things through Your eyes. To focus on what I have instead of what I’ve lost. To begin again…again.
Brighten my perspective with Your hope.
Lord, I’ve done my share of starting over. I never thought I’d long for “same ol’ same ol’.” People keep saying You have big plans for me, but I struggle to believe it. I’m running low on hope, Lord. Please, refill my cup. I need more than a positive attitude. I need a mind transformed by Your living hope. It feels kind of dark, Lord, “but since [I] belong to the day, [I will] be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8 ESV).
“God of hope, fill [me] with all joy and peace as [I] trust in [You], so that [I] may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NIV).
Expel the lies that taunt my peace.
Oh, Lord, I’m trying hard to remember what’s true, but, when things get quiet, the enemy taunts me with pretty convincing lies. “You’re a fraud. People who live with you reject you because they see the real you. You’re destined to be alone.”
My stomach churns and the lump in my throat chokes me. My back screams for relief, and restful sleep dances just out-of-reach. I need Your truth. I need Your peace. I need Your eyes to see and Your mind to understand.
“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” (Psalm 25:5 ESV).
I will set my mind on You, Lord, for “the mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6 NIV). I will “let the peace of Christ rule” in my heart, for peace is my high calling. I will be thankful (Colossians 3:15 NIV).
Give me a glimpse of what’s ahead.
I know how You roll, Lord. You know the whole story, but You like to keep us in suspense. You know we can’t handle the whole sha-bang.
I do trust You, Lord. I do believe You have big plans for me. “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13 NIV).
But, Lord…could you give me a peek of what’s ahead? Just a glimpse of how You’ll work all this out for my good? Just a flicker of light for my path?
“Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me” (Psalm 43:3 NIV).
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life” (Psalm 143:8 NIV).
Ignite a fiery passion in me.
Lord, my latest detour feels like I skidded straight into frigid water. It left me breathless and with a flickering flame. I wasn’t prepared for another episode of “begin again.”
Prepare my heart for the next leg of my journey. Whatever it is You have for me, I want to receive it with joyful enthusiasm and deep humility.
“I never [want to] be lacking in zeal, but [I want to] keep [my] spiritual fervor, serving [You, my] Lord. [I want to] be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:11-12 NIV).
Never let me go.
I don’t even need to pray about this. Only praise.
“Because you are my help, I sing [praise songs] in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your right hand upholds me” (Psalm 63:7-8 NIV).
I hear You say to me, “I give [you] eternal life, and [You] shall never perish; no one will snatch [You] out of my hand” (John 10:28 NIV).
I declare to all who will listen, “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though [she] may stumble, [she] will not fall, for the Lord upholds [her] with his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24 NIV).
You are my hope, my joy and my delight. I will step forward in faith. I will begin again.
In the powerful name of Jesus I say, AMEN.
Are you facing an unplanned new beginning? I’d love to pray for you.