#1:
I Wish I Could Believe
God, Show Me That You Exist

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. (Rev. 3:20)

God is just waiting for honest doubters to cry out for a little revelation! In fact, he is knocking at their doors, eager to oblige. This is the good news! God is just waiting for honest doubters to cry out for a little revelation! IN fact, He is knocking at their doors, eager to oblige! Here is a sublime theological point: the door to the human heart can be opened only from the inside. God will never force His way in. He waits for our response to His availability. All we have to do is open the door and ask with an open heart and mind.

Even if we already know that God exists and promises to be there for us, sometimes we don't feel his presence or see him moving in our lives. Then even strong believers experience doubts. They, too, need fresh reminders that he is there, aware and listening--and that he promises to respond:

Ask, and it shall be given you, seek, and you shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Luke 11:9)

God invites us to knock at his door so he can reveal himself to us. The interesting thing about Jesus' use of the word "knock" is that it means "to keep on knocking"--persistently, confidently, trusting in the love and faithfulness of God to answer us.

Think About This:

* Do you need God to show you that He exists?

          Or that He knows and cares about you?

                    Are you willing to pray right now for a new revelation of His Presence?

* What do you think might happen if you do?

          What do you think might change in your life when the awesome God answers that prayer?

* In thinking it over, can you see ways in the past in which God may have tried to show you that He is there?

          --that He is paying attention and working in your life?

                    Can you remember times of special blessing?

                              Rescue from harm?

                                      Unexpected provision?

Let us Pray:

     Father in Heaven, I need a fresh reminder of your presence, a fresh contact with home. Help me to never lose sight of your fingerprints on my life; of the times You have aided me, provided for me, protected me. Give me a grateful, thankful heart. As I recited the past outpouring of your grace, let my faith for the present and the future burn red-hot. That's what I need Lord, fresh fire! I declare my need for You and with all my heart I request the pleasure of your company! In Jesus' name.   Amen

Haven't you ever wondered, "Why are some of my prayers answered while some are not? How do I get God's attention? How do I get the divine 'Yes'?" Even the most faithful believers are discouraged by dry seasons, when it seems as though God doesn't really care about them or their needs.
"Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To" is the result of author Anthony DeStefano's journey through scripture to find those prayers that God always answers, and promises to always say yes to. Not sometimes. Not maybe. But all of the time. Adapted from http://www.anthonydestefano.com/books/TENPRAYERS/prayer_group.htm)

#2:
Why Should I Get Involved?
God, Make Me an Instrument

Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)

     Quite literally one of the oldest Christian prayers in the Book, the request that God make you an instrument is the one that God will answer fastest.

     Jesus is making an important promise: When two or three (or more) of us are together in his name, we have an opportunity to love our neighbor as ourselves. This is real love, not some mushy feeling or hormonal rush: It is allowing God to make us his "instruments" and live his life through us.

     Volunteering to become God's instrument sounds like a happy, innocent request, doesn't it? But it can be risky because God may need to shape us up first. For one thing, he will require us to rethink the importance of the thing that concerns us most: ourselves.

     And then some of us may not be sure we're really equipped to be God's instruments. What if we're not wise enough or brave enough or spiritual enough? Well, God has promised divine help. Just remember this verse:

God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him and then helping you do what he wants.

(Philippians 2:13).

Imagine, God living within you, working within you. You can't get any closer to him than that!

Think About This:

* If you seriously pray this prayer, what do you think it may require of you?

          What priorities might it change?

                    What do you think might happen if you do?

* Can you recognize times in the past when God may already have used you as His instrument to meet someone else's need?

          How did they react?

                   How did it make you fell?

* Can you recognize times in the past when God used other people to be instruments in your life?

                    --To help you when you were in need?

                              How did you react?

                                      How does it make you feel now?

Love has only one action--sacrificing yourself for others. Even when we don't want to...it all comes down to giving yourself away. Asking God to make you an instrument is really the same thing as asking Him to give you a shortcut to complete fulfillment!

Let us Pray:

     Lord, I come with a little fear and trembling, perhaps, but with excitement, too, and ask You to make me into Your instrument of blessing! Take away from my heart anything of selfishness that would keep me from helping people in need. Make me like Jesus your only begotten Son who was the servant of all. I ask You, to work in me to accomplish all You give me to do; the transforming things that I could never do on my own.

     I love you Lord, and I want to please You. I worship You by my obedience, knowing that obedience is worship given by the heart.  Amen

#3:
What's In It For Me?
God, Outdo Me in Generosity

What an extravagant promise! Here is a place where God can truly show you that He exists. He is absolutely faithful to this promise of provision when you give freely to the needy and to godly causes that need your help.

When you become a serious giver, God will bless you with generous provision--but it will be yours for a purpose: He wants you to become part of his wonderful circle of blessing!  Here's how it works: As you give generously to people in need, God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others....Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously (see II Corinthians 9:8-13).

When God finds a giving heart, he will pour out generously too, because he knows he has found someone who will help him fix our broken world; someone who will become the Gospel in action and bring honor and thanks to God. The blessing circle goes on as your sacrifices are richly rewarded so that you can continue to give freely and without fear.

If you asked God to make you an instrument by praying #2 above, the chances are good that at some point between then and now He has used your pocketbook to bless somebody else! Maybe that wasn't exactly what you expected, but, you know what? He's probably going to do that over and over. Is that a little scary?

Once you realize that giving is going to be be part of your job as God's instrument, you'll be happy to learn that He is going to provide the means for you to do it. This section about the prayer "God outdo me in generosity" is meant to explain how all this works.

Think About This:

Knowing that God's generosity flows in proportion to our own, would you seriously ask God to outdo you in generosity?

          -What do you think it might cost you?

               -What priorities might it change in your life?

                    -Is it a little intimidating?

* If we really want to experience God's provision, consider this: "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Might that Scripture give you a new slant on life and a new connection to God's provision?

          -What God-given financial responsibilities do you have first, before you begin giving to strangers?

               -Is it possible to do both? Will you try?

                 -In addition to money, what are other ways to show your generosity, and receive in kind from the Lord?

Let us Pray:

     Lord, You said You will live within me both to will and to do your will. Help me to be the Gospel with skin on...Good News to the destitute and hopeless. Set me free from greed and selfishness. I truly want to be able to share without thinking, lend without calculating, and give without counting the costs. Help me to do it when I have plenty and it's easy, and when I have little and it's hard; help me to be your most joyful and merciful giver possible. I want to be an instrument that helps you bless my family, neighbors and the whole world. Fill me with your generous, giving Spirit. This I ask in Jesus' name.  Amen

#4:
I Can't Take It Anymore!
God, Get Me Through This Suffering

You may not recognize the answer to this prayer when it happens! For instance: the neighbor who comforts you when your dearly-loved pet dies may not seem like a heaven-sent "escape hatch" from heartache, but that's probably exactly what he or she is! That shoulder you cried on, the understanding hug, the cup of tea; all are little gifts of restoration from God. He also has answers to those bigger griefs and trials that are so hard to understand.

Do you know its okay to ask God why bad things happen? Jesus asked "why" when He was enduring the torment of the cross and separation from God as He took our sins onto His dying body. There was n o answer then, but when Sunday came, His tomb was empty.

What other religion has a God who truly understands human pain because He, Himself, has suffered it? In a human body. With real blood and torn flesh. Has any other god volunteered to do that for you? No. There is none. Only Christ, and He showed us this: no matter what we're going through, God is there, even when He's silent. 

This prayer is not a way out of suffering itself, but that we can count on being consoled and fortified by God ... if we ask for His help. If we ask, He will meet us with grace to help us in our time of testing (See Hebrews 4:16) So be alert for the "escape hatch" He provides through His Word, through His ministering people, through the sacraments, and through the presence of His divine Comforter--the Holy Spirit! 

You may not need this prayer (God, get me through this suffering) right now if things are going well, but never forget it. Keep it fresh in your heart, ready to use when that rainy day comes around.

Think About This:

Can you now recognize some ways God provided an "escape hatch: of comfort for you in a time of trouble?

          -What did you do?

               -To whom did He send you?

* At some time or another, everyone suffers. What is the difference between the suffering of atheists and       

   believers?

*When mankind left the protection of God's side in the Garden of Eden, what did they lose?

          -What did they expose themselves to?

               -How do you think that affects you?

                    -How did Jesus Himself show us that suffering and evil can be overcome and everything will be all                              right in the end?

Let us Pray:

     Lord, we bring you all the things we're suffering right now; the little pains and the big tragedies; our grief over our sins and failures. Because you understand what it means to suffer, we know You will help us in our need. We're trusting in Your sure word, Your infinite patience and Your everlasting grace.

     Give us the sense always to cry for Your help so you can send wise and caring friends to lean on, and most of all so that You will send us the Holy Spirit, the Comforter! And Lord, allow us to become comforters to those around us so we can comfort them as we have been comforted by You. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!   Amen

MORE TO COME!!
IN THE MEANTIME, WE SUGGEST YOU BUY THE BOOK, READ IT, AND USE IT AS A PILGRIM RESOURCE