Seek the Welfare of the City

American politics disgust me.

I’m sorry if that offends anyone for I really don’t mean to be rude.  I know many people take great pride in the democratic functions of our government and love to take part in serving their community, state, or country in the political realm.  I guess I just have a jaded view of politics born out of the corruption we hear about literally every day in the news.  It’s just created a sense of distrust that those in political power commonly look out for themselves and rarely for the people they are serving.

But all of that aside, I still love my country.  I’m not into the popular idea of “worshipping” my country or our freedoms or some famous document like the Constitution because that would be worshipping an idol, but I do love my country and the people who live in it because it’s what God asks me to do.  Don’t believe me?  Read the following passage of Scripture and see if it changes your mind…

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”

(Jeremiah 29:4-7)

Here, we read of God’s people who are exiled in Babylon and forced to live in a pagan culture which is a drastically different environment from how they were called to live.  What’s interesting are God’s instructions for how his people should conduct themselves while there.  They are to pray and seek the welfare of the country in which they reside.  They are told that their blessings will come through the blessings of the Babylonian empire.  God did not call his people to criticize or complain about their situation.  He didn’t ask that his people rise up in rebellion and show the Babylonians the power of the true and living God.  He called them to be light to the nation of Babylon.

Now contrary to popular opinion, God is not sitting up in Heaven right now only looking out for the welfare of the United States of America.  “We’re a Christian nation!,” is a common refrain heard from pulpits around the country, but the truth is, God is concerned about all of his children.  He wants all of humanity to come into a knowledge of who he is and how much he loves us.  Christ’s church is not limited to the man-made boundaries found on a map.  That’s why God would ask of us today the same thing he asked of his people during Jeremiah’s time.  We should still actively seek the welfare of the city, of the country, and of the world in which we live, even if it is a sinful one!

26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,” (Acts 17:26-27)

 

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

As Christians, we should stop complaining about the condition of our nation and be active in promoting its welfare for the glory of God.  Is there evidence of sin around us today?  Sure.  Was there rampant sin in Babylon during the time of the exile?  Again, the answer is yes, but the people of that age were still commanded to honor God even in the midst of their enemies, and we should do the same.  Let us follow the advice of Jesus when trying to live in this world and not of this world…

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

(Matthew 5:43-48)

Let us always seek the welfare of the city.

-Joe Butler

Prayers For My Daughter (Part 4)

Today is my last post in this 4 part series about the prayers we should pray for our children.  Be sure to go back and read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 if you haven’t already done so.

  • RESPONSIBILITY (Galatians 6:4-5)- In light of the most recent school shooting and all of the irresponsibility we have from people from all walks of life, it feels appropriate to talk about responsibility, or maybe the lack thereof.  Our society, for some reason, has grown into a group of people who want to take less and less responsibility for their actions.  That’s why we must pray for our children to learn to be responsible and test their own actions.  Our kids must learn that it’s not only about the rights afforded to them, but also the responsibilities they must shoulder as well.  They must learn this trait, because in the end, they will have to answer to the Almighty God for their actions.
  • MERCY (Luke 6:36)- I firmly believe there’s no better way for our children to learn the true mercy and forgiveness that our heavenly Father offers them than to pray for and exemplify that mercy ourselves.  The Bible specifically commands us to be merciful if we expect to receive mercy from God.  Fervently pray that your children show a merciful heart towards others when they are wronged.  It’s not always easy, but that way they may truly understand what God has done for them.
  • THE HEART OF A SERVANT (Ephesians 6:7)- This statement may be too much of a generality, but I believe the most detrimental thing affecting the growth of the church today is the fact that many Christians haven’t yet developed the heart of a servant after giving their lives to God.  More and more we are hearing Christians complain about the church not doing this or that, and instead we should be looking for ways that we can serve and be a blessing to the bride of Christ.  I have prayed for my daughter to have the heart of servant and I’ve seen the fruit of those prayers as she has taken up a leadership role in our church’s early childhood education program.  Just one more example of how God answers our prayers for our children.
  • HUMILITY (Titus 3:1-2)- In a world filled with a multitude of social media opportunities, it’s easy for our children to grow an unhealthy sense of vanity, as if the entire world centers around them.  In fact, this seems to be a problem across all age groups of people.  There’s never been a more important time to pray for the humility of our children so they can help contribute to showing the world how little we truly are.  When Christians and their children start living an example of godly humility, the world will definitely take notice.
  • HOPE (Romans 15:13)- This virtue seems an appropriate way to end this list of things we should pray for our children.  A Christian should have hope, and children seem to have a propensity for this, but we must pray for it anyway.  It’s hope that keeps us focused on God when trials or temptations come our way.  It’s hope that brings us joy at the end of our lives, knowing what awaits us in Heaven.  Pray that your children may receive this blessing from God and have the kind of hope that can only come from his Spirit.

I hope this series of posts has been as much a blessing to you as it was for me to write.  As you can see, we parents have a tremendous responsibility to raise our kids in a godly manner, and the truth is, we can’t do it alone.  We’ve got to pray wholeheartedly for the spiritual welfare of our children.  Let’s pray for their…

  1. salvation
  2. love
  3. honesty and integrity
  4. courage
  5. contentment
  6. perseverance
  7. compassion
  8. self-control
  9. love for God’s word
  10. faithfulness
  11. passion for God
  12. purity
  13. generosity
  14. self-esteem
  15. gratitude
  16. responsibility
  17. mercy
  18. the heart of a servant
  19. humility
  20. hope

This list was not meant to be exhaustive as I’m sure many of you can think of other ideas to pray for.  The important thing is that we pray, because these are prayers that I’m confident God will answer, for he wants us to be successful in this act of stewardship.

-Joe Butler

Prayers For My Daughter (Part 3)

It’s time again to continue my mini-series of posts discussing the prayers we should offer for our children.  Be sure and take time to go back and read Part 1 and Part 2.

  • PASSION FOR GOD (Psalm 63:1-8)- I was recently having a talk with my daughter about going to middle school next year and all the new challenges she will undoubtedly face.  Not one to pass up a teachable moment, we ended the conversation by discussing how she needs to maintain her focus on God regardless of the environment around her.  Like the 63rd Psalm, we should long for the company of our God who provides a safe haven for us during any time of need.  Pray that your children find this kind of intimacy and develop a genuine passion for God.
  • PURITY (Psalm 51:10)- When King David wrote this psalm following his sin of adultery and murder, he pleaded with God to cleanse his heart and spirit.  It’s no surprise to say that godly morals are on the decline in our society today, so we must pray for our children’s purity while they are growing up in a world that tries to defile them.  And when they make mistakes and sin, we must pray, like David, that God create in them a clean heart that desires to serve him.
  • GENEROSITY (1 Timothy 6:18-19)- To say that my family and I are blessed would be a gross understatement.  In fact, if you’re reading this, it means you probably have a nice expensive phone or computer with internet access, so suffice it to say that you’re blessed too.  But not everybody in this world has it as good as the majority of us.  That’s why we must pray for and teach our children the concept of generosity.  The verse referenced above tells us to be rich in good works, to be generous, thus storing up treasure in what really matters.  Help your kids to know that all that we have and all that we are belongs to God.  It’s our job to use our blessings to generously show God’s love to others.
  • SELF-ESTEEM (Ephesians 2:10)- Kids can sure be mean sometimes.  Trust me, I know.  I’m around third graders all day long.  In their haste to fit in with the crowd, our children can have all kinds of ugly things happen or said to them.  This is why we should pray for our children to have a healthy view of themselves.  This isn’t some kind of pretentious outlook either where they believe the entire world revolves around them.  This is a godly self-esteem that believes they are truly precious in the eyes of God.  Pray that your children know that they are the very workmanship of God.
  • GRATITUDE (Ephesians 5:20)- Have you ever given your child something and been offered a look of, “Is that all?”  I can’t imagine any parent being able to answer “no” to that question.  We human beings tend to have the ingrained ability to grumble and complain about our circumstances, and our children are no different.  In fact, they may have even learned that attitude from you!  Nevertheless, we should pray that our children exemplify a heart of gratitude, always giving thanks to God for what he’s blessed us with.  And be sure to live that attitude as well, because your children will most definitely follow your example.

That ends our five things today on what to pray about for your children.  Make sure to check out the next and final post in this series and start praying for the virtues that we’ve already covered.

-Joe Butler

Prayers For My Daughter (Part 2)

Yesterday, I began a series detailing how we should be praying for our children.  Today we continue this series of blog posts and discuss the next five things that should be on our hearts when we talk to God on behalf of our children.  If you haven’t already done so, read part 1 here.

  • PERSEVERNACE (Hebrews 12:1)- If all of my readers were present here in front of me at this very moment and I asked if anyone had ever experienced any troubles in life, I have no doubt in my mind that every hand would go up.  I wish it weren’t so, but trials are a part of life.  We live in a sinful world where things don’t always work out as God intended.  That’s why it’s essential that we pray that our children show perseverance while running the race of life.  There are so many lessons to be learned by being persistent, and of course, the reward of Heaven awaits those who hold fast to following God.
  • COMPASSION (Colossians 3:12)- This is another area where I’ve been blessed as a parent by having a daughter who exemplifies a compassionate and tender heart.  It is something I continue to pray for on her behalf, because many people treat compassion with contingencies.  We are commanded in God’s word to clothe ourselves with compassion.  What does that look like?  I believe we find the answer in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  We should show empathy and concern when we see someone hurting or struggling, and should we teach our children to do the same.
  • SELF-CONTROL (1 Thessalonians 5:6)- At the sake of sounding a little pessimistic, we definitely live in a world where people refuse to accept responsibility for their words and actions.  Prisons are full of people who have excuses for why they’re there.  The reality is, being a Christian requires a tremendous amount of self-control.  But we can’t do it on our own.  Without God’s help, we’ll never come close to living a life of complete self-control.  That’s why we must pray for our children to listen to God’s word and the urgings of the Holy Spirit so that their decisions are based on a godly standard and not on the world’s idea of what’s right.
  • A LOVE FOR GOD’S WORD (Psalm 19:7-10)- Speaking of a godly standard, we can only understand that standard if we actually read God’s word.  This is one area where I believe many Christian parents are failing their children today.  It seems less Christians are opening their Bibles outside of a worship service, and even less are discussing biblical topics with their family at home.  I’ve prayed consistently that my daughter will grow the kind of love for God’s word that’s mentioned in Psalm 19.  That will only happen if I model that behavior myself so when she grows up, she’ll look to God’s word for guidance, encouragement, and instruction and not just follow the popular teachings of the day.
  • FAITHFULNESS (Proverbs 3:3-4)- Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).  If I could offer up only one prayer for my daughter’s faithfulness, it would be that she understand that we need not have all the answers.  So many children growing up ask why and have a deep anxiety or angst at not receiving the answers they want to hear.  God assures us that he always has our best interest at heart and to trust him with our life.  I think this is a great prayer we can speak over our children.

That wraps up our five virtues today on what to pray for your children.  Be sure to come back next time to the read the next post in this series.

-Joe Butler

Prayers For My Daughter (Part 1)

I love being a father.  I wear many hats in my life, but I think the role of “Daddy” is  my favorite.  Now, I will admit that I don’t have a teenager yet.  My daughter just turned 11 years old, but to be honest, I don’t think I’ll mind when she hits her teenage years either.  Part of being a parent is experiencing all the stages of childhood, and I feel so blessed to have been given the important job of raising my daughter.

Like any other Christian parent out there, I’ve quickly learned that to be a godly parent, you must be a person who prays.  God absolutely wants me and my wife to be successful as parents and he wants you to be as well.  But we must understand that God’s idea of success may be a little different from our own.  God doesn’t care as much about how much money your child makes as he does about his or her salvation.  God isn’t concerned whether your child grows up to be a sports star as much as he cares about their love, contentment, and faithfulness.

What follows is a 4 part blog series which will detail some of the things that I pray for on behalf of my daughter.  Each virtue is supported by a passage or two of Scripture showing that God really does want to bless us in our endeavor to raise godly children.  Today, we’ll start off with the first five and continue with five more each day.

  • SALVATION (Hebrews 7:25)- As a parent, the most important thing we can pray for is the salvation of our children.  There is nothing else in this life that will have a longer lasting effect than teaching our children to obey the gospel and give their lives to Christ.  Because I was baptized at age 10 and my daughter is now 11, I’m keenly aware that this decision may be made soon, so we have spent a lot of time studying the Bible and answering questions that she may have.  Most importantly, I’ve fervently prayed that God will touch Emma’s heart and help assure her that a life surrendered to him is the only way to live.
  • LOVE (Ephesians 5:1-2)- Second only to loving God with all of our heart is to love others as ourselves.  In the case of our daughter, she has such a tender heart for others and I think that is a direct result of our prayers for her on that behalf.  In a world with more and more selfishness, love for our neighbor is becoming a lost art.  Always pray that your children will imitate God and live a life of love and teach them that they should do so regardless of the circumstances or without passing judgment.
  • HONESTY AND INTEGRITY (Psalm 25:21)- One of my favorite things to tell my daughter, especially at her age, is to be prepared to do the right thing, even if you have to stand alone.  As a teacher, I see firsthand the effect that peer pressure has on our kids.  Even when it’s not necessarily bad, our children are constantly tempted to sacrifice godly integrity to maintain friendships or fit in with the crowd.  It takes a certain kind of personality to always stand up for what’s right, and your child may have a more go-with-the-flow demeanor.  That’s why, as parents, we should pray that our children look to God for their standard and will boldly live a godly lifestyle not matter what the world throws at them.
  • COURAGE (Deuteronomy 31:6)- Coinciding with the previous virtue is the idea of courage.  I pray that my daughter will always feel the presence of God with her and know that in all situations, he is there and is helping her do the right thing.  So many children today suffer depression or anxiety, and while there are many reasons for those issues to occur, the knowledge that God will never leave us always brings great assurance.  Pray that God will bless your children with the courage necessary to face any kind of trial that may come their way.
  • CONTENTMENT (Philippians 4:12-13)- Let’s just put this out on the table.  I’m not a millionaire.  There’s no doubt that my family and I are very blessed, but we live a relatively simple life surrounded by friends, family, and God.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  In the materialistic society that we live in, it’s vital that we teach our children that God wishes for us to be content.  We must also pray to that end, because we are bombarded daily with the message that we need more.  Contentment is found when we learn that God truly has given us everything we need and more, and this is an attribute that we should instill in our children as well.  Example really sets the tone here.  If we, as parents, live a life of contentment, our children are much more likely to follow suit.

I hope this series of posts help to encourage you to be a better parent and one who actively prays for the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of your children.  Come back next time as we examine 5 more prayers that we should offer up to God for our children.

-Joe Butler

Soliciting Your Prayers

Time sure does fly!  It’s been almost five years since I started Faith and Footsteps as a means of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.  In this digital age of the Internet and social media where everyone can share their personal opinions on everything under the sun, I’ve purposed this blog with a focus on Christ.  I hope the posts have been an encouragement for people to search for God in his word, to learn more about him and his love for mankind, and to follow in the footsteps of Christ.

To that aim, I am soliciting your prayers as the new year approaches so that this site may be even more effective at bringing lost souls into a relationship with Jesus, and that I may have the wisdom and discernment to study God’s word and deliver it in a bold and dynamic manner.  There are several specific things that I am asking you to pray for:

  1. Prayers for boldness to speak. (Pray, “that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel.”~ Ephesians 6:19).  It goes without saying that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to speak openly about God.  I ask that you pray that these posts will boldly speak the truth to a world that is hostile to God.  Pray that God blesses me with the words I need to teach others effectively and words that help people take the lessons of the Bible and assimilate them into their lives.
  2. Prayers for an open door.  (Pray, “that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ.”~ Colossians 4:3).  I chose to start this blog site with the main purpose of bringing the Good News to the world.  The internet is such a powerful tool that has enabled a small town, average Christian like myself to speak to people of all backgrounds about God.  I ask that you pray that these posts will reach someone searching for Christ.  Pray that hearts will be open to the gospel message and that souls can be saved.  Pray that I can answer questions and comments with the truth of God’s word so that those who are searching can be led into a closer relationship with him.
  3. Prayers for the spreading of God’s word.  (“pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored.” ~2 Thessalonians 3:1).  It doesn’t take long to notice the evil and lies that are taking root and spreading throughout the world.  While there’s much good that is going on, God is taking a backseat in the lives of many people, even in the lives of so-called Christians.  I ask that you pray that these posts will multiply true God-fearing disciples worldwide and that they will reach people I would never be able to reach otherwise.  Pray that the church will grow full of saints who are willing to obey God completely and who will fully dedicate their lives in service to him.

Thank you  in advance for the prayers that you will offer on my behalf and on behalf of this blog site.  I greatly appreciate all of my readers taking the time to read these posts as well as comment occasionally with questions and words of encouragement.  I will continue to wholeheartedly teach the word of God for as long as possible and pray that he receives all the glory.

-Joe Butler

Keep Praying

I have to say I’m appalled.  I not sure I believed I would ever see the persecution of Christianity in America get as bad as it’s getting.  It all came to a head for me when I was watching the news after the church shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas.  One more atrocity perpetrated by the hands of a sick-minded individual with a gun.  By all accounts, the crime was not committed specifically against Christians, but was an act of domestic violence.  And because it happened to completely innocent people during their worship of God, all sides of the political spectrum have used it to attack each other.

But this time, it went too far.  People across the nation, including President Trump, have called for an outpouring of prayer.  The community and those families in that small Texas town need to know that they’re being prayed for.  They need the comfort of the nation rallying around them, but most importantly, they need the comfort and reassurance that only comes from God (Philippians 4:6-7).  Calling openly for prayer during a tragic loss like this is a very appropriate response.

But that’s not how many people saw it.  Immediately following the mention of prayer, the President and Christians nationwide were blasted for their faith in God.  People decried prayer as a waste of time, an action that does nothing for those being prayed for.  They said that if God actually answered prayer, those people would still be alive.  They have effectively attacked one of the roots of the Christian faith, and it was all done under the premise of showing concern for the fallen and their families.

This post is not a call for protests from Christians or for a public spectacle to be made.  It’s not being written to bemoan the negativity and harassment Christians are continually facing.  God has warned us that those difficulties would come (Psalm 34:19).  This post is a call to pray all the more!  It’s a rallying cry to stand up for our right to pray by continuing to pray more fervently and more boldly.

When we let our problems and concerns go unnoticed or fail to deal with them, they grow.  If you don’t pray your way through the difficulties in life, through the tragedies and losses like this shooting, those events fester and infect like a wound to our body.  And God can cure all that infects our lives and make us feel healthy and whole again.  He doesn’t always take away the problems.  In fact, sometimes these challenges are there to help us grow (James 1:2-4), but he does promise to bring us through.

“Cast your burden on the Lord,
    and he will sustain you;
he will never permit
    the righteous to be moved.”

(Psalm 55:22)

So continue to pray!  Pray prayers of thanksgiving and for God’s kingdom to come (Matthew 6:10).  Pray for those who are sick and for those who are mourning.  Pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as you walk through the peaks and valleys of this journey called life.  Most importantly, don’t let anyone keep you from conversing with God or tell you that prayer doesn’t work.  They couldn’t be further from the truth.

-Joe Butler

 

In Jesus’ Name

“In Jesus’ name…Amen.”

Sounds familiar right?  It should if you’ve said a prayer or been around someone who has.  It’s the phrase most often used to end our prayers to God, and rightly so.  We have the privilege to personally speak to God through the name of Jesus, so we should pay homage to that fact by mentioning his glorious name.

That’s not the only time we should invoke the name of Jesus though.  His name is powerful and is tied to all of the things we hold valuable as Christians.  Our salvation is guaranteed by the name of Jesus.  Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  We are washed, we are sanctified, we are justified by the name of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:11).  “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

The name of Jesus is exalted above every other name in Heaven and on earth (Philippians 2:9-11).  He has been made Lord of lords and King of kings (Revelation 19:16), and all of creation is under his rule (Luke 10:17, Colossians 1:16).  The early Christians prayed for the power to heal that only comes through the name of Jesus (Acts 4:30), and they were promised and given such power by Jesus himself (Mark 16:17, Acts 3:1-7).

Today, meditate on the name of our Lord Jesus.  Reflect on the beauty of that name and all that he’s done to redeem us from sin and from death.  “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10).  “There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might” (Jeremiah 10:6).

-Joe Butler

Lifting Up Prayers of Praise

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
    make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
    tell of all his wondrous works!
10 Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
11 Seek the Lord and his strength;
    seek his presence continually!”

(1 Chronicles 16:8-11)

I’ve done a little off-the-cuff research and I’ve come to the conclusion:  We don’t praise God nearly as often as we should.  After deciding to keep track of prayer requests for the last two months at the church I attend, I may have unofficially determined that we lift up very few prayers of praise.  I’ve listened to prayer requests in Bible classes, read church bulletins for requests, and been a part of many conversations where prayers were solicited, and here were the findings:

  • prayers for the sick or general health requests- 71%
  • prayers for worldly affairs (those affected by natural disasters, tragedies in the news, government/political related prayers)- 21%
  • prayers for miscellaneous things (salvation of a friend or loved one, prayers for particular ministries, etc.)- 6%
  • prayers of specific praise- 2%

Now, please don’t hear me say that those prayer requests are wrong!  We are absolutely encouraged throughout the word of God to offer up all sorts of prayers and that God hears every one of them.  He wants us to bring him all of our cares and concerns.  And yes, I admit it was a small sample size to pull statistics from.  But you’ve got to admit that 2% for prayers of praise over a 2 month period in a church of about 160 people is an awfully small amount.

Like Daniel’s song of praise quoted above, we should give thanks to the Lord as often as possible.  And why not?  We are blessed beyond anything we can imagine!  God is so worthy to receive our thanks every day for all that he’s given us and done for us.  He deserves our worship.  He’s earned our adoration.  The works of his creation cry out to be appreciated.

So what do prayers of praise look like?

  • simply be thankful for a brand new day (Psalm 118:24)
  • praise God for his mercy and forgiveness (1 Peter 1:3)
  • thank him for his daily provision in your life (Philippians 4:19)
  • be grateful that he has provided a way of salvation (John 3:16)
  • be appreciative of the guidance and instruction of his Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • thank him for the beautiful world we live in and dream of how amazing Heaven will be (Psalm 19:1)

Most importantly, save some prayers of praise for God where you don’t ask for anything.  Just be content in the moment and enjoy the goodness of God.  Like any loving father, He relishes the opportunity to hear his children come to him with a grateful heart.  Keep offering those prayers of supplication, because God has promised to answer (1 John 5:14-15), but make sure you’re lifting up prayers of praise as well.

-Joe Butler