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Throughout these twenty-one days, one of our goals is to pray for others. Because, let’s be honest, in the course of a regular day, we spend a lot of time thinking about ourselves. (I know this can’t be just me!) We’ve prayed for our families and friends. We’ve prayed for our churches and communities. But today is gonna be all about you, friend.

You know why? Because God loves you. God cares about you. The stuff you are concerned about matters to God. And to connect with God, to receive from God, you need to get with God.

The goal of this journey is for you to become addicted to your time with Jesus. There are a lot of things you could be addicted to that will kill your spirit, harm your soul, or cripple your body, but talking to Jesus because you can’t imagine your life without Him—that will only give you life! And guess what I know? I know that if you have been on this journey, even a little bit here and there, you have opened the door for God to call you more clearly to time with Him. You have let Him know that you want Him.

No matter how tired you are. No matter how hurt you are. No matter how self-sufficient you are. No matter how poor you are. No matter how rich you are. No matter how smart you are. No matter how clueless you feel about the way your life has turned out thus far. When you pray, you are telling God you want Him to be involved in your life. And because that is ultimately why He created you: to see Himself glorified as you live out His will in your life. When you surrender to Him in prayer, you also invite Him to invade your story. So today, go to Him in prayer with powerful expectation that He will do just that.

Dear God, I love talking to You. Will You please show up in my life and in the lives of those I care for? Today I am asking you to __________.

When something juicy happens in your life—an awesome first date, a promotion at work, finding a lottery ticket worth $7 million—who’s the first person you want to tell? Maybe it’s a girlfriend. Maybe it’s a roommate or spouse. Maybe it’s your mom. It’s natural to take our joys, and our sorrows, to the people we know care for us. Those people are God’s good gifts in our lives.

But sometimes we forget to celebrate with the one who gives all the good gifts. We get caught up in our lives and we don’t pause to let God help us carry our sorrows. It’s natural, so don’t beat yourself up about it. But when we don’t bring all the stuff of our lives before God, we miss out on the opportunity to receive from Him. Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi reminds them to take their cares to God by praying about everything.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. —Philippians 4:6 NLT

He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, all that you could ever ask or think. God is the best listener. You’ve tried everything else. Why don’t you try talking to Him?

And I also want you to hear that you don’t have to use a lot of fancy words to get God’s attention. Whatever’s on your mind, just tell it to God like you’d tell it to your sister or neighbor.

Even if you’re undone—about the death of a loved one or about someone who’s in trouble or about someone vulnerable who’s been harmed—you can communicate with God without any words at all (Rom. 8:26)! Know that God hears whatever is in the depths of your heart. What if your tears are all you’ve got? That’s enough. Pray the tears, the hurt, and the pain. He can handle it. 

Lord, You know that I’m hurting. I don’t even have the words to say how deeply I’m experiencing pain. But I will do my best. I’m feeling so hurt, but I know You want me to come to You. Please see my heart and know my thoughts. Please meet me where I am and guide my steps. Please comfort me and let me know You are here.

When we pray, a lot of us wonder whether God is listening. And even when we’re convinced that God is listening, we might wonder whether God cares. And when we’re convinced that God cares, we might still wonder whether God answers our prayers. God always answers prayers.

And the cool thing is, He always says yes. I mean that even when God is saying no, it’s only because He is saying yes to something else, something better, something later, or something unimaginable. That’s kind of hard to wrap our minds around, isn’t it? Our job isn’t to understand upfront why He says yes, no, or wait. Our job is to pray and, by doing so, to access whatever yes He thinks is best.

Have you been waiting for a long time for God to answer your prayer? If He hasn’t answered, keep praying. If you prayed and He said no, believe that He’s still good. If He said yes, share your testimony so that others are encouraged.