Prayer Guide

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 Table of Contents


   Purpose............................................................................................ 1

   Not By Sight (Gen 22:1-10; Heb 11: 17-19) .....................................2

   Noah (Gen 6:1-9,17)........................................................................ 3

   Gideon (Judges 6-8)..........................................................................4

   People You wouldn’t expect:  Ruth (Ruth 1-4).................................. 5

   Esther For Such a Time as This (Esther 1-10) .................................6

   We Learn From Books ......................................................................7

   By Faith (Heb 11: 1-3,13)................................................................. 8

   Easy and Hard Faith (Matthew 14:22-33)......................................... 9

   Comforting Truths ( Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 46:10,119:105)........... 10

   When Ready to Give Up (2Cor4:16-18; Heb 12:2-4) .......................11

   Be Still and Know (Psalm 46:10) .....................................................12

   God’s Gift (John 3: 1-18; Romans 8:31) .........................................13

   So, What does it all mean for us ? ..................................................14


At the foundation of everything we believe there is something that cannot be proved readily with something we can see. At this place in our beliefs is where faith resides.

In our nation’s founding documents we have “we hold these truths to be self-evident” and as a nation we have accepted that “all men are created equal.”(Declaration of Independence)

We even have faith (though we may not think of it) that we will be safe in the car we drive or in our homes or with the food we purchase to eat. It is easy to forget that faith is a relationship of trust. Sometimes we Christians have difficulty with our faith when we find ourselves in hard times, hard places or making life altering decisions. Sometimes we become complacent not recognizing that faith is enough and requires a trusting relationship with God all of the time. Prayer and Bible study are ways we have to strengthen our faith.

This prayer guide is a collection of scriptures, stories and songs that help me remember the constancy of God in our faith relationship and an attempt at focusing our thoughts.  Just like grace, we cannot earn faith.  It is here. My prayer for this guide leading us to the November 21-22 Thanksgiving Vigil is that it may glorify God and lift our church in faith. Susan Allred for the Worship Committee

2-Not by sight… (Read Gen 22:1-10, Heb 11:17- 19)

           God spoke to Abram and told him to leave home and God would make him the father of a mighty nation. So, Abram left his land to go to the land God would give him. God spoke to Abraham and Sarah and told them that He would give them a child.  Abraham and Sarah were very old.  Can you imagine?  Even though they ultimately believed God, Abraham still doubted and fathered a child by Hagar leading to many issues between that offspring and Isaac, the one who God had chosen and sent to build that mighty nation.  God used imperfect people to carry out his ultimate plan.

 God spoke to Abraham and told him to make a sacrifice. He didn’t need to take an animal. When he got to the point of  sacrifice, God told him to sacrifice His son.    That had to be a very difficult decision for Abraham.  Due to his belief (faith)and his trust built on experience  that God had made promises and never failed, he could do even this.  God spared Isaac.

  Leave home.  Father a child in old age.  Sacrifice son.  Faith.  How would you respond?  Pray today for God’s guidance in your decisions.


3-Noah (Read Genesis 6:1-9:17)

God saw that the world he had created had become wicked.  He decided to wipe all mankind from the face of the earth.  But then, there was Noah who found favor with God because he was a righteous man.

 God told Noah to build an ark for himself and his family to prepare for a great flood.   You have to wonder what went through Noah’s mind at that point.  If he had been deemed righteous and walked with God (v 9) evidently he was living his life well.  The step out in faith to take the time to build an ark and convince his family that was the thing to do must have been either just a daily walk decision or a big deal.  Today, it would be a big deal.  For Noah? (v.22)Noah did everything just as God commanded him!

 Noah did everything that God told him which included building the ark, gathering provisions, adding all the animals and getting his family on board.  After the 40 days and nights of rain then it was almost another entire year before the family could exit the boat.  Noah trusted God. (Chap 9: v 9-10)) then God told Noah, “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you…Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”  And then, the sign of the covenant?  A rainbow.

 Pray today for your recognition of evidences of God’s covenant in your life.

 4-Gideon (Read Judges 6-8)

 The story of Gideon is one of great faith.  He was a judge but the Hebrew nation was under the rule of the Midianites.  So, what does a judge do during those times?  He would go out into the fields disguised as a peasant and thresh wheat hiding it so his people could have food.

A man (angel) came to Gideon while he was threshing and hiding wheat.  The angel said, “The Lord is with you mighty warrior.”  (12)  Gideon’s response?  “But sir” if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?  Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?  But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us in the hand of Midian” (13).

Does that interaction feel familiar?  Do you feel like the world is such a mess that even if God sends an angel you would question the message?

The revealing story of Gideon is that God stayed with him as he began to understand his challenge of freeing the people from the Midianites.  Gideon questioned God’s messenger throughout the paring down of his troops from 10s of thousands to 300 because God wanted the people to know that it was God who delivered them from the Midianites.  He just guided a faithful Gideon to get the job done and in his faith walk, he completed his purpose! 

  Pray to have the courage to be faithful to strive, to seek, to find God’s purpose through believing faith like Gideon.


5-People you wouldn’t expect:  Ruth (Read Ruth 1-4)

An often quoted scripture at weddings is really not about weddings at all.  The words are the words of Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi.

 Naomi and Ruth’s husbands had died.  They were in Moab and Ruth was a Moabite, but Naomi had come from Bethlehem in Judah.  Naomi was having a hard time knowing why God had let all of the negative happen to her. She would even change her name (1:20) after she did return to her homeland.  

BUT Ruth had seen in Naomi and her family the goodness of God and how they had served God.  So, when Naomi told Ruth to return home to Moab, Ruth uttered those famous verses:

   (NIV 1:16-17)” Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you.  Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.  May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”

 The rest of the story?  They returned to Naomi’s homeland.  Ruth began gleaning wheat at the end of the day from Boaz’s field.  Ultimately Boaz marries Ruth.   Good for Ruth?  Absolutely.  Even more than that….good for us.  Boaz is listed in the lineage of King David whose line gives birth to Jesus!  Ruth was a great grandmother to God’s son because she became faithful to the God who Naomi and her family had shown her while they were in a foreign land!   Pray today for faith like Ruth.


6-For Such a Time as This:  Esther (Read Esther 1-8)

God’s name doesn’t appear in the book of Esther.  So, how can it be a story of faith?  The story takes place in Persia although Esther was a Jewish girl; one of God’s chosen people. 

The story is fairly simple.  The king had a lavish display of his wealth and called for Queen Vashti to come in his presence so he could put her on display.  She refused and the king said she wasn’t queen anymore.

 He wanted to find a new queen meeting certain criteria.  Esther was in the land because she had come with her cousin Mordecai (descendant of tribe of Benjamin).  Because she was beautiful, she was in the running for queen.  Nobody knew of her nationality because Mordecai had forbidden her to tell.  After going through many preparations and tests the king chose her to be his queen. 

Politics happened.

Haman who had been promoted by the king was jealous of Mordecai and treated him badly.  After a major incident Haman convinced the king to have all the Jews killed. Mordecai said to Esther “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”(4:14) 

Esther stepped up.

Courage. Pray today for the courage in faith of Esther for such a time as this.

 7-We learn from Books….

 There are many contemporary books written about faith.

One of the most memorable and helpful to me was written in the 1980s WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner.  He wrote the book after losing a son during his teen years to a degenerative disease.  The book is honest looking through Kushner’s many roles as a scholar of scriptural studies, a dad and being a human on the planet. 

One of the memorable things in this book to me is his recounting of how important community is in bringing people through grief, pain and hard times.

Reflection leads me to the thought of how church as community is so crucial in responding to need. 

It is a part of a Christian church’s mission to extend this community exemplifying Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 4:22:15-16(NIV) “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head that is Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Faith holds that group together.

Thank God today for your community of faith

8-By faith (Read Hebrews 11:1-3, 13)

 Although the author of Hebrews is unknown it was a book written primarily to help Jewish Christians understand that Jesus had completed the story of God’s promise.  Much of the book recounts some of the stories mentioned in this prayer guide with others as it sets the foundation for the understanding of faith.

 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see, this is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (NIV 1-3)

 “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living.  It’s our handle on what we can’t see.  The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.  By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.” (THE MESSAGE, 1-3)

So, how long do we need to pray and have faith?

 9-Easy and Hard Faith (Read Matthew 14: 22-33)

 The Matthew passage is the story of Jesus and the disciples as they were ministering.  They had just had the day of feeding the 5000 people with the loaves and fish.  The disciples had already moved away and boarded the boat that was to take them to their next destination.Jesus had separated himself from his disciples.   Jesus went by himself to pray.Evening came and the boat was already far from the shore.  Jesus walked across the water to get to the boat.  The disciples were afraid.  He told them to take courage because “It is I” (27).  Peter doubted.  His challenge “Lord, if it’s you.” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” (28). Jesus’ response was simply, “come” (v 29).  What happens? Peter walks on water, too until he gets distracted by the wind and loses faith.  He then sinks.  Jesus saved him and they got in the boat.   The impact on the disciples was they said, “Truly you are the Son of God.”This is a story about willingness where faith is concerned.  Peter wasn’t a horrible guy.  He was just a guy in a difficult situation who encountered Jesus and ultimately others believed in Christ as a result. Today’s prayer…for the journey of faith for learning to trust Him. 7

10-Comforting Truths (Read Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 46:10; Psalm 119:105)

There are verses that can help us in times of trouble by simply being committed to memory and saying them aloud, praying them and seeking God’s guidance.   Here are some of those that have helped me most.

(Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

(Psalm 46:10 NIV) Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

(Psalm 119:105 KJV) Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.  I will hide these words in my heart that I may not sin against God.

Trust in God’s word; acknowledge that instead of my own direction.  Listen and clearly know that God is the ultimate victor.  Search the scriptures for guidance.   What if we determined that we would commit guidance scriptures to memory and rely on them every day? Do you have a short memory? Place the card or post-its where you can pray and review them all the time.

What difference might it make in our faith?

Pray today for guidance from the scriptures that God has given us for instruction and help every minute.

11-When you are ready to give up (Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Hebrews 12:2-4)

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (NIV II Cor 4:16-18)

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NIV Hebrews 12:2-4)

There are times when the pressures of whatever it is that is confronting us, make it feel impossible to move forward.  Depression is debilitating at times.  It may feel that God has forsaken us even though we know in our hearts that is not the case.

The two passages above help us realize that we do not always see the end immediately.  Our challenge is to keep our vision fixed on God through His son Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  He did it so we would not grow weary! (V 4). Easy? No.  Eternal?  Yes.

Pray today for a path to set our minds on Christ every day.

12- Be Still and Know ( Read Psalm 46:10)

One of the reasons that faith is difficult for us is that it takes the time it takes for us to build that trusting relationship, focused on God, yielding ourselves to the understanding that God will be the ultimate victor.  It takes time.  It takes patience.  It takes quiet.

Jesus modeled for us time away from others to pray and talk to our heavenly father.  He gathered with the disciples and he preached to crowds and individuals.  He spent time in the synagogue and with the scriptures.  Christ modeled a life on mission.  Even Jesus needed the support of others as well as quiet time to continue the journey that would ultimately lead to the end of his earthly life and completion of God’s purpose.

And yet, we see that model and find it difficult to take the time it takes.  We pray in desperation.  We need answers now.  God requires our obedience (I Sam 15:22) and trust.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.  The Lord Almighty is with us.” (NIV Psalm 46:10)

Pray today for the patience and the time it takes to be still and know.

13- God’s Gift (Read John 3: 1-18; Romans 8:31)

When the prominent Pharisee Nicodemus came to Jesus to figure out what the message of Jesus meant, he knew that Jesus was a great teacher but wanted to know how it was possible to be born again.  The exchange between the two and Jesus’ most important words provide a foundation for our faith.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3: 16-18 NIV)

Paul goes a step further in his letter to the Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say in response to this?  If God is for us who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all.”

That passage in THE MESSAGE reads, “So what do you think?  With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?”

Thank God today for sending his Son into this world to save us.  Each one of us.  That grace-filled gift is ultimately the foundation of our faith.                              

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

(Thomas O. Chisolm & William M. Runyan) Copyright 1923.  By Permission.  Hope Publishing Company


“Great is Thy Faithfulness,” O God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with Thee;

Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not

As Thou has been Thou forever will be.


“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy

Faithfulness.”  Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!


Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,

Join with all nature in manifold witness

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.


Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.


“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy

Faithfulness.”  Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

“Great is Thy faithfulness,”” Lord, unto me!


 14- So What Does It All Mean to Us?

As we approach this season of Thanksgiving, our church continually faces challenges.  There are challenges that require our collective faith to move the mission of this church forward.  Where do we move forward as a church in mission?  How will we be able to continue a strong collaboration with the soup kitchen with St. Gabriel’s? How will we continue to be on personal mission in our own community, our nation and the world?  How do we address the facilities challenge for ministry in Rutherford County?  How do we provide facilitates to address nursery needs, youth meeting needs, fellowship needs, outreach needs and music needs?

A strategic planning group has been meeting over the last several years and a direction has been arrived at through conversations, God’s guidance and agreement by the Session.  It isn’t just about a building.  It is about, do we the people of God in this place have the kind of faith that Abraham, Gideon, Noah, Esther, Ruth, the disciples, Paul, the authors of Old and New Testament books and current theologians model and share?  A church on mission is driven by faith.

Join us for the prayer vigil November 21-22 either in person or in your home in a season of prayer for FAITH for the things not seen.

Contact Us:

  • Rutherfordton Presbyterian Church

  • 252 N Washington St

  • Rutherfordton, North Carolina 28139
Phone  (828) 287-3466

   For we live by faith, not by sight.  2 Corinthians 5:7