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A Prayer for the Sick

A friend of mine recently asked me to pray for her nephew, who is presently fighting a recurrence of a malignant brain cancer known as medulloblastoma.

His name is Gabe — if you’d like to send up a prayer for him, too, I know they’d be grateful — and he graduated from high school the day before this latest tumor was discovered.

I’ve been thinking about Gabe a lot lately. It makes my mother-heart hurt to even imagine what their family is going through.

Sometimes, when problems loom large, it’s hard to know where to even begin in your prayers, but in this instance, God brought the following Scriptures to mind almost immediately. These are the verses I’ve been praying over Gabe:

P is for Peace

Pray that God would calm their heart, quiet their fears, and grant them a peace that passes understanding. Ask Him to carry them through this trial and comfort them with His presence. Pray that they’d find complete rest in Him, casting their burdens at the foot of the cross and leaving them there. (Psalm 56:3, Philippians 4:7, Matthew 11:28, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Exodus 33:14, Psalm 68:19-20)

R is for Relationships

Pray that God would use this illness first and foremost to draw others unto Himself. Pray that relationships to family and friends would also be strengthened, that any past offenses would be freely forgiven, and that sincere words of love and affirmation would be spoken. (John 6:44, Exodus 20:12, 1 John 4:20, Proverbs 17:17, John 15:12, Ephesians 4:15)

A is for Assurance

Ask God to assure them of His great love and faithfulness. Pray that He would remind them that He has a purpose and a plan, that He is in control, that He can work all things together for their good and His glory, and that He is committed to continuing His work in their hearts until it is completed. (Psalm 117:2, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 103:19, Romans 8:28, Philippians 1:6)

Y is for Yielding

Pray that the afflicted would yield themselves completely to God and place their full trust in His son, Jesus Christ. Pray that the would boldly approach the throne of grace to make their requests known unto God, yet would still be able to say with all sincerity, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” (Joshua 24:23, Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 10:9, Hebrews 4:16, Philippians 4:6, Luke 22:42)

E is for Endurance

Ask God to strengthen and uphold them in the days ahead. Pray for their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual fortitude. Pray that God would give them grace as they walk through this trial and protect them against weariness and despair. Ask Him to bear their burdens and put a song of deep and abiding joy in their heart. (Isaiah 41:10, James 1:2-3, James 4:6, Isaiah 40:31, 2 Corinthians 4:8, Psalm 55:22, Isaiah 49:13)

R is for Restored Health

Pray that the Lord would mercifully and miraculously restore the one who is sick to health. Pray that He would heal them, body and soul, and would receive all the glory for having done so. Ask Him to prolong their life, and pray that they’d live out the remainder of their days in grateful service to Him. ( James 5:15-16, Matthew 8:17, Luke 4:40, 1 Timothy 1:7, Psalm 91:15-16, 1 Samuel 12:24)

Do you have friends or family members who are struggling with poor health? Pray for them! Scripture tells us:

“…the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” – James 5:15-16

To download a free printable copy of this prayer guide, click here. To view copies of our other prayer guides, follow this link.

Praying for Our Country

Pray for America: Here's a free printable prayer guide to get you started!Today is Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States by the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

Whether you celebrate such occasions by sending up the Stars and Stripes or not, I hope you will make it your practice to send up a prayer for our country — and not just on national holidays.

America needs prayer. She needs it now more than ever.

We all do.

But God has promised,

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”2 Chronicles 7:14

Won’t you join me in praying for our country?

Here’s my prayer. If you’d like to make it yours, as well, just scroll to the bottom of the post for a free printable copy of this guide:

Praying for Our Country


C is for Conviction of Sin

Pray that God would open our eyes to personal and corporate sin and would call us out of darkness into light. Ask Him not to abandon us to wrong thinking, but to forgive us and cleanse us and break the chains that bind us. Pray that He’d give us the strength and willpower to forsake, repent, and turn completely away from the sin that entangles and enslaves us. Pray that He’d enable us to live as servants of righteousness instead. (Acts 26:18, Romans 1:28, 1 Kings 8:50, Psalm 51:2, , Isaiah 58:6, Isaiah 55:7, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10, Hebrews 12:1, Romans 6:18)

O is for an Outpouring of God’s Spirit

Ask God to revive our hearts and draw us unto Himself. Pray that He’d fill us with His Spirit, that we might speak the Word boldly and with such authority that others would recognize we have been with Jesus. Pray that He’d empower us to walk in His presence, according to His calling, dedicating ourselves to the good works He prepared beforehand for us to do. (Psalm 80:18,John 6:44, Acts 4:31, Titus 2:15, Acts 4:13, Psalm 140:13, 2 Timothy 1:9, Ephesians 2:10)

U is for Understanding and Wisdom

Pray that God would grant us an extra measure of wisdom, that He would fill us with knowledge and understanding and discernment. That we would see things as He sees them and would stop calling that which is good “evil” and evil “good.” Pray that we would center our minds on what is true and right and noble and pure and lovely. (James 1:5, Philippians 1:9, Psalm 119:125, 2 Kings 6:17, Isaiah 5:20, Philippians 4:8)

N is for News You can Use

Ask God to raise up an army of journalists, reporters, and newscasters who are more concerned with proclaiming truth than with pushing politically-correct propaganda or propping up ratings. Pray that He’d break our country’s addiction to celebrity gossip and sensationalized accounts of current events and that we’d instead learn to use the news, not as entertainment, but as motiviation to pray and to make a difference in our world for good. (1 Corinthians 13:6, Proverbs 22:21, Galatians 1:10, Exodus 23:1-2, Proverbs 16:28, 2 Thessalonians 3:11, Colossians 4:2-3, Matthew 25:35-36)

T is for the Truth to Prevail

Pray that truth would be spoken in love, that it would be proclaimed, not only over our newswires, but in our homes, in our churches, in our schools, and in our courtrooms, as well. Pray that parents would guide their children in the truth, that pastors and teachers would rightly handle the Word of Truth, that judges and juries would uphold the truth, that the Holy Spirit would help us discern truth from error. (Ephesians 4:15, 3 John 1:4, Deuteronomy 11:19, 2 Timothy 2:15, Zechariah 8:16, John 16:13, John 8:32)

R is for Righteous Leaders

Pray for those in authority over us, that they might fulfill the purpose for which God placed them in their current position. Pray that those elected/appointed to office would be trustworthy and God-fearing, and that they would issue decrees that are just. Ask God to grant wisdom and discernment, both to the elected and to those doing the electing. (1 Timothy 2:2, Romans 13:1, Exodus 18:21, Proverbs 8:15, Daniel 2:21, Acts 1:24)

Y is for Yourself — Where Real Change Starts

Humble yourself before God and plead for mercy. Pray that whatever work He wants to do in your country would begin in your own home, in your own heart. Ask Him to enable you to recognize and address the log in your own eye, rather than focusing your attention on the speck in your brother’s. Pray that He would deliver you from evil and help you live an exemplary life in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. (James 4:6, 2 Chronicles 34:27, Luke 6:42, Matthew 6:13, Matthew 6:6, 1 Timothy 4:2)

Praying for Your Country Prayer Guide

[Click on image to print B&W version or here for full-color version]

I know many of my readers are not from the US. I would encourage you to pray for your country and its leaders as well. Other than the clip art, this guide is not specific to America. 🙂

Cultivating Contentment

Cultivating Contentment in the Season you're InMy husband used to have a medical colleague with a bad habit of complaining: When work was slow, he’d complain that he couldn’t make any money. When work was busy, he’d complain that he never saw his family.

Doug suggested that all he really needed was an attitude adjustment.

“When you’re working hard, be happy for the opportunity to make money. When your schedule’s light, be happy for the opportunity to spend more time with your family. Just flip-flop your reactions and you’ll have nothing to complain about.”

It occurs to me that a lot of wives and mothers might profit from a similar shift in thinking.

When our children are little, it’s easy to focus on the sleepless nights, the endless messes, the never-having-a-free-minute-to-call-our-own. As they grow, those earlier trials give way to hectic schedules and constant chauffeuring, then attitudes and hormones, then college tuition and car repairs, and then suddenly — in the blink of an eye — they’re grown and gone and you find yourself sitting in an empty house wishing for a do-over.

That’s why it is so important to focus not on the trials of each stage, but on the joys. Savor them, for they are fleeting. Tomorrow that chubby cheeked toddler who wakes you up three times a night will be married with children of his own.

I am so grateful that, when I was just a little girl, my mother warned me of the dangers of wishing one’s life away.

Instead of thinking, I’ll be glad when I’m old enough to wear make up or drive or date or attend college or get married or (fill in the blank), Mom advised me to just enjoy whatever stage of life I was in to the fullest.

The next stage would arrive soon enough, she assured me, but I’d miss the pleasures of the present stage if I spent my time pining for the privileges of the next.

It’s a lesson I carried with me into marriage and motherhood, and my life has been so much richer as a result.

Contentment is not something you should postpone for a more convenient time. If you are ever going to experience it, you must actively cultivate it.

Right now.

Right where you are.

This involves shifting your focus off the things you can’t do in your current season of life, and instead attending with gratitude to those things you can do.

Instead of complaining about the cold all winter and the heat all summer, relish the opportunity to wear sweaters and build fires and drink hot cocoa when temperatures drop, then take joy in wearing flip-flops and eating watermelon and going swimming when the mercury peaks.

This simple solution, consistently applied, has a profound effect on overall happiness and contentment.

One practical thing I do to help keep things in proper perspective is make lists. I’ve written before about the fact I keep a running Empty Nest List and a Do It Now List in my notebook.

These serve as a reminder to do more of what I’ll miss (like cuddling with my little ones, reading them stories, and baking cookies together) and to chill out about stuff that’s relatively inconsequential (there will be time to alphabetize my home library and organize my small parts cabinets when the kids are grown and gone, if those things are even still important to me then).

Of course, your children aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit when you focus on the things you love instead of the things that irritate you — your spouse will appreciate such a shift in thinking, too.

As much as you might like to grow old together, you have no guarantee that will happen, so show him all the love and respect and appreciation you can muster while you still have him with you.

Live in a way that will leave no lingering regrets when he’s gone.

What kinds of things would/should be on your “Do It Now List?” What things might be better postponed for another season, perhaps when your nest is empty?

Revitalize your relationship

Forever After (Free Printable Subway Art)


Wedding season is upon us: We’ve been invited to three weddings in four weeks, and it’s not even June yet!

What’s more, at least two of those brides are in their early twenties, which gives me hope that the trend toward delaying marriage an extra decade (or forgoing it altogether) may be starting to turn.

That makes me happy.

To celebrate, I decided to create a new piece of subway art.

You can print the design in the original 8×10 size for framing, or if you’re the crafty sort, you may want to print four copies per page, trim, and then mount them on cardstock to make your own wedding cards.

This is what all the brides we know will be getting with their gifts from us this season (along with a copy of my book).

Praying for Your Unborn Child

A friend of mine once told me that, all through one of her pregnancies, she prayed God would give her a beautiful little girl with blue eyes and dark hair.

God granted that request, but the little girl was also quite stubborn. She was so headstrong, in fact, that by the time she was two years old, my friend was wishing she’d spent more of her pregnancy praying for her daughter’s character than for her physical features!

Of course, I don’t think praying for a baby is like ordering off a menu, but I do know that God delights in giving us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4-5) — especially when those desires are in line with His own.

While it never occurred to me or my husband to pray for a child’s hair or eye color, or even for a particular sex, we certainly sent up many other heartfelt petitions for our children, beginning from the first moment we learned we were expecting, if not before.

Here are the things for which we most fervently prayed:

Prayer for an Unborn Child

C is for Conscience

Pray that God would give your child a tender conscience and would draw her to faith at an early age. Pray that she would be anointed by the Holy Spirit even in the womb and would know and love the Holy Scriptures from infancy. (1 Timothy 1:5; Luke 18:16-17; Luke 1:14-15; 2 Timothy 3:15)

H is for Health

Pray that, if would please Him, God would give your child good health and a strong body. Recognize that is is He who knits your baby together in her mother’s womb, and ask Him to watch carefully over every stage of her development. (3 John 1:2; Isaiah 40:29; Psalm 139:13-16)

I is for Intellect

Ask God to give your child understanding, so she might learn His commands. Pray that He’d bless her with a sound mind and would grant her wisdom and discernment. Pray that she would love the truth and not be swayed by false teaching. (Psalm 119:73; James 1:5; Proverbs 2:2-11; Ephesians 4:14)

L is for Love

Pray that your child would feel secure both in God’s love and in her parents’ love. Pray that she would learn to put others first. Pray that she would love the LORD with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength, and would love others as herself. (Romans 8:38-39; 1 John 4:19; Mark 12:30-31; Philippians 2:2-4)

D is for Disposition

Ask God to give your child a happy, cheerful disposition. Pray that He would fill her heart with joy and gratitude. Pray that she would bring hope and encouragement to everyone she meets. (Proverbs 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Ephesians 6:7; Romans 15:13; Proverbs 12:25; Hebrews 10:23-25)


“For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of Him.” (1 Samuel 1:27)

Do you (did you) pray for your babies before they were born? On what things were you most likely to focus your requests?

Parents should never underestimate the power of prayer. Even if you’ve not prayed consistently in the past, you can start now. Here are a couple of our other free printable guides to help you do that:

Praying for Your Children from Head to Toe
Praying for Your Teenager

We invite you to check out our printables page for even more!

Pray for Your Teen!

I received a request from a reader this week for a printable prayer guide for teens. Here’s what she wrote:

Thank you so much for your head-to-toe prayers! I’ve been using your husband one to pray for my husband for a few months and it’s been powerful! I like the one for children, also, which I just found today. I’d love it if you made one specifically geared toward teenaged children. I currently have five in that age range and never has there been a time in their lives when they need more prayer.

She’s right, of course.

Our children need prayer at every age and stage of life. They need Mom and Dad to faithfully and fervently bring them to the throne of Grace and intercede on their behalf. This is especially true during their teen years, as they navigate the sometimes tortuous path from carefree childhood to responsible adulthood.

And as we are praying for our teens, we must also remember to pray for ourselves — that God would grant us wisdom to face what challenges lie ahead, that He would give us patience to meet those challenges with understanding and grace, and that He would comfort us with the knowledge that He loves our children even more than we do and will be faithful to complete the good work He’s begun in them. (Philippians 1:6)

– A Prayer Guide for Your Teens –

T is for Trust

Ask God not only to bring your children to saving faith, but also to mature them in that faith. Pray that they would trust the LORD with all their hearts and not lean on their own understanding. Pray that you, as a parent, would maintain their trust, so that they will always feel comfortable confiding in you or coming to you for counsel. Pray that your teens would prove themselves worthy of the trust others place in them. (Ephesians 2:8; James 1:4; Proverbs 3:5; Proverbs 5:1; Proverbs 25:13)

E is for Education

Pray that the LORD would place within your children’s hearts a lifelong thirst for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Pray that your teens would learn to number their days and use their time wisely. Ask God to give them an eternal focus, so they will prioritize those things that He says are important. And ask that He’d provide clear direction as they make decisions regarding college and career paths. (Prov. 23:23; Psalm 90:12; Micah 6:8; James 1:5; Proverbs 2:3-11)

E is for Emotions

Ask God for an extra measure of sympathy and discernment as you parent your child through puberty and beyond. Pray that He would keep the lines of communication open as you discuss with them the fact that hormones not only affect the way their bodies grow, but the way they think, as well. Ask Him to help your teens navigate those changes wisely, while nurturing the fruit of the Spirit, including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and (especially) self-control. Pray that they would not be ruled by their feelings, but would take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. (1 Peter 3:8; Ephesians 4:29; Psalm 19:14; Proverbs 4:20-27; Galatians 5:22-23; Jeremiah 17:9-10; 2 Corinthians 10:5)

N is for Name

Pray that your teens would live and walk with integrity and that God would reward them with a good name. Pray that they’d do nothing to tarnish their reputation, but would serve as salt and light in their community, that the love of Christ would shine through them to a lost and dying world. Ask God to help them choose their friends and confidants wisely. Pray that no one should look down on their youthfulness, but that in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, they would show themselves an example of those who believe. (Proverbs 11:3; Proverbs 20:7; Proverbs 3:3-4; Matthew 5:13-14; Proverbs 13:20; Proverbs 27:17; 1 Timothy 4:12)

S is for Spouse

Pray that God would give your teens a clear vision of all that marriage is meant to be. Ask Him to grant them patience as they wait on His choice and timing, temperance to meanwhile maintain their purity (both in thought and deed), and a spirit of discernment as they evaluate potential mates. Pray that God would help them become the kind of person they want to marry, that they might be equally yoked in every way. (Mark 10:6-9; Psalm 33:22; 1 John 3:3; Romans 6:12-14; Proverbs 18:22; Proverbs 31:10-31; 2 Corinthians 6:14)


These are the things my husband and I pray for our teens. Can you think of anything we’ve left off the list? Maybe “S for Safety” — especially as they start to drive? You may just have to flip the page over and continue the list of specifics on the back!

You can download all our other prayer guides here: Free Printables.

“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.” (Psalm 145:18-19)

Love and Respect – Subway Art Printables

25 Ways to Communicate Respect | free printable Subway Art from http://lovinglifeathome.comI’ve been pondering what to get my husband this year for Valentine’s Day, as it’s only a week away.

In years past, I’ve written him poems, like this or this. And once I stitched him a silk-embroidered bed pillow, which has been broadcasting the same secret message for more than a decade now.

But just as I was starting to feel stumped for ideas, Doug made it super-easy on me.

“Valentine’s is coming up,” he reminded me earlier this week. “I thought it might be good for you to turn our Love and Respect lists into some sort of graphic we could post for the occasion.”

I told him I thought that was a great idea and got right to work on it. The next day, I presented him with two pieces of subway art: the one pictured here on communicating respect and another (which you can find on his blog) on expressing love.

Incidentally, Doug’s been making good progress on the book version of 25 Ways to Show Love to Your Wife, which should be available sometime this spring. The parts I’ve read so far are terrific! You can expect more detailed posts from him on related topics as he continues to work on that, so you may want to subscribe to his blog if you don’t already follow it.

Meanwhile, if you’ve not yet registered for our Valentine’s Day Romance and Respect Book Bundle Giveaway, you only have a week left to do so. Sign up here for a chance to win a copy of Heidi St. John’s Busy Homeschool Mom’s Guide to Romance and my 25 Ways to Communicate Respect.