Does Prayer Make a Difference?

God had a plan and that plan was set in motion by Hannah’s impassioned prayer for a son. Hannah didn’t submissively pray, “Help me be content with my barrenness.” She didn’t simply ask for a child, whether boy or girl. She specifically asked God to give her a baby boy.

When Eli sobered up to what was happening, he encouraged Hannah with these words (1:17):

“Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant the request [i.e. “the thing asked for”] that you have asked of him” (NET, emphasis and explanation mine).

Eli didn’t chide her for making an unreasonable request. He didn’t say, “If it is God’s will…” He confirmed Hannah’s brokenhearted prayer by saying, “May God say ‘Yes!’ to your request for a son.”

When Hannah conceived and gave birth to a baby boy, she confirmed the reason for her newfound fertility with these words (1:20):

“Because I have asked him of the LORD” (NASB, emphasis mine).

When Hannah weaned Samuel and gave him to Eli, she reminded the priest of her vow (1:27):

“I prayed for this boy, and the LORD has given me the request [i.e. “the thing asked for”] that I asked of him” (NET, emphasis and explanation mine).

In typical Hebrew fashion, the storyteller repeats specific words to make his point clear. And what was his point in this story? Samuel was given to Hannah, who then gave him to Eli, because Hannah had asked God for a son.

What Difference?
prayer made all the difference in the world to Hannah, and it made all the difference in her world. Even more significantly, her prayer made all the difference in Israel’s national history.

As heretical as it may sound, I believe that if Hannah had not prayed, Samuel would not have been born.

Now, I do believe that God is sovereign and that he has a specific purpose for giving us life. Of course I agree with Jeremiah that God’s plan for us is formed before we are even conceived. But I also believe that God responds to prayer and that certain things do happen because we pray and that certain things do not happen because we do not pray.

This position makes us uncomfortable because we assume—in the Western world—that two conflicting beliefs cannot both be true at the same time. It must be either one or the other. As a former anal retentive accountant I prefer everything to be neatly lined up as either a debit or a credit. However, if we are honest with the scriptural evidence we must leave this unreconciled. God is sovereign and yet prayer impacts history. It is a mystery.

This position also causes us discomfort because of the significant responsibility it places squarely on our shoulders. If prayer really plays a part in bringing God’s plan to fruition, then perhaps we ought to pray more passionately for his kingdom to come and his will to be done in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

What a Difference!
Likewise, I believe that prayer absolutely made a difference in our Hannah’s life. If Ann had not prayed from her desperate, broken heart, then we would not have a girl named Hannah (and a boy named Matt).

Sometime after God said, “Yes!” to Ann’s asking, she framed one of Hannah’s baby pictures with these words written underneath:

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


All the Difference in the World

Where did Hannah’s heart-cry come from? On the surface it was her circumstances that spurred the passionate prayer. Peninnah purposely provoked Hannah in order to irritate her (1:6). She relentlessly taunted Hannah until she was so broken that she wouldn’t eat and could only weep (1:7). Why would the Lord allow Hannah to suffer such harassment? Wasn’t it enough to be childless, especially in ancient Israel?

Listen to Hannah’s silent prayer and hear her motivation:

“O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me… (1:11a)”

Hannah is miserable and she wants God to deliver her from the mis¬ery. In fact Hannah is so miserable that she would do anything for a son. Eavesdrop as she continues to pray:

“…and not forget your servant, but will 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” (1:11b).

In desperation Hannah bartered with God for a son.

Selfish and Unspiritual
Was it selfish for Hannah to ache to be a mom? Shouldn’t she just accept God’s will?

Was it unspiritual for Hannah to barter for deliverance from her misery? Shouldn’t she just rejoice in her trials?

Hannah is not at all unspiritual, nor is she selfish. In fact, if we analyze the characters in this narrative, we find that Hannah is a literary “type,” and as such she is an example for us to emulate. She
is broken-hearted and she honestly prays from that brokenness.

Why then, does God allow these heart-breaking circumstances to invade Hannah’s life? Is it because he doesn’t care? Or because he’s una¬ble to change the situation? Or because he doesn’t see them coming? If God really does have a plan, how could this be part of it?

If we take a close look at Hannah’s vow, we discover that it is distinctive. Most vows promise something like this,

“If you do so-and-so, then I will do such-and-such.”

But Hannah promises,

“If you give me such-and-such, then I will give you back such-and-such.”

Hannah was so desperate for a son that she solemnly promised to give her yet-to-be-given son back to God, so that he could serve God all his life in a special capacity as a Nazirite. The overpowering implication of this vow is that Hannah would not keep her longed-for son. She would send him to live with Eli the priest after she stopped nursing him as a toddler (1:24).

God’s Plan
Why then, did God permit Hannah to be childless (1:5-6) and allow Peninnah to harass her? Because he wanted Samuel to be born. And because he wanted Samuel to be set apart for a special mission—-to be the next judge/deliverer of Israel. God had a plan, not only for Hannah, but also for her yet-to-be-given son, Samuel.

God allowed circumstances to break Hannah’s heart:

  • so that Hannah would fervently pray for a son,
  • so that he could give Samuel to Hannah,
  • so that Hannah would give Samuel back to God
  • so that Samuel could accomplish a special purpose for God.

We might never be able to make sense of our suffering. I know that I don’t ever expect to understand the purpose of Ann’s death. In fact there is nothing in this life that can justify it or compensate for it. But I can endure suffering because I know there is some sense in it all, even if I never learn in this life what that sense is.

God does have a plan. And that fact makes all the difference in the world.


Why Do We Pray?

The narrator continues Hannah’s story by describing a specific pilgrimage to Shiloh one year. Hannah, shattered by the pain and sick of the taunting, poured out her broken heart before the Lord. In typical Hebrew fashion the storyteller paints a vivid picture with this simple sentence (1:10):

“In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD.”
Let’s chew on those words a bit:

  • Bitterness of soul. Not a mild desire, but a gut-wrenching, throbbing pain in the depths of her soul.
  • Wept much. Not an occasional tear, but a sobbing, wailing flood.
  • Prayed to the LORD. Not passive resignation, but urgent pleading and begging.

The narrator continues his portrait (1:12-13):

“As she kept on praying to the LORD…
Hannah was praying in her heart,
and her lips were moving
but her voice was not heard.”

It wasn’t a quick, half-hearted prayer. She didn’t worry about finding the proper words. She didn’t seek a formula to guarantee her answer. She didn’t lazily parrot a memorized prayer.

She prayed from her heart and in her heart. She simply and honestly bared her soul to the Lord.

Where’d It Come From?
Where did this type of heart-felt prayer come from?

Eli, the priest at Shiloh, studied Hannah from his rocking chair on the porch of the Lord’s house. As a pastor with great sensitivity, he was keenly aware of the Spirit’s stirrings and was deeply empathetic for those in his flock. So, he compassionately encouraged Hannah with these words (1:14):

“How long will you keep on getting drunk?
Get rid of your wine!”

Can you feel what those words did to Hannah’s broken heart?

Imagine that you are so broken by your circumstances that you’re incapable of even verbalizing your prayer. Perhaps there’s been an accident and your child is in the ICU. You’re out of options and without any hope, so you decide to go downstairs to the chapel to beg for God’s intervention. After a bit the hospital’s chaplain comes in. He quickly sizes up the situation and blurts, “Get out of my chapel, you drunken slut!”

The irony of Eli’s insensitive accusation is that Hannah had just vowed that, if God would give her a son, she would give him back to the Lord as a Nazirite. In ancient Israel a Nazirite was a person who made a voluntary vow to abstain from these three things for a specified period of time:

  • No haircuts.
  • No contact with a dead body. Not even if your father or mother dies.
  • No wine or strong drink. Nothing from the grape vine, including grapes, raisins, skin or seeds. Not even grape juice.

Hannah had just vowed in prayer—on behalf of her yet-to-be-given son—that he would never even take a sip of Welch’s grape juice, let alone enjoy a glass of wine or a cold beer. Not just for a specified period of time, but for his entire life. And Eli accused her of being drunk.

Where It Came From
Where did Hannah’s heart-felt prayer come from?
She shouldn’t have had to, but Hannah graciously explained her behavior to that priest. She replied to his taunt with this further description of her pain (1:15-16):

“Not so, my lord…I am a woman who is deeply troubled.
I have not been drinking wine or beer;
I was pouring out my soul to the LORD.
Do not take your servant for a wicked woman;
I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”

Unlike Eli, Ann understood Hannah’s pain and found validation and comfort in her story.

Joann also would understand Hannah’s pain. Her husband, Kyle, and I graduated from seminary together, after which they returned to Indiana to help pastor a church. They had been trying to have children for a number of years but couldn’t get pregnant. They then chose to adopt a baby from inner city Chicago. We met them at Cheddar’s about a year after graduation when they returned to Dallas for a visit. I still can see Joann’s tears as she recounted how they lost their baby after the birth-mother opted out of the agreement. Unable to have children and now unsuccessful at adopting. Through her tears she lamented, “I just want to be a mom.”

Any woman who has ached for a child would understand Hannah. Like Marilyn, who miscarried her first baby when Ann was pregnant with Paul, our first baby. Like my friend and co-worker Diane who miscar¬ried more than a dozen babies and is still childless. Or Mary Sue, whose son was killed by cancer, leav¬ing his young wife a widow and his young children fatherless. Or Frank and Jeannine, whose son was killed in Iraq the day before he was scheduled to come home.

Why did Hannah, Ann, Joann and these other women passionately pray? Because they wanted to become a mom to a new baby or because they wanted to continue being a mom to the child they already had.

Our Heart’s Cry
Why did they pray? Because each woman listened to the cry of her heart and then cried out to her Father.
Ignatius, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1540, wrote various guidelines to teach the Jesuit missionaries how to pray. One remarkable guideline was, “Ask God our Lord for what [you] want and desire.”

Jesus confirms the guideline with these words,

“If you remain in me
And my words remain in you,
Ask whatever you wish,
And it will be given to you” (John 15:7, emphasis mine).

If you read the rest of my story, you’ll know that I am not saying—and cannot say—that God answers all legitimate prayers.

But what I am saying is this: don’t ever discount the cry of your heart. God may be working in your heart, through your circumstances, to bring about his sovereign plan.


Prayer for Hannah

Ann’s last entry in this journal was written about thirteen months after her first one. She surrendered her will to her Father’s, but she never quit pray¬ing for another baby. Honestly, passionately and persistently she prayed.

May 19, 1993
I may be pregnant and I’m scared to death.
I’m angry because I had decided to go to another doctor and now I’m not sure what to do.

My feelings are so overwhelming.
I know God is bigger than this.
I know he’s in control.
But I don’t want any more pain and hurt.

The odds are against me.
It is so overwhelming.
Why should this time be any different?
My heart is so heavy.

I guess, Lord, I wanted to be able to go to a doctor and find some answers.
Am I getting mad with myself for not moving faster?

Lord, I trust you.
I know you can do the impossible, but why should you?
The fear is overwhelming me. I’m taking it out on everyone.
With the boys.
With Howard.
Lord, I need your strength. I need your help.

If I’m pregnant, I pray the doctor would be concerned and he would take action and do something.

This time there was no miscarriage. A healthy Hannah was born eight months later on a cold January day in Des Moines, with temperatures that had plummeted to 17 degrees below zero.
God answered Ann’s broken-hearted prayer.


A Third Miscarriage

Ann finally became pregnant again after the two miscarriages. She continued to wrestle with the painful tensions in life—surrendering versus quitting, suffering versus God’s goodness, prayer versus God’s sover¬eignty. Ann’s pain brought her deepest desires into clear focus.

November 10, 1992
Oh Lord, you are good.
I’m pregnant but I am so full of fear and worry.
Let me find peace in my heart to trust you and your faithfulness.

“This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:21-22, NASB).

Father I want to trust you.
To rest in the assurance that you are in control of all things.

November 11, 1992
You gave me the grace to accept it.
You are still good.
You are still faithful.

December 14, 1992
[It’s been] a long time since writing my thoughts down.
I’ve had many questions the last few months.

My thoughts on 2 Timothy, chapter 2:
Paul did not just teach about evangelism and discipleship.
He taught about God making a difference in the everyday life of the believer.
About standing strong in a culture that had gone to the dogs.

My greatest desire is that my boys would be men of God,
who love the Word,
who walk with Him,
whose lives reflect him in their hearts.
And that they would make an impact on the world for Him.

If prayer is what is going to make a difference then I want to pray over them each night. My questions:

  • Why pray?
  • How does God’s character fit into things that seem totally against his character?

In my head I know some truths, but my heart cries out differently.

December 18, 1992
I’m tired, Lord.
Tired of being emotionally strung out.
I’m tired of the growing pains.
Help me, Lord, to understand.
To know you better.

February 1, 1993
[It’s been] a long time since I’ve written my thoughts.
My emotions are stable today.

“Consider it all joy… when I encounter various trials” (James 1:2, NASB).

  • An attitude, an acceptance that God can use trials for our good.
  • To accomplish something good in my life.

“Knowing that the testing of my faith produces endurance” (1:3).

  • Have I persevered?
  • Have I kept on walking, striving? Yes.

“So that I may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (1:4).

  • This is the result of my endurance.

You didn’t cause my miscarriages.
But you are committed to transforming me to be like you
in heart and attitude, in values and behavior.
You are changing me from the inside out.
I understand more of who you are today than I did a year ago.
I’m more assured of your love and commitment to me.

Lord, I believe you will give us another baby.
Thank you for the progress I’ve made in the process
of becoming more like you.
I love you, Lord.


Surrendering but Not Giving Up

Ann honestly wrestled the tension between her intense desire to have another baby and her unwavering commitment to accept God’s plan and sovereignty. Knowing and trusting in God’s character allowed Ann to yield her life into his hands.

July 1, 1992
The other day I prayed and acknowledged that I could accept not having another baby.
My heart truly meant that.
At that point my emotions followed.

Yesterday and today my emotions don’t follow.
My heart still says that it’s ok.
My emotions cry out and say I want another baby.

Thank you, Father, that you understand.
Today you gave me the grace to live and accept what you are doing in my life.
You are near to the broken-hearted.

September 16, 1992
Thank you, God, for your goodness.
For all you have done. For who you are.
You are loving, forgiving, kind, merciful, wise, giving.
You did not spare your own son.

I want another baby.
Then I have these thoughts:
that I’m not a good enough mother…
that I yell at the boys too much…
So I won’t get another one.

That is wrong thinking about you.

Give me strength in my emotions.
Thank you for who you are.


A Walk of Faith

Ann continued to honestly share her feelings with her Father as the months rolled on. She surrendered and trusted as she wept and ached. She tenaciously clung to what the scriptures affirmed about God’s character, even though her circumstances screamed that God was none of those things.

May 29, 1992
A walk of faith.
That is what God has called me to.
To focus on Him, to see who He is.

He knows my hurts.
He knows my pain.
He knows my fears of the future, of not having another baby.

I can pour out those fears. I can cry my tears.
He understands. He is a God of compassion and mercy.
If we know God, we do not need to know why He allows us to experience what we do.

Thank you Lord that I know you.
That for today I can trust you and believe you.
That the future is in your hands.

June 8, 1992
God is good.

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17, NASB).

The good things God has bestowed on me:

  • His Son
  • Eternal life
  • Howard
  • Paul, Drew
  • Mom, Dad and family
  • My home and the things I enjoy in my home

June 18, 1992
It’s been awhile since I’ve written.
What a refreshing, encouraging time I had away
with Marilyn
and with you, Lord.

Once again I’m reminded of your great love for me.
Of my importance to you as an individual.

“The LORD your God is with you.
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you.
He will quiet you with his love.
He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

My self-esteem or identity doesn’t come from being a good wife or mother.
But it comes from being a child of God.
He takes great delight in me.
He rejoices over me.
What a concept!

Father, I pray that you will give me one woman I can pour my life into.
And that you would provide for me one woman to pour her life into me.

Thank you for who you are—that you bind up the broken-hearted.
You are my refuge and strength.
You have carried me through my pain and hurting.
Thank you.


A Heart of Thanks (2012), part 2

I posted the first part of this list back on December 1st. Here’s the second half of this year’s list about two months later.

  • A New Heart. When you are robbed of something of great value, but someone graciously gives you a second chance, you prize what you’ve been given because you understand its true value. Fran and I celebrated our second anniversary this last week (11/27) with a getaway to San Antonio. We somehow we managed to get mired in a conflict so intense that we left San Antonio a day early (wasting cost of the Bed & Breakfast) and spent three hours with a counselor (probably more than $500) on our anniversary. After two more hours of crying at Cheddar’s we finally understood what the other was saying, as well as the underlying pain that energized the conflict. I long for That Day when He gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), so that I no longer do the things that I hate (Romans 7:15).
  • A Forgiving Heart. Fran asked me if I was nervous, before I left to see my lost-but-found friend. I replied that l was looking forward to it, just like I would if I was seeing Gary from back home. I reflected on that response as I drove to see him and on the return trip four and a half hours later. My friend was broken, admitted his wrong and he needed forgiveness. What surprised me was that it wasn’t difficult and I didn’t even have a twinge of anger, even though I was incredibly angry five years ago. A few days earlier the counselor, after listening to my story, asked if I had forgiven my dad. I replied, “Yes, I had forgiven him, even though there is still deep hurt.” I chose to forgive Dad completely, because it was the right thing to do. The counselor then asked if it was hard to forgive myself. I paused and then smirked. He had me trapped. I could forgive my dad though he inflicted great pain, but I couldn’t forgive myself whenever I failed. As I reflected on that irony this week, I realized that I struggle because I don’t feel like I deserve to be forgiven. And that realization indicates that I know nothing of God’s grace and the gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:6,8).
  • A Painless Heart. I cried a lot the last couple of weeks (over Thanksgiving). I wept for a friend who is walking away from his wife, kids and faith. I wept for a friend that is returning to the Lord and taking responsibility for his sin. I wept for Ann’s matron of honor as we traded Facebook messages this week, because she was in Thailand during Ann’s cancer and death. I wept for my ex-sister-in-law as we corresponded this last week, becuase she suffered great pain by my brother’s deception. I wept for my brother, whom I haven’t seen in more than twenty years, because he has followed in my dad’s footsteps. I look forward to That Day when God himself will wipe away our tears (Isaiah 25:8, Revelation 21:4).
  • A Permissive Heart. Ann and I seldom talked about her possible death. It was just too painful. But on a couple of occassions when we did, Ann told me that she would want me to remarry, if God didn’t answer our prayer. I quickly responded that I wouldn’t, that I didn’t want another wife and it would be “No one but Ann.”  I told my kids, our friends and even our church that I would never remarry. Yet, I had no idea the depths of grief that I would go through. I was in a very dark and despondent place by the end of the third summer. So, when God surprised me with the opportunity to have a best friend, complement and confidant again, I wholeheartedly accepted his priceless gift of Fran. Yet, calling, dating and falling in love with a woman after nearly twenty-three years of marriage is both an exhilarating and incredibly painful process. Every step I took closer to Fran was a heartrending reminder of the finality of Ann’s death. Each step closer brough a sense of guilt and at times a sense of betrayal.  I don’t know if I could have navigated those murky waters without her gift of permission. I encourage you to give your spouse the same gift.
  • A Reunited Heart. There is one hope, more than any other, that enabled me to endure the devastation, robbery, amputation and finality of Ann’s death. It is the hope that my relationship with Ann is not severed, but only interrupted. After studying about the Resurrection and the New Earth intensely after Ann’s death, I am confident that I will see Ann again in That Day and we will know and remember and love one another. I’ll introduce her to Fran and she’ll introduce me to Brian. Ann will finally get to hold and love and know her grandchildren, for which she so deeply longed. And she’ll introduce us two the three babies who were miscarried back in the 1990’s. We will have unending time to uncover all the beauty that God wrought from the ashes of her death. And as a perfectly blended family we Joslins and Geigers will enjoy new adventures together on the New Earth.
  • An Undying Heart.  I was discouraged this summer out in Colorado, because I was in such bad shape. I’d gained more weight and had been exercising less, which is not exactly the smartest formula for a guy who had a heart attack nearly seven years ago. Since Fran and I are praying for forty years together, I really need to get my act together. I have a lot of life that I still want to live. Nevertheless, one way or the other, my heart will eventually stop for good. I am grateful that Christ’s death on the cross paid the entire price that God’s justice demanded for the depravity in the depths of my heart. And I am grateful beyond words that when The Trumpet blows, I will rise from my grave near Minburn and be given a heart so filled with His Spirit that it will be unable to die.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”


Two Miscarriages

The biggest test of my faith came in the sphere of my job and seminary studies, while Ann’s biggest test occurred in the realm of our children. I’ve often heard that God usually tests us in what is most important in our lives. I wonder what that indicates about my priorities.

Ann had no trouble getting pregnant with Paul and Drew. Both boys were carried to full term and were actually born a couple of weeks past their due dates. Both boys were very healthy babies and very energetic little boys.

Sometime after Drew was born, Ann discovered that she was preg¬nant again. Things were progressing fine for ten weeks or so, but then one day Ann started spotting. The baby had died so Ann miscarried. The doctor wasn’t too concerned because miscarriages happen. There was no reason that we shouldn’t try again.

Sometime later Ann again became pregnant. And again things were going well for a number of weeks. But then another miscarriage.

Ann was absolutely broken and mourned for more than a year. Her journal entries from this period, logged about five years before we migrated to Texas, are reproduced in the following vignettes and can paint a better picture than my fuzzy memory.

April 9, 1992
Finally, I found this [journal]. I’ve written to you, Lord, on many differ¬ent scraps of paper these last few months. The need to pour my heart out has been overwhelming. You have been there. You have lifted me up. You’ve contin¬ued to weave the tapes¬try of my life, making me the woman you wanted me to be. Thank you for being there, for carrying me through, for loving and protecting me.
It’s been hard times—two miscarriages in four months. How my heart has ached. How empty I have felt. How I’ve ached to hold my two babies. Thank you for the comfort and encouragement that it is to know they are in heaven with you. That someday I will hold them. My prayer, Father, is that I will continue to seek you, to see your face, to see your love, to see you in control of these days in my life.
We never saw those babies, held those babies, or even knew if they were boys or girls. But they were our babies and we grieve for them. I pray I will continue to let myself go through this process.
My great desire and prayer is that we will be able to have more children. It doesn’t seem fair to me that people are aborting babies and getting rid of them every day. Yet we and others (Tom and Diane) so greatly desire to have a baby. But that is not your fault. Mankind makes poor decisions.
Sometimes, I wonder… I’ve so wanted a Chinese baby. Is that a route we should be considering? I don’t know how we could ever afford that. Give us direction in our lives.

May 20, 1992
My heart is so heavy this morning.
It has been the last few weeks.
My heart is still aching.
I have fear of the unknown.
Will we ever be able to have another baby?

Cathy’s pregnant. That makes me so envious. That hurts.
How do I deal with this? What do I do with all these feelings I have?
I want to run away.

“Blessed be the LORD, who daily bears our burden” (Psalm 68:19a, NASB).

Thank you, Lord, that you know my hurt, my pain.
You understand and you are there.
There is no guarantee I will ever have another baby.
But Lord you are still here for me.
You are my Father.

May 21, 1992
All these emotions and fears bottled up inside me.
Not sure how I should deal with them.

Know in my head and in my heart what is true.
Know that the straight as well as the crooked is from God.
Know that he loves me.
Know that he is good.

But the pain, the fear, the hurt is still there.
I feel like I should read verses and be comforted.
But it doesn’t happen.

May 27, 1992
“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will
should commit themselves to their faithful Creator
and continue to do good” (1 Peter 4:19).

To you, Creator God, I entrust my hurting heart and soul.
Today, I choose to put my trust in you for the future.
Bear my burden today.
Be my strength.