Prayers

What Am I

Posted on 2010-04-29. Filed under: Prayers, Quotes |


And what am I, to know
your promises, your mercies, your grace, your love?
Suppose my heart is (as I can only too well believe)
hard, unfruitful, deep, deceitful—is that beyond the power
of the fingers that made the heavens?

O, majestic Lord, you care for me,
you have me in your mind and heart.
In that I rest.
Amen.

– Timothy Dudley Smith, Someone Who Beckons: Readings and Prayers for 60 Days

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Discontent

Posted on 2009-09-17. Filed under: Prayers, Quotes |


Bad will be the day for every man when he becomes absolutely contented with the life he is leading, with the thoughts he is thinking, with the deeds he is doing; when there is not forever beating at the doors of his soul some great desire to do something larger, which he knows that he was meant and made to do because he is still, in spite of all, the child of God.

Phillips Brooks

This reminds me of Psalm 42:7  – “Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls/All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.”

Father, please use me for your purposes. Imbue my life with the calling you have for me and make something valuable from a mistake. Give me strength and stamina to fight towards my destiny. Give me wisdom and clarity to rule over what you have given me. Guide me in the instruction and tending of those you have entrusted to me. Let me leave a legacy for those who come after me. May they be greater than me. Thank you, Father. Amen

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Communion

Posted on 2009-04-27. Filed under: Prayers, Quotes, Thoughts |


What do we really desire? As I try to listen to my own deepest yearning as well as to the yearnings of others, the word that seems best to summarize the desire of the human heart is “communion”. Communion means “union with”. God has given us a heart that will remain restless until it has found full communion. We look for it in friendship, in marriage, in community. We look for it in sexual intimacy, in moments of ecstasy, in the recognition of our gifts. We look for it through success, admiration, and rewards. But wherever we look it is communion we seek….

The desire for communion…is a God-given desire, a desire that causes immense pain as well as immense joy. Jesus came to proclaim that our desire for communion is not in vain, but will be fulfilled by the One who gave us that desire. The passing moments of communion are only hints of the Communion that God has promised us. The real danger facing us its to distrust our desire for communion. It is a God-given desire without which our lives lose their vitality and our hearts grow cold. A truly spiritual life is life in which we won’t rest until we have found rest in the embrace of the One who is the Father and Mother of all desires.

– Henri Nouwen, Here and Now

When I was younger, I thought much of becoming a hermit. Even when I was surrounded by other people, I often behaved as a hermit. I wished for simplicity and relationships seemed to make everything complicated. I wanted my God, my mountain and myself – no more! Over the years, however, I have realized that I can’t be fully me without having relationships. Each person with whom I am in relationship or even just within proximity, brings out a different part of myself. They bring out different aspects of my personality, different methods of expression and different desires. I have come to enjoy the multi-faceted person that I am whom God created this way. As so much of life, just like Donkey said, I’m like a parfait.

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Forgiveness

Posted on 2007-10-31. Filed under: Prayers, Quotes |


More quotage from Shame and Grace:

Forgiving is difficult; this is the first thing we need to know. The second is that the first and often the only person to be healed by forgiveness is the person who does the forgiving. The third thing we need to understand is what we actually do when we forgive someone. Consider forgiveness as a personal drama with five scenes.

Scene One: We blame the shamer.

We hold him or her accountable. If we do not hold people accountable for what they did to us, we will not forgive them. We may indulge them, perhaps, as if it did not matter much, or we may excuse them, as if they could not help doing what they did. But we will forgive them only if we hold them responsible for what they did to us.

Scene Two: We surrender our right to get even.

We take our natural right to a balanced account – a right to fairness, mind you, that is all, only what we deserve – we take it in our hands, look it over,consider its possibilities, and then surrender it. We agree to live with the score untied.

Scene Three: We revise our caricature of the person who shamed us.

When we taste our resentment, we roll it around our minds the way we roll a sour lozenge around our tongues, and, as we taste it, our minds draw a caricature of our shamer. We turn him into a monster who is what he did to us. We see him;  we feel him; we define his whole person in terms of how he shamed us. However, as we move with the forgiving flow, we gradually change our monster back into the weak and faulty human being he is (or was), not all that different from ourselves.

Scene Four: We revise our feelings.

As the frozen tundra of resentment melts, a tendril of compassion breaks through the crust. Sorrow blends with anger. Sympathy softens resentment. We feel emerging in our consciousness a hesitant desire for the other person’s welfare.

Scene Five: We accept the person who made us feel unacceptable.

In the last scene in the drama, we offer our shamer the grace that God has offered us. We not only pardon him; we also accept him. We take him back into our lives as a fellow member of the human family. Chances are that we are not able to restore the special relationship we had before. But if we cannot be reconciled, it will not be our resentment that prevents it.

 —

 After that section, there’s another section which I won’t repeat here. I’ll only write down the headers to remind me.

 Some Advice to Those Who Want to Forgive Their Shamers

  • Try Understanding First
  • Separate What You Can Put Up With From What You Need To Forgive
  • Don’t Be Hasty
  • Don’t Wait Too Long
  • Be Concrete
  • Do Not Wait For Your Shamer To Repent
  • Do Not Forgive Out Of A Sense Of Duty
  • Begin By Pretending If You Need To
  • Settle For Silent Forgiving If You Must

 

Father, please help me to follow this path of forgiveness. Help me learn how to walk in grace. Thank you.

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Jehovah-Rapha

Posted on 2007-10-29. Filed under: Prayers |


Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah. ) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?”

Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”

–Exodus 15:22-26

 

When Moses made the bitter waters sweet with wood, he prefigured your grace, O Cross; for we too have been delivered from the bitterness of evils by your power; therefore as we now greet you lovingly, make us sweet by compunction of soul.

——

I am bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who died for me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
In love and desire.

Pour down upon us from heaven
The rich blessing of Thy forgiveness;
Thou who art uppermost in the City,
Be Thou patient with us.

Grant to us, Thou Saviour of Glory,
The fear of God, the love of God, and His affection,
And the will of God to do on earth at all times
As angels and saints do in heaven;
Each day and night give us Thy peace.
Each day and night give us Thy peace.

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Words

Posted on 2007-10-03. Filed under: Prayers, Quotes, Thoughts |


I read this earlier this week:

The primary means of Creation as well as relationship is the ability to speak, to communicate with words.

An essential gift that God gives man, one that sets him apart from the animals, is the ability to speak and communicate. God, our Father, desires relationship with the ‘children’ He creates, and He places within them the need and desire for relationship with Himself and with one another. The chief means of relationship is communication through the expression of words. Words have the power to create intimacy and unity and to facilitate meeting and fellowship – both with God and with one another.

That is so true. Words are power. As the Bible says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)

I just finished watching Akeelah and the Bee tonight. It reminded me of the power of words in my life. A lot of my early success was due to my ability to use and understand words. And I can remember when my dexterity with words began to slip and how all of a sudden, life became harder.

Words can bring people together and split them apart. Words can heal and hurt. And it isn’t that some people use words to heal others and some people use words to hurt others. No. We all use them for both purposes. As James says, ” With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.” (James 3:9)

I wish that I was able to continually remember the power of words and be able to control my tongue more effectively. Instead, it seems that so much of my life has been spent uttering deceit, curses, lies, threats, flattery, boasting, slander, slurs, accusations, perversity, and mockery. Earlier in that same chapter, James says:

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:6-8)

I’m to the point where I don’t trust my own words or the words of others. I’ve been let down too many times in life by way too many people, including myself. And I could tell myself that perhaps I put too much weight on words, on promises, on commitments, on fleeting comments given in the moment. But how can you overweight something that has the “power of life and death”, something that was used to create all of Creation?

I just realized that I’ve spent a lot of money this year on words, both in provisioning the proper words (in legal agreements) and in protecting our choice of words (with trademarks). So, are some words more valuable than others? Are some words more powerful than others? The world is just too complicated; if that’s the case, how in the hell am I supposed to recognize and know the difference between ineffectual words and words of power? How am I supposed to understand when someone is noncommittally placating me or when they are actually in fervent and genuine agreement? If there’s one thing I would like to proscribe, it’s off-the-cuff remarks. Too often, these words that the speaker proffers without thinking are received weightily by the listener – more weightily than intended.

I think I have a real problem in receiving love because I need love in words AND deeds. I think perhaps that Extreme had it wrong when they sang More than Words. Deeds just aren’t enough in themselves. For me, they need to be reinforced with words – powerful words full of intent and meaning.

Lately, I’ve been very particular in trying to speak and trying to hear. Some people think I’m overly parsing my communication but I am trying to be precise. I guess right now I’m so tired of imprecision, of messiness, of blurriness. I need distinction – clear demarcations between meanings, bright spotlights on the intended meaning.

Maybe that’s just my desire for control showing through. Perhaps I’m trying to control my life and my environment with words. Maybe that’s unhealthy and in rebellion to God. But the Bible says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18) I don’t want my words to be reckless. No, the opposite of reckless is responsible. And if I’m to use responsible words and to be responsible for them, I want them to be correct and accurately reflect my intended meaning.

I don’t know – perhaps I should just heed the Bible where it says, ” When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” (Proverbs 10:19) Maybe if I reduce the amount of words I use, it will reduce the amount of sin in my life. <dunno>

Oh that the words of God would reverberate in my heart, in my mind, in my will and in my spirit. May the words of God remake me into something wonderful for Him. May the words of God reveal to my inner heart His love for me and His will for me. Father, please make your words come to life within me! Wash me in Your words and transform me into someone who is pleasing to You. And fill me with Your words so that they overflow into the lives of those around me. Thank you.

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A Good Prayer

Posted on 2007-09-16. Filed under: Prayers, Quotes |


Daniel 9:15-19

“Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.  O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.

“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.  Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.  O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”

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Unceasing Prayer

Posted on 2007-09-13. Filed under: Prayers, Quotes |


The chapter I read today in Prayer was about Unceasing Prayer. Here are just a couple of quotes:

Besides, steady, faithful communion is in some ways easier than our normal way of praying. It is harder to pray inconsistently than consistently in the same way that it is harder to play a good game of tennis when we practice only once in a while. Do we really think we can experience integration of heart and mind and spirit with an erratic prayer life? Do we really believe we can, like Moses, “speak face to face” with God as someone would a friend by our unpredictable prayers. No, we develop intimacy by regular association. We develop ease as well. Why ease? Because we are forming fixed habits of righteousness. In time these “holy habits” will do their work of integration so that praying becomes the easy thing, the natural thing, the spontaneous thing — the hard thing will be to refrain from prayer.

I am sure you sense the desperate need for Unceasing Prayer in our day. We pant through an endless series of activities with scattered minds and noisy hearts. WE feel strained, hurried, breathless. Thoughts dart in and out of our minds with no rhyme or reason. Seldom can we focus on a single thing for long. Everything and anything interrupt our sense of concentration. We are a distracted people.

Unceasing Prayer has a way of speaking peace to the chaos. WE beign experiencing something of the cosmic patience of God. Our fractured and fragmented activities begin focusing around a new Center of Reference. We experience peace, stillness, serenity, firmness of life orientation.

AMEN!! The chapter goes on to discuss something called aspiratory (or breath) prayer. This is something I’ve done for a long time and didn’t even realize it had a name.

May God remind me throughout the day to speak with Him and may He hear me and know me when I talk with Him!

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Power-Packed

Posted on 2007-09-12. Filed under: Prayers, Thoughts |


I’m getting a new-found respect for the Prayer that Jesus prayed. There’s so much packed into it:

Our Father who art in Heaven,
   Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
   Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
   Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
   As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
   But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power
   And the glory, forever. Amen.

Amen.

 

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. Psalm 107:19-21

 

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Early morning

Posted on 2007-09-11. Filed under: Prayers, Thoughts |


Ahhh – it feels good!

I got some sleep last night and feel better. I don’t even remember falling asleep or honestly how I got into the chair in the first place.

This morning, I’m reminded of so many other mornings in my past that were filled with hope and expectation. The morning is a time to greet the day and the possibilities that exist for THAT day. It is a time to greet God and continue in relationship with Him. It’s a time to greet others and check on them to see how they are and to continue connections with them.

I start work early so I’m used to being the first person up, regardless of who else is in the house I’m in. So, I’m used to being the one making the coffee, turning on any lights, whatever. And I’m used to seeing other people get up after me to start their day – to receive them in fellowship and subdued, calm excitement and expectation.

I miss being able to look forward to starting the day together with someone. There’s a sense that you share the day – that the events of the day are communal and something shared together and will become a memory to look back upon later together (“Do you remember when…?”) These days, I have my day and other people have their day and there may be interactions but each person’s day is a separate day. That truly shows me how different things are now.

There’s just so much space in my life right now. I give space and I need space. I’m adjusting to that. I see God sometimes fills in those spaces with Himself. And for that I am thankful.

And even though there is space, there is still connection. But sometimes the connection is different – perhaps it is stretched or perhaps it is slack with disuse. And these differences can be temporary or permanent, depending on the connection.

I look forward to having a life with connections that are “just right” again – not slack and not overly taut and stretched. I look forward to being able to greet each day with hope and expectation – whether I share that experience with someone else or I am communing alone with God.

Today, I have peace. And it can only come from God. Right now, it’s a thin peace (like a thin sheet of ice on a pond’s surface) with sorrow being still underneath it but not gone at all. Whatever will be, will be. I trust God and know that He wants the best for all people and that includes me.

I cling to Him in the storm. Does clinging to Him show fear or faith? As with most things, that’s not an easy answer. It’s a question of the heart and the answer is dependent on intent. Why do I cling? Is it because of faith in Him or because there’s nothing else to cling to so I just reach out in a blind panic for the first thing I can find to hold onto? That’s a question every person has to answer on their own.

Now, on to start my day.

Father, I need your presence with me today. Allow me to feel your presence with me to remind me that I am not alone and to stave any feelings of despair, desperation or despondency. Please assist me in showing love to others today. Help me live the day so it ends with me having a clear conscience at the end. Thank you – thank you. Amen.

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