POCK ETprayers40 Simple Pr ayers thatBr ing Peace and R estMax Lucadowith Andrea Lucado00-01 PocketPrayer.indd 37/15/14 4:47 PM

2014 by Max LucadoAll rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced,stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by anymeans—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning,or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles,without the prior written permission of the publisher.Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson, a division ofHarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc.Thomas Nelson titles may be purchased in bulk for educational,business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information,please e-mail [email protected] otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are taken from theNew King James Version . 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used bypermission. All rights reserved.Other Scripture references are from the following sources: NewCentury Version (ncv). 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Usedby permission. All rights reserved. Holy Bible, New InternationalVersion , NIV (niv). 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved Holy Bible, New Living Translation (nlt). 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers,Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.ISBN 978-0-7180-1404-914 15 16 17 18 RRD 5 4 3 2 100-01 PocketPrayer.indd 47/15/14 4:47 PM

The Pocket PrayerHello, my name is Max. I’m a recoveringprayer wimp. I doze off when I pray. Mythoughts zig, then zag, then zig again. Distractionsswarm like gnats on a summer night. If attentiondeficit disorder applies to prayer, I am afflicted.When I pray, I think of a thousand things I needto do. I forget the one thing I set out to do: pray.Some people excel in prayer. They inhaleheaven and exhale God. They are the SEALTeam Six of intercession. They would ratherpray than sleep. Why is it that I sleep when Ipray? They belong to the PGA: Prayer GiantsAssociation. I am a card-carrying member ofthe PWA: Prayer Wimps Anonymous.Can you relate? It’s not that we don’t pray atall. We all pray some.On tearstained pillows we pray.In grand liturgies we pray.At the sight of geese in flight, we pray.Quoting ancient devotions, we pray.100-01 PocketPrayer.indd 17/15/14 4:47 PM

Pocket PrayersWe pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent.We pray when the lump is deemed malignant.When the money runs out before the monthdoes. When the unborn baby hasn’t kicked in awhile. We all pray . . . some.But wouldn’t we all like to pray . . .More?Better?Deeper?Stronger?With more fire, faith, or fervency?Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our goodintentions like a tiger on a rabbit. We want topray, but when?We want to pray, but why? We might as welladmit it. Prayer is odd, peculiar. Speaking intospace. Lifting words into the sky. We can’t evenget the cable company to answer us, yet Godwill? The doctor is too busy, but God isn’t? Wehave our doubts about prayer.And we have our checkered history withprayer: unmet expectations, unanswered requests.We can barely genuflect for the scar tissue on ourknees. God, to some, is the ultimate heartbreaker.200-01 PocketPrayer.indd 27/15/14 4:47 PM

The Pocket PrayerWhy keep tossing the coins of our longings intoa silent pool? He jilted me once . . . but nottwice.Oh, the peculiar puzzle of prayer.We aren’t the first to struggle. The signup sheet for Prayer 101 contains some familiarnames: the apostles John, James, Andrew, andPeter. When one of Jesus’ disciples requested,“Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1 niv), noneof the others objected. No one walked away saying, “Hey, I have prayer figured out.” The firstfollowers of Jesus needed prayer guidance.In fact, the only tutorial they ever requestedwas on prayer. They could have asked forinstructions on many topics: bread multiplying, speech making, storm stilling. Jesus raisedpeople from the dead. But a “How to Vacatethe Cemetery” seminar? His followers nevercalled for one. But they did want him to do this:“Lord, teach us to pray.”Might their interest have had something todo with the jaw-dropping, eye-popping promises Jesus attached to prayer? “Ask and it will begiven to you” (Matt. 7:7 niv). “If you believe,you will get anything you ask for in prayer”300-01 PocketPrayer.indd 37/15/14 4:47 PM

Pocket Prayers(Matt. 21:22 ncv). Jesus never attached suchpower to other endeavors. “Plan and it will begiven to you.” “You will get anything you workfor.” Those words are not in the Bible. But theseare—“If you remain in me and follow my teachings, you can ask anything you want, and it willbe given to you” (John 15:7 ncv).Jesus gave stunning prayer promises.And he set a compelling prayer example.Jesus prayed before he ate. He prayed for children. He prayed for the sick. He prayed withthanks. He prayed with tears. He had made theplanets and shaped the stars, yet he prayed. Heis the Lord of angels and Commander of heavenly hosts, yet he prayed. He is coequal withGod, the exact representation of the Holy One,and yet he devoted himself to prayer. He prayedin the desert, cemetery, and garden. “He wentout and departed to a solitary place; and thereHe prayed” (Mark 1:35).This dialogue must have been commonamong his friends:“Has anyone seen Jesus?”“Oh, you know. He’s up to the same thing.”“Praying again?400-01 PocketPrayer.indd 47/15/14 4:47 PM

The Pocket Prayer“Yep. He’s been gone since sunrise.”Jesus would even disappear for an entirenight of prayer. I’m thinking of one occasionin particular. He’d just experienced one of themost stressful days of his ministry. The daybegan with the news of the death of his relative John the Baptist. Jesus sought to retreatwith his disciples, yet a throng of thousandsfollowed him. Though grief-stricken, he spentthe day teaching and healing people. When itwas discovered that the host of people had nofood to eat, Jesus multiplied bread out of a basket and fed the entire multitude. In the span ofa few hours, he battled sorrow, stress, demands,and needs. He deserved a good night’s rest. Yetwhen evening finally came, he told the crowd toleave and the disciples to board their boat, and“he went up into the hills by himself to pray”(Mark 6:46 nlt).Apparently it was the correct choice. Astorm exploded over the Sea of Galilee, leavingthe disciples “in trouble far away from land, fora strong wind had risen, and they were fightingheavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the500-01 PocketPrayer.indd 57/15/14 4:47 PM

Pocket Prayerswater” (Matt. 14:24–25 nlt). Jesus ascended themountain depleted. He reappeared invigorated.When he reached the water, he never broke hisstride. You’d have thought the water was a parklawn and the storm a spring breeze.Do you think the disciples made the prayer–power connection? “Lord, teach us to pray likethat. Teach us to find strength in prayer. Tobanish fear in prayer. To defy storms in prayer.To come off the mountain of prayer with theauthority of a prince.”What about you? The disciples faced angrywaves and a watery grave. You face angry clients, a turbulent economy, raging seas of stressand sorrow.“Lord,” we still request, “teach us to pray.”When the disciples asked Jesus to teachthem to pray, he gave them a prayer. Not alecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer.He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portableprayer (Luke 11:1–4).Could you use the same? It seems to methat the prayers of the Bible can be distilled intoone. The result is a simple, easy-to-remember,pocket-size prayer:600-01 PocketPrayer.indd 67/15/14 4:47 PM

The Pocket PrayerFather,you are good.I need help. Heal me and forgive me.They need help.Thank you.In Jesus’ name, amen.Let this prayer punctuate your day. As youbegin your morning, Father, you are good. As youcommute to work or walk the hallways at school,I need help. As you wait in the grocery line, Theyneed help. Keep this prayer in your pocket as youpass through the day.When we invite God into our world, hewalks in. He brings a host of gifts: joy, patience,resilience. Anxieties come, but they don’t stick.Fears surface and then depart. Regrets land onthe windshield, but then comes the wiper ofprayer. The devil still hands me stones of guilt,but I turn and give them to Christ. I’m completing my sixth decade, yet I’m wired with energy.I am happier, healthier, and more hopeful thanI have ever been. Struggles come, for sure. Butso does God.Prayer is not a privilege for the pious,not the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply700-01 PocketPrayer.indd 77/15/14 4:47 PM

Pocket Prayersa heartfelt conversation between God and hischild. My friend, he wants to talk with you.Even now, as you read these words, he taps atthe door. Open it. Welcome him in. Let theconversation begin.800-01 PocketPrayer.indd 87/15/14 4:47 PM

1For you did not receive the spiritof bondage again to fear, but youreceived the Spirit of adoption bywhom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”R om a ns 8:15Father, you have made me your child throughyour Spirit. In your kindness you adoptedme and delivered me from sin and death.Remind me today what it means to be yourchild and to be free from that law. It is so easy forme to live my day on my own terms. Help me tolive it in light of your grace.I pray for my friends and family. Help themexperience your love as their father and feel theirinheritance in your spirit.Thank you for accepting me as I am but notleaving me the same.In Jesus’ name, amen.900-01 PocketPrayer.indd 97/15/14 4:47 PM

2And because you are sons, God hassent forth the Spirit of His Son into yourhearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”G a l ati a ns 4:6Abba, thank you for sending a helper todirect my steps. You know everything andwill guide me in your will.Help me to know your will. Keep me on thepath you have set for me. Give me the desire tostay true to that path, and forgive me for thetimes I have already strayed from you.Be with my friends and family who are ata crossroads and don’t know what to do next.May your spirit guide them and make the bestdecision clear.Thank you for caring about the details of mylife, for not believing any request is too small.I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.1000-01 PocketPrayer.indd 107/15/14 4:47 PM

3Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Yourname. Your kingdom come. Your willbe done on earth as it is in heaven.M atthew 6:9 –10Father, you are above all, know all, and seeall. Yet you hear me as if I am your onlycreation.May I not view you as a distant father, but asone who has come to earth and understands thechallenges and temptations of my life. Be nearme today and whisper reminders that you areclose and holding me as your child.My friends need you today as they make difficult decisions in their workplaces and withintheir families. Would you show them that youare closer than even their earthly fathers?Thank you for hearing me and listening tomy pleas.It’s in Jesus’ name I pray this, amen.1100-01 PocketPrayer.indd 117/15/14 4:47 PM

4Yet for us there is one God, the Father, ofwhom are all things, and we for Him; andone Lord Jesus Christ, through whom areall things, and through whom we live.1 C or inthi a ns 8:6God, you are my father who gives all goodthings. I have life because of you, and thereis no one like you.I ask that you would deepen that truth in myheart today. Point out my idols and the things Iworship apart from you, that I would rememberyou alone are my God.Give my friends and loved ones freedomfrom their idols as well so they can fully enjoybeing part of your family. Help them know thatyou are their only creator and nothing on thisearth has ownership of them.Thank you for loving us, your creation, evenwhen we go astray.In Jesus’ name, amen.1200-01 PocketPrayer.indd 127/15/14 4:47 PM

5A father of the fatherless, a defender ofwidows, is God in His holy habitation.God sets the solitary in families; He bringsout those who are bound into prosperity.P sa lm 68:5– 6Dear God, you are the Father to the fatherless. You provide for those without a familyand defend the weak as their own father would.Today I feel defenseless. When I feelattacked, would you remind me that you protectme? Would you be my father and defender today?Please defend those who are weak and afraidand feel forgotten. Show up in their lives todayand remind them that they are your childrenand you are their heavenly Father.Thank you for giving me a spiritual familythat can never be taken away.I pray this in the name of Jesus, amen.1300-01 PocketPrayer.indd 137/15/14 4:47 PM

6For unto us a Child is born, unto us aSon is given; and the government will beupon His shoulder. And His name will becalled Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.I sa i a h 9:6Everlasting father, you are the mighty God.You sent your Son and performed the finalsacrifice, and you deserve all of our praise.I need your help today. I am a sinner andam feeling the weight of my sin. Show me whatyour Son’s birth means for me in this moment.Give grace to those who have not acceptedyour Son and do not know the freedom he gives.Let them see that you are their loving Father.Thank you for loving me not just yesterdayor today but always, no matter the depth of mysin. I am grateful.In your Son’s precious name, amen.1400-01 PocketPrayer.indd 147/15/14 4:47 PM

7Good and upright is the Lord; thereforeHe teaches sinners in the way. Thehumble He guides in justice, and thehumble He teaches His way.P sa lm 25:8 –9Dear father, you are good. Your ways areperfect and above my own. You deservemy full obedience and my worship. You are myteacher and authority because of your goodness.Humble me today when I choose my wayover yours. Use my prideful moments as anopportunity to teach me and redirect me.Show my friends that your goodness is moreimportant than their desires. Provide them with