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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. :-)

Why God Made Mothers

I woke up this morning with the following verses forming in my head, so in honor of Mother’s Day (and at the risk of stating the obvious) here’s why I think God gave us mothers:

Happy Mother's Day from www.flandersfamily.info

Why God Made Mothers

by Jennifer Flanders

For giving birth — as moms do best,
For nursing babies at her breast,
For singing lullabies at night
For soothing fears and hugging tight,
For wiping teardrops from my eye
And sympathizing when I cry
While kissing boo-boos on my knee,
For bringing out the best in me,
For teaching me to tie a lace,
For using spit to clean my face,
For rocking me upon her lap
Cajoling me to take my nap,
For baking cookies by the batch,
For making sure the doors are latched
At night before she goes to bed,
For placing cold rags on my head
Whenever I am feeling sick
And fetching throw-up buckets, quick!
For bringing me “just one more” drink,
For understanding how I think,
For daily lifting me in prayer,
For combing tangles from my hair,
For teaching me to blow my nose,
For scrubbing stains out of my clothes,
For reading stacks of picture books,
For complimenting my good looks
And calling me endearing names,
For driving me to football games,
For watching o’er me as I play,
For spanking when I disobey,
For letting me help wash the dishes
After dinner — so delicious,
Coaxing me to eat green beans,
For being patient in my teens,
For measuring how fast I grow,
For holding on, for letting go,
For all the many things you do,
I’m grateful, Mom, God gave me you.

It’s All About God’s Grace

In what is becoming an annual tradition, my family helped me create another Easter video over spring break this year. (You can watch last year’s video here.)

This new one is a cover of Meghan Trainor’s catchy song, “All About That Bass” — but with lyrics I don’t mind my little ones singing around the house.

Take a look, and let us know what you think. You’ll find the new words (along with Scriptural supports) printed below.

Best wishes for a blessed Holy Week. It really IS all about God’s grace… and we pray He will lavish that grace upon you!


It’s All About God’s Grace

You’ve got to know it’s all about God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — know your Bible.
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — it’s in the Bible.
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — read your Bible.
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace.

Yeah it’s pretty clear, this world is full of sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23)
But Jesus stands a knockin’ for you to let Him in. (Revelations 3:20)
Can’t get to Heaven any other way — (John 14:6; Acts 4:12)
It’s all by grace and all through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

My Jesus came to earth; Your ransom did He pay (Matthew 20:28; Galatians 1:4)
To call you out of darkness into the light of day. (John 3:19; 8:12; 12:46
Now God is working in you — and He won’t stop (Philippians 2:13; Philippians 1:6)
’Till every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top. (James 1:4; John 17:23)

Yeah, my Jesus He told me, Don’t worry about your life, (Matthew 6:25)
Just rejoice and be glad even when you encounter strife. (Matthew 5:12; James 1:2)
You know God dresses the lilies and feeds all the sparrows, too. (Luke 12:27-28; Matthew 6:26)
In the same way your Heavenly Father will care for you. (Philippians 4:19; 2 Corinthians 9:8)

Because you know it’s all about God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — know your Bible.
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — it’s in the Bible.
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — read your Bible.
It’s all ‘bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace.

But Christ will soon be back. (Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16)
Go ahead, He tells us, be expecting that — (1 Peter 1:13; Luke 12:35-36)
And keep on praying. Spread the welcome mat. (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Hebrews 10:25)
‘Cause I’m here to tell you, (Mark 16:15; Acts 5:32)
Everyone should trust in Jesus, ‘cause His love will never stop. (Romans 10:9; Romans 8:35, 38-39)

Yeah, my Jesus, He died on the cross ‘cause of all our sin, (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10)
But He didn’t stay dead — no, He came back to life again. (Matthew 28:6; Acts 2:32)
And NOW He’s in Heaven (Mark 16:18; Colossians 3:1)
Preparing a place for me (John 14:3; Psalm 23:5-6)
and building the mansion you’ll live in eternally. (John 14:2; 2 Corinthians 5:1)

Because you know it’s all about God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — know your Bible
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — it’s in the Bible.
It’s all ’bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace — read your Bible.
It’s all ‘bout God’s grace, ’bout God’s grace.

Never Enough Time?

"If you don't have the time to do the things that you ought to do, it means that you've tried to do something God hasn't called you to." - Jennifer Flanders

My husband and I are both list makers by nature, but we approach our lists differently.

I’m all about the details, which is why I’ve been known to start the New Year with as many as seven type-written pages of goals and resolutions.

My husband, on the other hand, tries to boil down his goals into as few words as possible. During his first year of residency, the goal was SURVIVE. Another year, his mantra was READ, WRITE, & RUN.

He informed me a few days ago that his goals for our family this year are going to be DISCIPLINE and JOY — as in, the more disciplined we are about doing what ought to be done, the more joy we’ll experience as a result.

I think he’s onto something.

Left to myself, I tend to set wildly unrealistic goals. I guess I’ve bought into the it’s-better-to-shoot-for-the-stars-and-get-off-the-ground-than-aim-for-a-lamppost-and-stay-where-you-are way of thinking.

The problem is, I sometimes let what should be secondary or tertiary goals take precedence over far more important priorities. Typically, the lesser goals are more easily quantifiable and don’t depend on anybody but myself, so I’m often tempted to work on those even when I know I should be working on something else.

This is especially true when my accomplishing something else depends on someone else who is being uncooperative or resistant or is in some other way thwarting my progress.

But that’s where the discipline and joy come in, which is why Scripture tells us:

  • “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” (Colossians 3:23)
  • “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

And that sums up my New Year’s resolution this year: I want to tend to the things that matter most, doing my work joyfully and whole-heartedly, and not growing weary, even if I don’t get the results I’m hoping for right away.

I still have a huge list of stuff I’d like to accomplish this year — certainly more than I could ever get done in my own strength. But God has promised to supply all my needs (Philippians 4:19), and that includes giving me the time I need to do the things that matter most to Him.

Of course, when I’m disciplined about doing the things I ought to do, I have less time for doing the things I’d like to do. That much should be obvious.

What isn’t so obvious is the fact that, when I’ve tended to first things first, I’m usually far more productive with the time that’s left over.

Like loaves and fishes, when I give each day to God, when I’m intentional about stewarding it wisely, when I faithfully do what He’s called me to do, there are enough fragments of time left over that I can make a serious dint in my dream-big list of goals, as well.

So that’s my plan for 2015. What’s yours?

25 Ways to Communicate Respect

Living with a Thankful Heart

"... never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - JFKWe need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Giving thanks is something that we are commanded repeatedly in Scripture to do. Obviously, it is important to God for His children to be grateful.

Space won’t permit me to list all the references here, but consider this small sampling of verses:

• “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)
• “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.”
(Colossians 3:17)
• “Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ …”
(Ephesians 5:20)
• “Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name….”
(1 Chronicles 16:8)
• “Enter His gates with thanksgiving…. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.”
(Psalm 100:4)

We owe a debt of gratitude to God, but this attitude should also spill over into our relationships with others, as well. Our lives and our conversations should be marked by expressions of thankfulness toward our fellow man.

And that goes double for the members of our own household.

Don’t take your husband for granted. Express genuine appreciation for everything he does for you, whether great or small.

Always say thank you. But don’t stop there. Real gratitude runs much deeper than words. It extends far beyond anything we can verbalize.

Our thankfulness should affect not only how we think, but also how we live and how we treat the people around us.


This post is excerpted from my book, 25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband, winner of the CSPA 2014 “Book of the Year” Award. (affiliate link)

Check Out My Book

Life with You is Awesome

The children and I have been working on this little surprise for Father’s Day, based on the theme song from The Lego Movie. Of course, it’s almost impossible to keep a secret in a household our size. Since Daddy already found out about it, I decided to publish a week early.

You’ll have to excuse the audio. Rap music is clearly not the forte of this classically trained soprano, but we had a great time putting it together, anyway… because “everything is awesome when you’re part of a team.”

And for those who are inclined to sing along, here are the lyrics for our version:

Life with You Is Awesome!

Life with you is awesome.
Life with you is cool — I’m so glad we’re a team!
Life with you is awesome, ‘cause we’re living our dream.

Married life is better when we work together.
Side by side, you and I gonna stick together, in all kinds of weather.
Man and wife, I love you, you love me, we’re both working in harmony.

Life with you is awesome.
Life with you is cool — I’m so glad we’re a team!
Life with you is awesome, ‘cause we’re living our dream.

(Woooo!) 3, 2, 1. Go!

Have you heard the news? Everyone’s talking.
Life is good and people are gawking.
Baby’s due, our family is growing.*
We’ve got love and joy overflowing.

Life with you is full of adventures
I’ll love you even when you have dentures.
Food in my teeth? Oh, that’s just awesome.
Next time, tell me when I need to floss ‘em.**
Love is blind — now I know that’s true.
It’s so awesome to be loved by you (be loved by you).

Married life is better when we work together.
Side by side, you and I gonna stick together, both now and forever.
Man and wife, I love you, you love me, we’re both working in harmony.

Life with you is awesome.
Life with you is cool — I’m so glad we’re a team!
Life with you is awesome, ‘cause we’re living our dream.

Marriage vows, wedding rings,
I just named two awesome things.
Pledged my love, said, “I do.”
You know what’s awesome? Life with you!

Clean, fresh sheets upon our bed, a feather pillow for my head.
Let’s go soak in a hot jacuzzi.
Not too long, or we’ll get woozy.

Pools, tools, jewels.
They’re awesome.
Girls with curls and pearls.
They’re awesome.
Boys enjoy their toys.
That’s awesome!
Every day of life as man and wife
Is awesome!

Life with you is awesome.
Life with you is cool — I’m so glad we’re a team!
Life with you is awesome, ‘cause we’re living our dream.


* As far as we know, there are no babies currently on the way, although it is probably just a matter of time, at least as far as grandchildren are concerned!
** This really did happen, although (thankfully) not at the wedding. It was actually on one of our first dates, when I got a whole black peppercorn lodged between my top central and lateral incisors and didn’t realize it was there until the date was over. Doug still claims he never noticed.

Let Them Know

This month, we’ll be celebrating the greatest love story ever told. I know Good Friday is still a week away, but I finished the following video a little early and couldn’t wait to share it with you.

For almost eighty years, Disney has been captivating our imaginations with beautifully rendered fairy stories. But as J.R.R. Tolkien explained to C.S. Lewis, the Gospel provides us with an authentic, eye-witness account of a fairy tale that’s true.

The world may not need yet another cover of Frozen’s award-winning “Let it Go,” but it desperately needs the message embedded in this version. Let it’s truth sink into the depths of your heart and resonate within: Christ Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed!

Let Them Know

I was lost and alone in the darkness of night, (Luke 19:10)
I was blind, but now I see, (John 9:25)
Imprisoned in isolation (Galatians 3:23)
Till my Savior set me free. (Luke 4:18)

Now His love fills me like a swirling sea inside, (John 7:38)
Couldn’t keep it in, even if I tried. (Acts 4:20)

I’ve been forgiven, been set free — (Acts 13:38-39)
I’m not the same girl that I used to be. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
It’s real, I feel His blessings flow (Psalm 21:6)
And my faith grow. (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

Let them know, let them know — (Psalm 109:27)
Can’t hide the fact anymore. (Luke 11:33)
Let them know, let them know (Mark 16:15)
Jesus’ love has opened the door. (Luke 11:9)

His command (Mark 4:39)
Wind and waves obey. (Luke 8:25)
Let the storm rage on — (Psalm 50:3)
It won’t stop His love for me anyway. (Romans 8:38-39)

It’s funny how God’s greatness (Psalm 145:3)
Makes everything seem small, (Psalm 8:3-4)
And the fears that once controlled me (2 Timothy 1:7)
Can’t get to me at all. (Luke 1:74)

It’s time to see what God can do, (1 Samuel 12:16)
In every test He’ll see me through. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
My debt’s been paid, no guilt for me — (Romans 8:1)
I’m free! (Romans 8:2)

Let them know, let them know (Psalm 83:18)
Christ alone has the power to save. (Acts 4:12)
Let them know, Let them know (1 John 4:14)
He has triumphed over the grave. (1 Corinthians 15:55)

Here I stand (Ephesians 6:13)
In Christ I’ll stay. (John 15:4)
Let the storm rage on. (Matthew 7:25)

The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
Left Heaven’s throne room up on high, (2 Corinthians 8:9)
He took on flesh (John 1:14, Philippians 2:6-8)
And came to earth poor sinners for to die. (Mark 10:45)
Though in a tomb they laid Him (Acts 13:29)
Once He’d breathed his last, (Mark 15:37)
By God’s amazing grace, (1 Timothy 1:14-15)
It couldn’t hold Him fast! (Acts 2:24)
Let them know, let them know (Acts 2:32)
Christ arose like the break of dawn. (Luke 24:6)
Let them know, let them know (Romans 10:14)
Satan’s claim on me is gone. (Romans 6:14)

Redeemed I’ll stand (Psalm 107:2)
On the Judgement Day. (Hebrews 9:27, 1 John 4:17)
Let the storm rage on — (Proverbs 10:25)
It won’t stop His love for me anyway. (Jeremiah 31:3)