101 Most Powerful Promises in the Bible


By Steve

By Lois Rabey

By Marcia Ford

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For anyone who is searching for guidance in a time of need, finds that their faith is floundering, or simply wants to infuse some inspiration into their day, 101 Most Powerful Promises in the Bible will provide the strength of God’s message at the turn of a page.


This book is lovingly dedicated
to my parents,
Charles and Virginia de Gravelles


You will meet many of my friends and family members on the pages of this book. That's because I almost always learn the greatest lessons on my spiritual journey from those I know best. And so I give special thanks to my husband Spike, my son Curt, his wife Julie, and their children Caroline and Jordan; to my son Andy, his wife Jenni, and their children Kaylee and Drew.

Special thanks go to those from whom I have learned about prayer, especially the Christ Anglican Church prayer team: Conlee and Signa; John and Laura; Tim; Betsy; Emilie; and Pam. And thanks to those who have allowed me to share what I have learned—the women's groups who have opened their hearts to me.

Thanks to my agent, Greg Johnson, at Alive Communications for his encouragement, to Steve and Lois Rabey, and to the good people at Warner Faith books, especially Leslie Peterson.

General Editors' Preface

There are thousands of verses in the Bible. How can we find the ones containing the divine wisdom and guidance we are looking for in order to help us grow spiritually and live more faithfully? This book and others in The 101 Most Powerful series will help you find and unlock powerful passages of Scripture that inspire, comfort and challenge.

The 101 Most Powerful Prayers in the Bible helps us open our hearts to God by showing us how earlier saints and sinners prayed.

The 101 Most Powerful Promises in the Bible brings together those passages that convey God's boundless and eternal love for his creation and his creatures.

The 101 Most Powerful Proverbs in the Bible will enable us to apply God's timeless truths to many of the messy details of daily life.

And The 101 Most Powerful Verses in the Bible provides a treasury of divine insight gathered from nearly every book of the Old and New Testaments.

If author Claire Cloninger's name sounds familiar, you've probably heard some of the many award-winning songs she has written or read some of her previous books.

Claire brings a zest for life and a zeal for God to the readings that follow. On one page she draws fresh meaning from Bible passages that many of us have heard millions of times before. On another, she reveals some of the life-changing spiritual lessons that arise from some of the seemingly mundane events of daily life.

This and the other books in this series will never replace the Bible, but we do hope they will help you grasp its powerful and life- changing lessons and better utilize its wisdom in your life.

Steve and Lois Rabey


In his book on prayer, Richard J. Foster referred to the heart of God as "an open wound of love." He described the Father as the one who "aches over our distance and preoccupation" . . . who "mourns that we do not draw near to him" . . . who "grieves that we have forgotten him."1

Seeing the heart of God from this viewpoint is compelling. How could we not rush headlong into the arms of the God who loves us so much, the one who longs to commune with us? How can we realize that he is waiting daily to meet with us, to speak to us, to hear us? And yet in our busyness we rush right past him.

God will not force us to return to him from our worries and concerns, but he will continue to draw us to himself. Even now he is inviting us to learn the language of the Spirit, to come to him through the doorway of prayer.

There are many facets to the language of prayer. To pray is to open our lives to God's overcoming love, which is continually reaching out to us. It is to communicate from the heart with him as our most trusted Friend. It is to worship him for who he is, to sing with joy to him, to thank him for his blessings, and to cry out to him in our pain and grief. It is to confess our sins and receive his forgiveness, his restoration, and his healing. It is to seek his guidance and wisdom when we feel lost or confused. And it is to embrace the practice of intercession as we go to him on behalf of others.

But prayer is not merely telling God how things are with us and asking him for what we want. It is also learning to listen to God in the quiet places of our hearts as he reveals how things are with him and tells us what he expects from us.

The Bible is the ultimate textbook on prayer. There are literally hundreds of examples of people who have met their challenges by praying. And there are the prayers themselves—the book you are holding contains 101 such prayers. Many are presented with examples of how these prayers have affected my life or the lives of loved ones and friends. I pray that everything the Lord has led me to include in this book will enrich your own prayer life as it draws you closer to God.

Before I close, I feel compelled to add that we will never learn all we need to know about prayer by reading about it. We will learn best to pray by praying.

Father, bless us as we begin. We long to know you in a deeper way. Teach us to love you through the language of prayer. In Jesus' name, amen.


Return to the Garden

A broken and contrite heart,

O God, you will not despise.

Psalm 51:17

ONCE there was a garden where prayer flowed like rivers, where thanksgiving sprang up like grass, and worship fell like morning rain. In that garden, that distant land, that long-ago paradise, a friendship with the Father was the most natural thing on earth. In that garden we walked and talked with God.

That relationship was the one for which the Creator designed us. And although it contained everything we would ever require for fulfillment and joy, we let it go. We let it slip away. We let go of love and touched temptation and the garden vanished.

Now many times we move through our lives without even realizing that the most essential part of who we are is missing, like a phantom limb. We experience an aching emptiness at the center of ourselves we can't quite express. As we navigate snarled lanes of traffic, juggle the minutiae of our jobs, work at being the best parents, children, or friends we can be, we know that something fundamental is missing. As we try to pull together the hundred loose ends of our lives that should provide meaning, we so often come up empty.

Even we Christians, who know on some level that we are God's forgiven children, find ourselves longing for a deeper sense of connectedness with him; a deeper sense of union.

How can we reclaim the sweet intimacy of the Garden of Eden—the place where the man and the woman walked with God in the cool of the day without shame and with total abandon? How can we move into that place again?

God is showing us the way. He has left us every clue to his presence and every evidence of his yearning for us, like scattered bread along the path of prayer. He is waiting for us to come with broken spirits and contrite hearts. He is drawing us to himself, saying, "Here I am. Come to me.

"Come with a trusting heart like David when he prayed, 'Because you are my help, / I sing in the shadow of your wings' [Ps. 63:7].

"Come with a surrendered heart like Mary when she said, 'May it be to me as you have said' [Luke 1:38].

"Come with a thankful heart like Paul when he praised me as the one who is able to do 'immeasurably more' than all he could ask or imagine [Eph. 3:20].

"Come home, my child. I am waiting."

O Lord, thank you for inviting us to pray. Thank you for calling us back to you: out of our weariness into your rest, out of our need into your abundance, out of our loneliness into your friendship. Continue to draw us to you. Teach us to pray. Amen.


A Primer on Prayer

This, then, is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Matthew 6:9

PRAYER is the gateway to God's heart. Who better to open the gate for us than the Son whom he loved? Who better to give us instruction on prayer than the one who lived by prayer, the one who did only what he saw his Father doing—the one who said only what he heard his Father saying?

The first line in the Lord's "primer on prayer" settles several of our most basic issues of faith. Whose father are we talking to? Is he someone else's father or ours? Is he someone we know only from a distance? Is he a father we can trust and call on in a time of trouble, or is he some capricious deity who is playing tricks on us? In this first line we learn that he is our good Father.

I know my human father well. He loves me and takes pride in me. Whenever I was in a play or a recital, he was there. Mom said he enjoyed sitting somewhere near the front, and at some point during the performance he would inevitably point me out to another parent sitting nearby. "She's ours," he would say, "third from the left."

Dad also found ways to include me in his grown-up world. I remember him letting me sit in his lap and steer our old maroon Ford coupe when I was only four or five. Of course we only went up and down the driveway, but in some way I felt he was handing over a special adult responsibility to me, and I loved it.

If God is our Father, he's like that. He is up close and personal. He's in heaven, yes. But he did not stay at a distance. He came to earth to walk the human journey alongside us through the life of his Son.

"Hallowed be your name." In the time and the culture of our Lord, to speak someone's name was to speak of his character. To some extent this is still true in our time and culture. If you say that someone smeared your name, you are saying that the other person had smudged your reputation or character.

Hallowed is another word for holy, so to say "Hallowed be your name" would be the same as saying "Holy is your name" or "Your name is holy."

Putting these definitions and "translations" together enables us to come up with one of the most basic phrases of worship in the language of prayer. "Hallowed be your name" could be translated: "Lord, our God. Your character is holy. Your personality is pure and precious and without flaw. Holy is your name, O Lord. Holy is your name."

The next time you say the Lord's prayer, don't let that first line slip by without realizing what you are saying:

Our Father, the God who loves us, the one whom we can trust and turn to—our Father, your home is in heaven but it is also in our hearts. Your name and your character are holy and righteous and without flaw. Amen.


Wanting His Will

Your kingdom come,

your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:10

THERE is a perfect plan in the Father's heart that he designed for you. One of the surest ways to keep moving toward the Father and his plan is to agree with his will for you.

Many characters in the Bible wanted only their own wills and their own ways. Far fewer desired the Father's plan, but they were the spiritually powerful ones. Here are a few of them and their prayers:

Mary, after hearing the angel's prophecy regarding the child that she would bear, prayed, "Let it be to me according to your word."

Though David had sinned and moved away from God's plan for his life, he finally came to a place where he repented (turned around) and this was his prayer: "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground" (Ps. 143:10).

Jesus himself, who desired his Father's perfect will more than anyone, prayed near the end of his life that the bitter cup of God's will would be taken away. But later that same evening, when he prayed for a second time, these were his words: "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done" (Matt. 26:42).

God has a design for us each day. We can miss it or we can find it. If we miss it, it is our loss, not his. If we find it, it is our gain.

If you have not the vaguest clue as to what God's will is for you, you may not have been listening carefully enough. God wants to communicate with us. He wants desperately for each of us to hear him.

And what he has for each of us will not be drudgery. It will not be boring. We won't feel like we are scrubbing floors while everybody else is going to the ball. It will be exactly right for us.

But we will never find his will for us until we are willing to "seek and knock and ask." Until we are willing to say as David did, "Teach me to do your will," we'll remain on the outside looking in.

Father God, I want your will because I know that nothing else on earth will truly fulfill me. Forgive me for trying to satisfy myself with the bland food of my self-will when you are waiting with the banquet of your perfect will for me. Amen.


The Prayer of "the True Bread"

Give us today our daily bread.

Matthew 6:11

MY daughter-in-law Julie made fresh homemade bread every day for the first five years of her marriage. Having been the recipient of many of those fragrant, nourishing loaves, I know what a gift they were—especially in this era of mass-produced food.

When Jesus told us to pray to our heavenly Father daily for the nourishment that we require, he was communicating on more than one level. He was telling us to seek God for physical food—the vitamins, minerals, grains, and vegetables—our bodies need. But he was concerned with much more than that.

More than what we find in the amply supplied bakery departments of our local supermarkets, more than the homemade tortillas that are mixed and patted flat with the dirty hands of women along city streets in Third World countries, more than the unleavened bread of sacred ceremonies, God wants to supply us with the bread of his presence, the nourishment of his friendship. He wants to meet us in our times of prayer and enter into a personal relationship with us.

For he has said that "man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). Jesus knew what it would take for us to survive in life. We were created for a relationship with him and with his Father.

To feast on the true bread of the Lord's friendship is to experience spiritual satisfaction, to know an inner sufficiency as God supplies all our needs. It is to find every yearning filled with his nearness, every question answered by his love.

Jesus was the Word incarnate who was with God from the beginning. "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made. . . . In him was life, and that life was the light of men" (John 1:3-4). Who is more qualified to know the requirements for our survival?

On a mountainside by the Sea of Galilee Jesus demonstrated his power to supply a symbol of what he would later call "the true bread" (John 6:32). There, surrounded by a hungry crowd, he took five small barley loaves and two small fish and fed an enormous crowd. Five thousand people ate and twelve baskets were filled with leftover pieces.

That night Jesus went out to a boat, but the people refused to let him alone. They tracked him by land first, and then by sea. When they finally found him in Capernaum, they asked, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"

Jesus answered, "You are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you" (John 6:25-27).

In prayer we feed on the Bread that is essential, the True Bread that endures through to eternal life.

Father, I thank you that you desire to feed me with the "true bread" of your Son, for he is the "food" that endures. I receive the bread of his presence into myself—body, soul, and spirit—with joy and gratitude. Amen.


Choosing to Forgive

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Matthew 6:12 (NIV)

AT a women's conference recently I had an opportunity to pray with a woman I'll call Marcia. She was beautiful, well dressed, and confident-looking. Only the pinched expression around her mouth betrayed any hint of her real outlook on life—Marcia was choked with resentment.

Angrily she spewed out the story. After twenty-seven years of marriage, her husband, Lee, had fallen in love with a woman half his age. With hardly a second thought or a backward glance, Lee had left not only Marcia and their three children but their hometown, his insurance business, and a pile of unpaid bills.

"At first I was consumed with grief," she said. "I cried nonstop. Now I'm so angry I feel that if only I knew where he was, I would do something very violent."

I couldn't lecture this hurting lady. I didn't have her problems. But I did tell her a powerful story I once heard at a conference led by Christian speaker and conference leader Clay McLean, a story that helped me understand one reason the Lord so strongly urges us to forgive.

Once after Clay spoke on forgiveness, a very angry woman approached and told him at length why she had no desire to forgive the people who had made her life a living hell. It seemed her two older stepbrothers had sexually abused her every night from the time she was eight until she was sixteen and she finally left home. Clay stood there horrified by the wrong done to this sad woman. "Lord, what can I say to her?" he silently prayed. And then it came to him.

"And they will continue to abuse you every night until you choose to forgive them," he said firmly. "Forgiving them is not to imply that what they did was okay. It means only that you're releasing them and their sin to God's judgment so you can get your life back."

As I told this story, the light dawned on Marcia's face. She could see that she had imprisoned herself by her unwillingness to forgive Lee. She was ready to forgive.

We knelt together and thanked the Lord for the gift of forgiveness. Then I prayed for Marcia to have the strength to forgive her ex-husband.

"Lord," she prayed with tears in her eyes, "I choose to do it your way today. I choose to forgive Lee. And if my anger returns tomorrow, help me do it all over again. But for today, I choose to forgive."

Lord Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice on Calvary, making a way for us to be forgiven and teaching us how to forgive. We choose forgiveness because it is what you have prescribed for us. Work through us, empowering us to be instruments of your forgiveness. Amen.


The Bad News and the Good News

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:13

IN his book Telling the Truth, Frederick Buechner related an incident in which the well-known preacher Henry Ward Beecher traveled to Yale University to deliver the first of the Beecher Lectures, a series established in honor of his late father.

Beecher passed a troubling night because he had no idea what he would say. The next morning as he shaved, suddenly it came to him.

Staring into his own eyes, he knew that his life had become a farce. He thought of the furor that was brewing in his own parish, the results of his own actions: gossip, tales of adultery, tearful confessions. And he was at the center of it all. At that moment, Beecher's razor slipped, and he cut his face. He wrote notes for the sermon in his own blood!

What a dramatic picture of coming face-to-face with our own sin. As Buechner put it, "Well the old pulpiteer might have cut himself" because his lecture came from "the deep trouble that he was in or the deep trouble that was in him."1

There is deep trouble in us all—trouble that we may manage to turn our eyes from . . . until that day when we are shaving or putting on lipstick and suddenly there it is—staring us in the face.

Read the Bible and you'll meet the cast of characters on every page: This great march of humanity. This great parade of sinners. From Adam to Paul, with the exception of Jesus himself, all of them weak and faulty and fallen and frail. All of them in need of a Savior.

And unfortunately, sin is an ongoing predicament. Our susceptibility to it never goes away. That's why Jesus taught his followers to pray, "Lead us not into temptation and keep us from the evil one."

But there is an awesome postscript that comes on the heels of the bad news. It is the good news of Calvary.

Buechner put it this way:

The Gospel is bad news before it is good news. It is the news that man is a sinner . . . that when he looks in the mirror all in a lather what he sees is at least eight parts chicken, phony, slob. That is the tragedy. But it is also the news that he is loved anyway, cherished, forgiven, bleeding to be sure, but also bled for.2

Oh, Lord, how good you are to us, your children. We let you down and still you love us. We fall and you lift us up. Forgive our sins today, Father, and deliver us from the evil one. Amen.


I Will See Your Face

Show the wonder of your great love. . . .

And I . . . will see your face.

Psalm 17:7, 15

HAVE you ever longed to see Jesus? Really see him? These words from my husband's journal describe the day Jesus "showed up" at a high school track meet when Spike was least expecting him.

Saturday, May 3: "The stadium was filled with track teams from all over the state . . . the bright colors of their running clothes like a patchwork quilt spread out in the sun."

Then Spike described a two-mile race in which a large number of runners—the best two from each district in Alabama—competed. He explained that usually there were not large gaps between the finishers, since all were state-qualifying runners.

But for the Alabama School for the Deaf, this was not the case. Their two runners finished dead last, almost a full lap behind the winners. I watched these two strong, handsome teenagers cross the track after the race, eyes downcast in embarrassment. Climbing the steps, they were the essence of broken spirits.

Suddenly, bounding down the steps to meet them came their coach, a plump little man, a good two inches shorter than either boy. As the two runners approached him on the stairs, the first one raised his head and looked at the coach with such an expression of brokenness on his sweating face that I could scarcely bear it, and the second young man actually backed down a couple of steps.

Reaching the first runner, the coach enfolded the boy with an enormous hug. Then looking him directly in the face, he spoke these words very distinctly and loudly: "You did a fine job in running that hard race. I love you and I'm very proud of you!"

The runner looked unblinkingly at his coach's mouth, straining to read the words on his lips. As their meaning gradually dawned, I watched a smile cover his face—a smile that was a joy to see.

The coach then bounded down the steps to where the second runner waited to face criticism. The coach spoke loudly enough for anyone within fifteen feet to hear: "Martin, I'm proud of the race you ran. I told you we could have our best time and we did. I love you and I'm proud to be your coach."

As he turned and accompanied the boys up the steps, patting them all the way, I could see that they were totally transformed, their exhausted bodies straight, their heads held high with renewed strength and confidence.

And so once again I saw him. Jesus. Clothed in green and yellow polyester shorts, with a stopwatch around his neck, coaching deaf runners in Troy, Alabama, in broad daylight for anyone to see.

"I love you and I'm proud to be your coach" is what he said.

Oh, Father, this world so desperately needs to see your Son. Let it be through us. Amen.


A Prayer for Unity

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6

OUR two sons, Curt and Andy, twenty-one months apart in age, were not born with a natural affinity for each other. I guess you could say they were wired differently. They had different kinds of friends and listened to different kinds of music, and by the time they had reached high school, the differences had begun to create a serious rift in what had always been a pretty rocky relationship.


On Sale
Oct 29, 2003
Page Count
256 pages