God we praise you for your compassionate heart. Give us the relentlessness of the good shepherd who goes after wandering sheep and never gives up. Protect us by your Holy Spirit from being easily discouraged and grant us the spiritual strength to endure the hardships we face. Please deliver us from a sour compulsive nature to envy others and resist your will. Save us from a life of pretense and guard us from using religion as a mask to cover up our resistance to the claims of Jesus Christ on our lives. Father God, please help us during the seasons of grief and loss that we may endure to know that your Son lives, and that in him sorrow can never have the final word. We pray all this in the name of Jesus and for his sake, Amen.