The Essence of Prayer

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself interceded for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. – (Romans 8:26-28, NIV)

Meanwhile, the moment we realize we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs and aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. – (Romans 8:26-28, MSG)

 

Yesterday, my pastor spoke about prayer. He reminded us that the essence of prayer is talking to God. So often we overcomplicate prayer, thinking that it requires specific rituals, routines or the “right” words. In actuality, prayer is us communing with God. It is a time of intentional slowing down to not only share our hearts with Him, but to listen as well. When we do not have the words to speak, we can rest in silence before Him, fixing our hearts on Him, and He hears what we cannot put into words. May we take time each day to commune with our Maker, as He knows and He hears our every heart cry and is faithful to be present as we travel each step of our path.

 

In strength and weakness, Refreshment Through Repentance

Our faithful Lord hears;

Each prayer that we pray,

Throughout all our years.

Even without words,

With our hearts to Him;

He hears and He knows,

Each need from within.

All things in our lives,

Can be used for good;

As we live for Him,

His grace understood.

So make time to pray,

With our God, commune;

You’ll find He’s faithful,

His heart to us tuned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that prayer is not the complicated thing that we tend to make it out to be. Thank You that prayer is talking to You. Thank You that You made the way for us to commune with You directly. Forgive us for neglecting our relationship with You through lack of prayer. Teach us how to slow down, pull away and be disciplined to have intentional time conversing with You. Show us how to love well, all those whom we encounter, and to pray for all who are in need. Help us to listen too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You intentionally and spend time communing with You. Amen.

 

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

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Choose a Life of Love

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. – (Ephesians 5:2, NLT)

Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:2, ERV)

Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:2, MSG)

 

When we choose to live a life of love, just as Christ loved us, we are a pleasing aroma to God. The idea of our offering being a sweet scent before our Maker is a remarkable reminder that our choice to love matters. Likewise, as we love others as Christ loves us, we are a pleasing aroma to people. When we observe or are the recipients of words or deeds that are not done in love, often the way we describe the situation is that it stinks. I imagine that before God, there is a stench when we are not acting according to His love. We have been given the greatest example that ever was to follow, and He equips us to go and do the same. The decision to choose to live out a life of love is ours, and the choice we make matters. May we each opt to live the life of love that God has prepared for us, and go forth as a sweet scent before both the Lord and those whom He places on our path.

 

The sweet scent of Christ, Love Made Known

Is one full of love;

For His sacrifice,

Grace, His true motive.

Christ’s own sacrifice,

Created the way;

For us to receive,

And give love away.

He did not withhold,

But chose to give all;

So we too could love,

And answer His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a life lived out in love is a pleasing aroma before You. Thank You Jesus, for being the ultimate example of how to love without limits. Forgive us for the times that we opt to withhold love when we are called to extend that which we have been given. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love anyway, even when it is difficult. Show us how to love well, all those whom You have placed on our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live a life of love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Freely Given

When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. – (Titus 3:4-5a, NLT)

But then the kindness and love of God our Savior was made known. He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. – (Titus 3:4-5a, ERV)

But then something happened: God our Savior and His overpowering love and kindness for humankind entered our world; He came to save us. It’s not that we earned it by doing good works or righteous deeds; He came because He is merciful. – (Titus 3:4-5a, VOICE)

 

Our hope and our help come not as a result of what we have done, but rather that of which God has done. In His kindness and love, He made the way for us to be saved. Salvation is not dependent on our qualifications, but rather on our reception of that which is freely given. If we choose to believe and receive the new life that He offers, our hearts are changed and minds are made new. While we were yet sinners, He loved. Most of us are able to extend mercy to friends and loved ones, but to those who are against us? The Lord demonstrates the depth and breadth of His love through how He loves and offers salvation to ALL. There are no exceptions nor exclusions from His offer; His mercy is available to everyone. May we both receive and extend that which we have been given freely, so that others too, may come to know the loving kindness and mercy of our Maker.

 

It’s kindness and love, Hands of Grace

Through mercy He brings;

That we can be saved,

Freed from sinful things.

Salvation’s not earned,

By good that we do;

But given by grace,

That shows His love true.

What it takes from us,

Is choice to receive;

To place trust in Him,

Allow God to lead.

As we give God reign,

Our eyes start to see;

Others with His grace,

Kindness and mercy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came to save us, not because of anything that we did that made us good enough, but rather because of Your kindness and love. Thank You that You are merciful and full of grace, ready to receive all who seek Your face. Forgive us for thinking we have to measure up, rather than freely receiving that which You have to give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to lead us and change us from the inside out. Show us how to love others with the same kindness, love and mercy that You extend to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive what You freely give so that we can give likewise. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Rise in Hope

I wake before the dawn and call for help; I hope in Your words. – (Psalm 119:147, VOICE)

I get up early in the morning to pray to You. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:147, ERV)

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:147, NIV)

 

The stillness of the early morning provides the perfect place to pray and set my heart right for the day. When I wake, I am able to direct my mind to my Maker, and allow the truth of His word to cover my countenance before I have a single interaction with another soul. Though I am human and flawed, this practice of seeking space grants me grace that I would not otherwise have, and likely saves many middle school students from responses they’d rather not hear. My patience is still pressed and my buttons still pushed, yet the capacity to extend grace and forgiveness is exponentially greater because my heart is held in His hands. God is good, and He is faithful to answer each request for help that we reach heavenward. His word is trustworthy and true, and we can count on Him no matter what comes our way. May we ever remember to call on Him for help when we rise, trusting that He will be our help throughout each new day.

 

Early each morning,Lead for Life

I choose rise and pray;

It sets heart and mind,

With grace for the day.

I call to the Lord,

For help He provides;

I trust in His word,

It helps, leads and guides.

Let all of our hope,

In the Lord God rest;

For He hears our cries,

And leads and loves best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You in the early morning, You are present and listening – ready to answer. Thank You that we can trust You and Your every word. Forgive us for not seeking You at the start of our day, or for lacking faith in Your word. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rise and seek Your help – ever placing our trust in You and what You have spoken. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might see Your faithfulness through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in the morning and hope in You all day long. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Revealed Glory

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. – (Psalm 19:1-2, NLT)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. Each new day tells more of the story, and each night reveals more about God’s power. – (Psalm 19:1-2, ERV)

 

Regardless of whether or not we are looking or listening, God’s glory is continually being revealed. All around us there is evidence of His handiwork. From the rising and setting of the sun, to the ocean’s tide only coming so far – each powerfully displaying the mighty work of our Creator’s hands. At night, we need only escape the distraction of the city lights to look up and discover the dizzying design mapped out by our Maker. More stars than our eyes can count, His creation reveals glimpses of His power that are greater than we can fathom. May we ever recognize God’s majesty and might as we observe the glory of His creation all around us. All praise, honor and glory unto You Lord, now and forevermore.

 

All heaven declares,Hope for Eternity

The glory of God;

Powerful display,

May each heart applaud.

Give praise for the skies,

That speak of His hands;

And night after night,

Show His heart to man.

So speak of His love,

And show well His grace;

Help others see too,

His glorious ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are great and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that Your glory is displayed throughout the earth, and Your majesty is announced in the skies. Thank You that You are for us, and that You long to be in relationship with us, if only we choose to seek You. Forgive us for not recognizing the incredible craftsmanship of Your creation that is all around us, or for neglecting to be grateful for Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize all of Your glory that surrounds us, and go forth giving You praise for Your precious presence. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. Be glorified O God, as we give You our praise for the glory of all that You have made, and go forth in gratitude as we love like You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Steady Our Restless Souls

That hope is real and true, an anchor to steady our restless souls, a hope that leads us back behind the curtain to where God is. – (Hebrews 6:19, VOICE)

 

Our hope is in God and His promises. Because His love does not waiver, our hope is secure and our souls have an anchor by which to stand steadfast. No more does a curtain separate us from the presence of God, but rather we are welcome and invited to come before our Maker, as Christ covers us and makes the way. Let us hold fast to the hope that is real and true, as we trust in the One who is our anchor, and He steadies our restless souls.

 

The hope that is real,

The Anchor for Our Soul

Is steady, secure;

It’s found in the Lord,

Our anchor assured.

When restless our souls,

Let Christ lead us back;

The goodness of God,

That keeps us on track.

For in His presence,

The restless find peace;

Our hope is restored,

And fears are released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our hope in You is real and true, and that You are the anchor that steadies our restless souls. Thank You that there is no longer a barrier that separates us from You, because Jesus made the way for us to draw near. Forgive us for not seeking You to steady our restless souls when the weight of the world makes us weary. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember where our hope dwells, and bring all things before You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may see Your heart and hope through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold our hope in You – the One who is real and true, who steadies our restless souls. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Lift My Eyes

I lift my eyes up to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

 

While driving my Mom back to her home on the eastern side of our state, I was reminded anew that I never grow weary of taking in the view. I am in awe as I see the sight of the snow-capped peaks, the trees that are nearly new again – despite serious devastation due to fire, and it is impossible not to recognize the hand of God in all of the beauty that surrounds along the journey. The very same God that made all that we see, is close and personal, as He protects and provides for us. His hand has been abundantly evident over this past week, as my Mom is recovering from a horrific car accident that could have been far worse. Though her car was a total loss, she sustained only bruises and soreness, which is miraculous, considering the speed at which the other driver was doing when he barreled into her lane on a sharp corner. Our help comes from Him – the very same One who created all; as He helps and protects. May we ever keep our eyes looking up, so that we do not miss all of the mighty works of His hands.

 

As I lift my eyes,Lift My Eyes

Such sights to behold;

Beauty created,

His glory is told.

The very same strength,

That made mountains rise;

Comes alongside us,

Our hope realized.

Let’s lift up our eyes,

In awe, see the view;

As our Creator,

Will be our strength too.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength and help. Thank You that You, who made the heavens and earth, see each of us where we are and are willing to help us and grant us strength. Forgive us for looking to anything or anyone other than You for strength, as You are our help and our hope. Thank You that You often send people alongside us to encourage and walk with us too. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for the strength we need in all circumstances. Show us how to love well those around us, so that we might strengthen and encourage as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our eyes up to You and seek You for strength and help. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Mindful of Us

But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him?” – (Hebrews 2:6, NIV)

What is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him? – (Psalm 8:4, NIV)

 

It is an overwhelming thought to think that the Creator of the Universe would be mindful of us, individually – that He cares for every single person that ever has been, is and will be. Clearly, the very thought of such a personal God has been mind-blowing throughout the ages. Our mere mortal minds cannot hardly begin to grasp the magnitude of our Maker’s love and care for each of us. He deliberately designed each of us with a plan and a purpose, placing gifts and talents within us, that are unique to the DNA designed in our beings. There is no one else on the planet just like YOU. No one else can fulfill the purpose nor share the gifts that God has designed in and through you. Even with twins, who look remarkably similar, the Lord has created each with different talents, strengths and dreams planted within them to uniquely touch the world. May we each embrace the incredible, as God is mindful of each of us, and cares for us individually. Let us walk out our days as we have been designed, for we are the only one God created to answer the specific call placed on our lives.

 

The most holy God,mindful-of-us

Is mindful of you;

Cares personally,

And His love is true.

The very same God,

Who created all;

Will love us to life,

Catch us when we fall.

Let’s trust in His word,

May our hearts align;

As we live our days,

As He has designed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are mindful of us and care for us, individually. Thank You that despite You being God of matchless power and might, You still draw near and love even the least of us. Thank You that You designed us each with a plan and a purpose that is unique to us. Forgive us for forgetting that we are each intended to fill a role in Your kingdom, and all matter to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk out our days according to Your plan, trusting that which You have placed within us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they would be encouraged to seek You and to see the deliberate design that You placed within them as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days as You have designed, recognizing the care that You have for us all. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

This New Day

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. – (Psalm 118:24, NLT)

 

Every single day we have reason to rejoice, simply because we have life in Him. Each day is a new opportunity to observe in awe, the mighty power of our Maker as He moves in and around us. Some days, we need not look far to find how His mighty hand has touched our hearts and lives with His great love; however, there are days in which we have to be intentional to slow down and quiet ourselves before Him, to really recognize the blessings that He has bestowed upon us and those around us. He moves whether we notice or not, which is why it is so important to be intentional in our time with Him. At times, our reason to rejoice comes in a gentle whisper, as we are reminded of who we are in Him. May we rise up and rejoice and be glad, for this is a new day that the Lord has made for us to live.

 

Today is a day,IMG_2491

Like none come before;

Crafted with purpose,

For you, God has more.

Because God is good,

Our hearts can rejoice;

Find joy each new day,

As we hear His voice.

No matter what comes,

He has good in store;

A plan and purpose,

In Christ, there is more.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make each day new with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that there is always reason for us to rejoice, even on our darkest days. Forgive us for the times that we become stuck, and cannot see past our sorrow and struggles. Help us to see clearly the light of hope that is always present in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rejoice and be glad each new day that we draw breath. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that we extend hope and joy to the spaces of darkness and sorrow. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice and are filled with gladness for this new day that You have made. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

I Look Up

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

 

For me, there is nothing like getting out in nature to regain perspective as to who God is, and how awesome His power and might. All it takes is a glimpse of the crashing waves of the ocean or the mighty peaks that rise before me, to realize how great He is and how small I am. This morning, I have the opportunity to go and reset. In the midst of the madness of Christmas shoppers and chaos all around the city, some dear friends and I are going to escape for a few hours to hike in the snowy woods. Fresh air and the beauty of God’s creation await. I cannot think of a better way to spend my morning on this wonderful Wednesday before Christmas. May you all have an opportunity to find rest and reset amidst the madness, and recognize how great our God is, and from where our help is found.

 

As I lift my eyes,i-look-up

What is it I see?

The glory of God,

Created for me.

The very same hands,

That made earth and sea;

Are ready to help,

All who choose seek Thee.

Our help comes from Him,

The Lord above all;

Who loves us to life,

And lifts when we fall.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your creation. Thank You that the very same hands that hung the stars in the sky are willing to come close and hold our hearts. Forgive us for not looking to You to be our help, or for neglecting to recognize the majesty of all that You have made. Teach us to see You and Your creation with a holy perspective, so that we would recognize how great and mighty You are. Show us how to love fiercely, so that others too, will be led to look to You as their Source of help and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look up to You to be our help in all things. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11