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Once-A-Day Devotional for Women
ZondervanCopyright © 2011 The Livingstone Corporation
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Chapter Onejanuary 1
SOLOMON'S PRAYER FOR WISDOM
At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, "Ask for whatever you want me to give you."
Solomon answered, "You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
"Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?"
1 Kings 3:5–9
Imagine Solomon, the heir to one of the wealthiest nations at that time, beginning his inaugural address with a prayer for God to help him—a mere "little child." Perhaps you feel like that sometimes, even though you have children of your own. Instead of looking to his resources—the enormous power of military might; the wealth of his kingdom—Solomon turned to prayer. Only God could help him be the effective leader he needed to be. Solomon honestly evaluated his own abilities in light of the magnitude of his responsibilities as the king of Israel. He concluded: "Who by himself is able to govern this great nation of yours?"
As you begin this new year, let Solomon's prayer for wisdom guide your own prayer. Seek God's wisdom first; let him counsel you as you pray.
Dear Lord, I ask for your wisdom in my life this year ...
HANNAH'S CRY FOR A CHILD
In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, "Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head."
1 Samuel 1:10–11
Hannah lived in a time when a woman was dishonored if she was unable to bear children. Her rival—her husband's other wife—took advantage of this situation. She flaunted her own children before Hannah. When the whole family went up to Jerusalem for the feast, Hannah found herself unable to join in the celebration. Instead, she went into the Tabernacle and expressed her deep longings to God and poured out her intense sorrow before the Lord. She knew to whom she should turn when she was down. She knew the Almighty was the only one who could help her up. She didn't arrogantly demand that God give her a son. Instead, she expressed her willingness to give herself for what she desired. She vowed before God that, if he would give her what she most desired, she would give her son back to God.
What is the cry of your heart? Have you brought it before God? Have you been willing to bear the "cost," should God ask for it?
Dear Lord Almighty, if you will look down upon me and answer my prayer ...
CELEBRATING GOD'S FAITHFUL LOVE
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let Israel say: "His love endures forever." Let the house of Aaron say: "His faithful love endures forever." Let those who fear the Lord say: "His love endures forever."
Dependable. Reliable. Faithful. All of us want such qualities in our friends—dependable when the going gets tough, reliable when you have to count on them, and faithful to the end. Let us celebrate God's faithfulness. God came to our rescue when we were most desperate and at the mercy of our ruthless enemies. Such faithful love is something to celebrate; so praise him by saying: "His love endures forever."
Each day, let us celebrate God's faithfulness. Whether it is a birth of a child, the start of a new job, unexpected financial provision, or God's continual blessing on your family, thank God for being faithful to you.
Dear Lord, your faithful love for me endures forever ...
REJOICING OVER GOD'S FAVOR
Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Although God prevented David from building the great Temple in Jerusalem, this prayer of David was sung when the Temple was dedicated. The prayer's words echo the experience of someone who had survived God's anger and rejoiced in God's mercy. Even a moment of God's anger created a night of weeping for David. But the darkness and sorrow of the night were always followed by a joy-filled morning—a restoration of David's relationship with his Lord. David could praise God for his holy, just, and convicting anger because he knew God didn't get angry without reason. The appropriate response to God's anger was repentance.
The night of painful waiting—the dark night when we turn our sins and sorrows over to the Lord—will surely be followed by a morning of joy. At that time, every tear will be dried and every wound will be healed.
Dear Lord, I am so grateful that your loving anger lasts for a moment, but your favor lasts for a lifetime ...
CARRIED IN HIS ARMS
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death
What do you picture in your mind when you pray to God? Do you picture a loving father, listening to his child? Do you picture a mighty conqueror with the power of a vast army of angels at his disposal? Your answer likely depends on what you're praying for at the moment. David's prayer gives an intimate picture of God carrying his loved one in his arms.
Meditate on this picture for a moment. Imagine yourself in David's description. As you begin to speak with God about your needs and concerns, imagine his arms surrounding you in a protective embrace. How does that affect what you want to say to the Lord, your savior? Throughout the day, whenever you feel the need for "saving," draw this picture in your mind. And let his embrace comfort you.
Dear Lord, I long to be carried in your arms today as I tell you what concerns me right now ...
PRAISE FOR GOD'S LIGHT
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord's word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.
All of us have experienced times when our lives grew dark—when hope seemed futile, when confusion set in, when we felt alone. David knew how dark life could seem at times. When he wrote this prayer, the memories of fleeing in terror from King Saul's manhunt and hiding in dark, damp caves were fresh in his mind. Yet, he focused on God's light in his life—the light that dispelled the confusion of darkness. With this light, David saw clearly that God's way was perfect, even if it brought him through dark and dangerous valleys. God would always prove himself true to his promises. God would always be with him to protect him.
When you are traveling a dark road, remind yourself of David's experience with God—of how God led him through those dark places. Use David's prayer to remind yourself of God's light in your life.
Dear Lord, thank you for lighting up my darkness ...
Excerpted from Once-A-Day Devotional for Women Copyright © 2011 by The Livingstone Corporation. Excerpted by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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