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A Prayer for When We Fail

john 10:10, dwell, dwell differently, scripture memory, bible verse art, temporary tattoo, jen oshman, natalie abbott, prayer



Last week we learned about our enemies.  

We talked about the thief in our verse as well as the hired hand and the wolf in the greater context of John 10 (read more here). To summarize, those enemies are any and all things that point to something other than Jesus, the Good Shepherd, to save us. Like Jesus says in our verse, he has come to give us life, and life to the full. But we have this constant temptation to try and find life in other places, to rely on ourselves and our successes to give us life instead of Jesus. However, the promise of our own perfection never delivers. Instead, we live under the pressure of success and the disappointment of our inevitable failures.  However, there is one place where we can go with our failures. It’s the place where full life is found. We can always go to Jesus with our shortcomings and our needs, and he will always give us forgiveness and freedom, peace and life—life to the full. He exchanges his success and perfection for our lack and failure. He replaces the pressure and anxiety we feel in our striving to measure up with the peace of knowing he measured up for us. 

So, confess your mess and rely on Jesus. 

Prayer is the right place to go with our failures. And on this week’s podcast, Jen Oshman shares a beautiful confessional prayer. You can listen to it on the Dwell Differently podcast when it releases this Thursday (if you aren’t subscribed yet, take a minute to subscribe to the Dwell Differently podcast now so you don’t miss it!). But for now, and for posterity, I wanted to give it to you. It’s a prayer she regularly prays in the morning for her daughters, a confession of our need for help, rooted firmly in the good news of who our God is. See if it doesn’t resonate with you like it did with me:

"Lord, we need you. You made the sun come up this morning, we didn’t. You put the breath in our lungs, we didn’t. Lord, we’re gonna fail today. We’re gonna mess up. We’re gonna be tempted to gossip, we’re gonna be tempted to put our identity in making the team, or making the grade, or making the play. God, please just help us. Help us root out identity in you. Remind us that you made us, and you love us unconditionally, and that will never change. We will never be snatched out of your hand. We’ll never sin so badly that you’ll reject us, or make a mistake that’s so ugly that you’ll be ashamed of us. There’s just so much security in the abundant life that comes through you, Jesus. And that will never ever change. And so, we can walk in confidence that you, our God, will never leave us and never forsake us. And that’s the only thing in this world that’s true. There’s nothing else that will always be true and that will never disappoint. That’s the one thing. So, help us cling tightly, help us fix our eyes on Jesus, because he’s not going to change and he’s not going to reject us. Amen."

And amen. 

This prayer from Jen Oshman not only puts words to our failures and our need, but it also affirms the abundant life Jesus promises us in himself. His love will never change, his acceptance and care will never falter or fail. He is where the joy and the beauty and the goodness are. This is the promise that our verse holds for us: Jesus came so that we might have life, and have it to the full. And when we trust in him, when we exchange our failures with his perfection, this is exactly what we get.

In what ways do you measure your life by your successes and failures?

How is it freeing to know that you can rely on Jesus’s perfections instead of your own?

Thanks for reading,


Natalie Abbott Bio

Meet Natalie,Dwell co-founder

Hi there, I'm Natalie. I'm so glad you're here. I'd love to connect with you and hear more about what God is doing in your life!


Who Is the Thief? // Natalie Abbott

Spoiler alert: in today’s episode, Natalie Abbott shares how she misunderstood this verse for a long time, and she’s wondering if you might be in the same boat! Listen in as Natalie walks us through the context of this month’s verse, John 10:10, and helps us see how it fits into the big picture of the Bible, what it tells us about who God is, and what it tells us about who we are. We pray this will encourage you as you follow Jesus today and walk in the abundant life he offers!



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