Be Full of Joy

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, TPT)

 

Despite what we go through or the struggles we face, we always have reason to give thanks. Joy is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it is found in the hope that we know in Christ. As we walk this out tangibly, with His grace, our very lives become a prayer of praise in recognition of God’s goodness for all of our days. This is not to say that our days will be easy or free from trials, but rather as we continue to move in the direction to which we are called, we find faith and trust in knowing where our strength, help and hope come from. God is good, and the more we give Him thanks in all things, the more we discover His joy is present, even when life is difficult. May we never stop praying nor giving praise, for this is the life to which we have been called for all of our days.

 

Never stop praying,Be Full of Joy

Let joy lead the way;

All thanks be to God,

For help, strength and grace.

No matter what comes,

There’s reason to praise;

For God is our hope,

The Ancient of Days.

Despite what we see,

He has a great plan;

His love, unending,

Grace to firmly stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we always have joy deep within us through the hope we have in You. Thank You that as we pray and give You all gratitude, our very life is like a prayer before You as You lead us to walk out Your will. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our joy, or for looking for answers anywhere other than You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to the truth we know, and would seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others and spread the joy that You have given to us, so that they too, may come to know the hope that is held in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose joy and make our very lives a prayer as we give You all praise. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

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Pray for People

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them, intercede on their behalf, give thanks for them. – (1 Timothy 2:1, NLT)

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. – (1 Timothy 2:1, ERV)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. – (1 Timothy 2:1, MSG)

 

This is exactly the reminder that I needed this morning. I have one class during my day that feels like a battle zone. No matter what I try in my teacher bag of tricks, I cannot come to a consistent calm in that class. Between the attention seekers, the noise makers, and the downright disrespectful, each day it is a struggle to walk in with new hope that it might be better. Some days I pray, but really more for survival than for specific kids. I do like each of the kids individually, yet when combined together, a different dynamic arises, and there is rarely joy in what I am doing. Today, I am going to pray differently. I will be praying for these young ones individually, and with gratitude. My prayer will be for God’s blessing and provision to be poured out upon them. My hope is that as I reset my heart’s focus, there would be a change in me that somehow overflows to them. May we run to our Redeemer in prayer, ever lifting up all people before Him – interceding on their behalf as we give thanks for them.

 

O God, here I am, Pray

Before You in prayer;

Lifting up others,

Who need know Your care.

Father, please help them,

In every way;

Bless them and keep them,

Throughout their whole day.

Provide all they need,

May Your love be shown;

Thank You for each life,

I’m blessed to have known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and pray to You, You hear us and meet us where we are. Lord, I lift up people who are struggling to fit, be it students in a classroom, people in a workplace, or community members in their given community. Thank You for each person that You have given us. Please bless them and provide for their every need – spiritual, emotional and physical. Forgive us for not looking past our own frustrations with the behaviors that people display. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see others through Your eyes so that we may respond in love, even when frustration rises. Show us how to pray for people in a way that matters. Help us to be an extension of Your hands and heart to those around us through the way in which we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray for all people and give You thanks for them. Amen.

 

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

 

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Help and Hope Realized

I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. – (Psalm 17:6, NLT)

Every time I call to You, God, You answer me. So listen to me now, and hear what I say. – (Psalm 17:6, ERV)

I am crying aloud to You, O True God, for I long to know Your answer. Hear me, O God. Hear my plea. Hear my prayer for help. – (Psalm 17:6, VOICE)

 

David, in the midst of his struggles with Saul, cried out to God, asking to be heard as he remembered and trusted in His faithfulness. Though I am not in a season of struggle, and am standing in the dawn of a new day that marks the beginning of a brand-new school year, I cannot help but have a heavy heart for so many that surround us with fires blazing throughout my state and those that surround us, as well as the devastation that has befallen those in the path of Hurricane Harvey and those threatened by the impending landfall of Irma. May we pray as David did, and call on the Lord for help, trusting that He hears our cries and will show us what we are meant to do.

 

O Lord, we cry out, Fire Map

Trusting that You hear;

We know You’ll answer,

Your love for us, clear.

Bend down and listen,

O God, hear our cries;

So many in need,

Bring help to these lives.

Show us what to do,

To see through Your eyes;

So help and Your hope,

Are soon realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can pray to You and be heard. Thank You that You bend down from heaven to hear our prayer and listen to our cries. Thank You that You are our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Forgive us for doing nothing when we are overwhelmed with the weight of the need that surrounds us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would step up and do one small thing at a time, as even the small things matter to the one who receives. Show us how to love well, all those around us in practical ways, so that they might see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You, trusting You to hear and answer us. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Soothe My Soul

But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and throughout each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life. – (Psalm 42:8, NLT)

By day the Lord shows His faithful love, and at night I have a song for Him – a prayer for the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, ERV)

Yet in the light of day, the Eternal shows me His love. When night settles in and all is dark, He keeps me company – His soothing song, a prayerful melody to the true God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, VOICE)

 

God’s faithful love is present, and is poured out upon us daily. At the end of the day, when I slow down and recognize the evidence of His hand that has been everywhere, my soul is soothed by the songs that present prayerful praise to He who has given me life. On great days, we can praise Him for the blessings that have been poured upon us. When days are difficult, we can thank Him for the strength that sustained us, and the glimpses of hope that He gave along the way. No matter what each day holds, His unfailing love awaits. May we receive the love that our Heavenly Lord gives, and give Him praise for all of our days.

 

Each new day that comes,

IMG_3833

©Shannon E. Moreno

You’re faithful to give;

Your unfailing love,

To have as we live.

As each day closes,

May from our hearts flow;

Songs of thanksgiving,

For good that we know.

Each breath that we take,

A gift from above;

Let’s sing songs of praise,

Of Your gracious love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the unfailing love that You pour upon us. Thank You that as the day closes, our hearts cannot help but hold songs of praise unto You. Thank You that You are the God of our life, and that You give us strength. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting You as we should, or giving You the praise that is due. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come before You in all things and at all times, knowing that Your unfailing love is what we can count on. Show us how to shower those around us in Your love, as we extend kindness and grace in the same way that You give unto us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive You unfailing love and sing songs of praise unto You for all of our days. 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

Always…

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

 

My heart is full, and there is joy despite the sorrow of loss. After hearing more stories of the incredible life that my Gram led, I am even more convinced than I was before that she did exactly what we are called to do in the verses above. Her heart was lined with joy that poured out to all who had the blessing to be near. Gram prayed unwaveringly for each of us, and the words that left her lips were laced with gratitude. Even in the final few months of her life, when she was ill and in agony, she found joy in the nearness of family and friends, and would still love and live and laugh in spite of the pain. Though I will miss her terribly, the lilt of her laughter, the warmth of her smile, the kindness of her encouraging words – the essence of who she was in Christ, will forever live in my heart and mind until we again embrace in eternity. Her example is one that continues to challenge me to seek the Lord in all things. In all circumstances, I can find His joy and express gratitude for who He is, simply because I am loved well. May we never stop praying, as it is in our space of communing with Christ that we find joy and gratitude rises up within us.

 

Such fullness of joy,Always

Shall rise and find way;

When we seek the Lord,

In all things, choose pray.

No matter what comes,

Let thanks leave our lips;

For God who is love,

He strengthens, equips.

To pray and be full,

Of thanks and His joy;

God’s own will for us,

Through grace He’ll employ.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and pray to You, we always have reason to be thankful and full of joy. Thank You that this is Your will for us, as You have designed us to have Your joy dwelling within us all of our days. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our joy or to keep us from giving thanks for the good that exists in spite of the difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would never stop praying and praising You. Thank You for the incredible example of my Grandmother, who prayed without ceasing and was overflowing with thankfulness and joy. Show us how to love others in a way that demonstrates our gratitude and allows the joy that You give to overflow and bless every life we are near. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are filled with Your joy, pray always, and give thanks in all things. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Grateful for What is Given

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. – (2 Timothy 1:2, NIV)

May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy and peace. – (2 Timothy 1:2, NLT)

 

These words were Paul’s exhortation to Timothy as he was essentially waiting on death row. Emperor Neuro had shifted the blame for the great fire in Rome from himself to those who faithfully followed Christ. Despite being in a cold dungeon, awaiting his sentence to be carried out, Paul used the time he still had to encourage Timothy. Grace is the good we receive that we do not deserve, and mercy is not being given that which we do. Furthermore, in the midst of persecution, Paul was praying for peace. Regardless of circumstances, his hope was that Timothy would cling to Christ, and remember the promises and good that come from God alone. The very same words meant to encourage one man who was likely mourning the impending death of his dear father-like friend, are also for each of us. May we embrace the grace and mercy that God provides, and pursue the place where we can simply rest in the peace that He alone can give, despite what is going on around us.

 

No matter what comes,

Thankful for Love that Endures

Vandy Massey Watercolor

Help us look around;

See grace and mercy,

From where peace is found.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You are the way;

Calm in our chaos,

Our hope for each day.

Let us ever seek,

Your help and Your heart;

So we’ll know the truth,

Of all You impart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our source of grace, mercy and peace, regardless of what is going on around us. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and are made aware of Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for not seeking You in the midst of our storms, and help us to trust You more, so that we would remember that all grace, all mercy and all peace are provided by Your loving hand. Show us how to love others in a way that extends Your grace, mercy and peace, so that many may come to know the hope that is held in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we are so grateful for the grace, mercy and peace that You give in both calm and chaos, as we navigate all of our days. 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

Precious Peace

“Don’t be afraid,” he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” – (Daniel 10:19a, NLT)

Do not be afraid, you who are highly regarded by God. May peace rest on you and make you whole; be strong; be brave. – (Daniel 10:19a, VOICE)

 

Though these words were spoken by a messenger of God to Daniel when he had been praying on behalf of his people, God still speaks these words to us. Because of His great love, He considers us precious unto Himself, and is ready to give us that which is needed when we choose to call on His Name. As we come before the Lord in prayer, trusting that He hears, He grants peace and strength and courage to face whatever lies before us. We need not fear, for the Lord above all is always near. May we choose to humble ourselves before the Lord in prayer, seeking His help and His heart in all things.

 

Do not be afraid,Psalm 23  1

Instead, choose to pray;

For the Lord, He hears,

And will guide our way.

We each are precious,

In the Lord’s own sight;

Take strength and courage,

He grants us to fight.

His peace makes us whole,

Removing all fear;

Power to press on,

His love is made clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and pray to You, You meet us with Your peace, encouragement and strength. Thank You that we are precious in Your sight, not because we have earned Your favor by doing or being enough, but rather because we are Your created. Forgive us for not seeking You in all situations, as You are the answer to all that we need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know Your peace, encouragement and strength in every situation, regardless of what surrounds us. Show us how to love those around us so that they may feel loved and encouraged, and sense a peace and strength that comes from You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prayerfully seek You, trusting You for all that we need. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Learning to Pray

Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” – (Luke 11:1, NKJV)

 

Jesus modeled a life of prayer. His example was to be intentional, to be focused, and to pray often. It was not a matter of making a display of what He was doing, but rather, Jesus would set aside quiet time to go off on His own to pray. He was clearly in constant communication with the Father, as He did the things that He knew the Lord was asking of Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:17  instructs us as follows: Pray without ceasing. I don’t think this is to mean that we are meant to be on our knees 24/7, (though there is a time for that) but rather that we are quick to communicate our praises and petitions to our Heavenly Father. He wants our hearts, and when we love deeply, we want to communicate with whomever we love, as often as possible. Prayer is how we converse with our Creator. May we learn to pray without ceasing, ever communicating our heart to the one Who gives us love, light and life.

 

Help us learn to pray,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

As we’re called to do;

Ongoing in trust,

As we choose seek You.

May we come to know,

The truth of Your word;

That all that we pray,

By Your heart is heard.

Let us never cease,

To bring unto You;

Our praises and need,

As You’ll lead us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You that not only do You teach us how to pray, but You sent Your Son to model what it is like to live a life in constant communication with You. Thank You that You listen to our every prayer, and long to be in relationship with us. Forgive us for not praying as we ought to pray. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would learn to pray without ceasing. Help our prayers to become natural conversations that occurs throughout our days, in all things and at all times, not just when we go off to a quiet place. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might see Your goodness and grace through the love that we extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray without ceasing, trusting You to be who You say You are. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Praying on Purpose

It is easy to get caught up in the rigor of daily life, and forget just how critical it is to lift up one another in prayer. When we cover each other, there is power released through our prayers. Protection, courage, passion and perseverance all come by His grace when choose to be intentional in our prayers.

 

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of His call. May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. – (2 Thessalonians 1:11, NLT)

 

That is the very sort of covering that I desire, so that I might live my life worthy of His call. I am well aware that on my own, I cannot accomplish that which I am prompted to do. However, by His strength, I can do all things that He asks of me. Faithful women of prayer have gone before me. My grandmother and my mom are both women whom I know have lifted many words heavenward on my behalf. The grace that I have been given, has largely been prayed in by them and faithful friends. I desire to do the same. May we each have the seed planted deep within our heart, so that we would be people who faithfully and consistently pray for those around us.

 

Power is released,Believe Instead of Striving

When we choose to pray;

The grace to do good,

To walk in His way.

As faith leads us on,

Shows us what to do;

Ask God for the help,

To see His plan through.

May we choose live lives,

Worthy of You, Lord;

Praying by Your grace,

Use all You afford.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your grace and the power that is released when people pray. Thank You that You hear every prayer that is lifted before You, and You give what is needed to accomplish that which we are called to do. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness in prayer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring before You, every need, concern, praise, and hope – daily. Show us how to pray as You would have us pray. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages each to seek You for strength and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray for the people around us, trusting You to enable each of us to live lives worthy of our call. Amen.

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

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

Prayer and Praise Bring Joy

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

 

God has given us His Spirit within us, so that we might be filled with His joy. When we pray to the Lord and trust His word to be true, joy rises up within us, despite what we are going through. It is impossible to be grateful without joy joining in. God designed us for relationship, and we find fulfillment when we are operating in the manner for which we were created. As we pray and give God thanks, His joy fills us and He shows us how to live according to His good and perfect will. May we never stop praying or giving God our gratitude, as He fills us to overflowing with His joy.

Offered Unto You

Seek the Lord and pray,

No matter what comes;

For His joy is ours,

When we trust the Son.

It is the Lord’s will,

That we seek and pray;

Trust in God alone,

And walk in His way.

Give the Lord all thanks,

In bad times and good;

For His grace abounds,

Where hope’s understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to always be joyful in You. Thank You that we can continually praying to You, and You hear our every prayer. Thank You that living in a space of prayerfulness and gratitude, is the very place that You are calling us to live. Thank You that Your joy fills us, regardless of what surrounds us, when we are investing our hearts in You. Forgive us for not giving our gratitude to You, or for being passé about prayer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would prioritize presenting our praise and petitions before You, trusting and thanking You for who You are. Show us how to be a constant source of joy and gratitude as we love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as joy in You rises up in us as we pray and give You thanks in all things. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13