Go. Speak. Love. Forgive. Receive.


Bird hovering over Wilhelminapier, Rotterdam (Photo: Ina de Visser)

Call to Worship

(inspired by Jonah 3-4)

The word of God came to Jonah.
The word of God comes to us.

Go
despite your fears.

Speak
the truth of God.

Love
your neighbour and your enemy.

Forgive
as you have been forgiven.

Receive
grace upon grace
overflowing from the fullness of God.

 
~ written by Joanna Harader and posted on Spacious Faith.
 


 
From the blog
Theme: Ever sustaining   [prayer sheet]
A very present help in trouble
A prayer to the God of summer
 

Path to forgiveness and healing


Print of Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son at retreat centre, De Spil

 

if my people,
who are called by my name,
will humble themselves
and pray
and seek my face
and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven,
and I will forgive their sin
and will heal their land.

 


 
From the blog
Healing at a cost
Healed from the inside out
Theme: He heals the brokenhearted  [prayer sheet]
 

In the school of prayer with Terry Hinks

 

Here are some extracts on the topic of prayer by Terry Hinks from his introduction to Luke’s Gospel in God’s Embrace: Praying with Luke.

 
 
I’ve also included the prayer inspired by his reflections on the disciples’ request in Luke 11:1, ‘Lord, teach us to pray’.
 


I

Prayer as struggle – “It is likely that as we ‘progress in the spiritual life’, or rather think that we do, we again and again need to become beginners asking ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ …  Again and again we will need to ask the Spirit to stir us from complacency (or despair) and to return us to that persistent determined prayer that Jesus describes in his parables (Luke 11:5-13, Luke 18:1-8), that alertness and strength required for the kingdom life (Luke 21:34-6).”   (p. 25)

II

Prayer as celebration – “Prayer will involve struggle, repentance and lament and will require courage, persistence and humility, but it cannot rest within this sphere alone. It must open out into joyful praise of the one who has done great things, is doing great things here and now and will do great things in the time to come.”   (p. 31)

III

God’s embrace – “We have been trained to analyse, organise, dissect, manipulate and control the reality that we see around us. Yet these tools that are so useful in many areas of life (from scientific research to cake baking) serve us poorly in our relationships with other people, let alone to the divine mystery that created us. Treating everything as an object degrades life. If prayer is the attempt to manipulate and control an object – getting God to do what we want – it will fail. If prayer is a relationship then all kinds of possibilities develop. The aim ceases to be getting God to do something for us; the aim becomes conversation and embrace.”   (p. 35)

IV

A pattern of prayer – “The constant pressure on us is to go for a quick fix in prayer and to fail to recognise the patience and persistence required to wait on God and to listen. Quietening our minds and stilling our bodies is an important part of preparing to pray – that going into your own room and shutting the door that Jesus describes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:6). But prayer is never simply down to us. It is not some anxiety-ridden striving after the Invisible, but a conversation with One who knows our needs and our hearts …  Prayer is a meeting of human boldness – the persistence to continue to speak to God whatever we may feel – and God’s grace – the patient loving kindness of God for us all, come what may.”   (p. 38-9)

 


A prayer

(inspired by Luke 11:1-4)

Lord, teach us to pray
with the whole of our being,
      bodies stilled and centred,
      minds focused on your way,
      hearts warmed by your grace.

Lord, teach us to pray
with the whole of your people,
      connecting to your followers
            of every time and place,
      connecting to your Church in all its varied faces,
      connecting to the world with all its joy and agony.

Lord, teach us to pray
in the power of your Spirit,
      as children of one dear God,
      as brothers and sisters in Christ
      as sinners forgiven and forgiving.

Lord, teach us to pray
      to you,
      in you,
      this moment,
      this life,
      this eternity.

 
~ by Terry Hinks,
from God’s Embrace: Praying with Luke, p. 91
 


From the blog
In the school of prayer with Angela Ashwin
In the school of prayer with the Celtic Saints
In the school of prayer with Eddie Askew
 

All my days and forever


Keeping a low profile: Dandelion verging on the tram rail  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 
 

Surely your goodness and love will follow me
      all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
      forever.

 


God, you are enough

Psalm 23 – a paraphrase

God,
You are enough for us;
      you give us rest in soft fields
            and beside whispering streams;
      you restore and renew us,
            and lead us into life-giving ways;

When death and evil come close to us,
      you carry us through,
            you protect and comfort us;
      when others seek to do us harm,
            your grace uplifts and provides for us
            in public view;
      you fill us with your strength
            and we enjoy overflowing abundance;

We have confidence that your goodness and compassion
            will fill our days,
      and we will stay immersed in your life and presence
            forever.
 
Amen.

 
~ written by John van de Laar, posted on sacradise.com
 


From the blog | More prayers by John van de Laar

In small ways
Theme: Still small voice  [prayer sheet]
Theme: Good shepherd  [prayer sheet]
 

Continually curious

 

A quote by poet and scientist, Lewis Thomas, to inspire us, and a call to worship to further focus our thoughts and prayers.

 


… the loveliest thing about being human

Reality’s ability to continually baffle us with what we don’t yet know, and our willingness to continually plumb the unknown for new truth and beauty, even as it baffles and terrifies us, is the loveliest thing about being alive. Being alive together, as members of this boundlessly inquisitive and imaginative species, is the loveliest thing about being human.

 

 


Call to Worship

We worship the God who inhabits our world
and indwells our lives.
We need not look up to find God,
we need only to look around:
      within ourselves,
      beyond ourselves,
      into the eyes of another.
We need not listen for a distant thunder to find God,
we need only listen to the music of life,
      the words of children,
      the questions of the curious,
      the rhythm of a heartbeat.
We worship the God who inhabits our world
and who indwells our lives.

~ posted on the Presbyterian Church USA website.
 

Continually ever-present


 
 
Wishing you a blessed Holy Week and a joyous Easter.

Benediction

(inspired by Hebrews 10:19-22)

Go in peace, assured that God has heard,
      and will continue to hear your prayers.
Remember that no curtain separates us
      from the presence of the Lord.
Therefore, every table at which you will sit this week,
      be it a school desk,
            a work bench,
            a lunch counter,
            a meeting room table,
            an office desk,
            a board across sawhorses,
            your own kitchen or dining room table;
      every table is God’s altar.
So boldly pray,
      hold fast to hope,
            and encourage and provoke one another
                        to put love into action.
                        Amen.

~ from the Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren website.
 


Holy Week resources from the blog
Windows on Holy Week (2017)
He suffered series (2018)
 

Continue by grace


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 

A prayer

Gracious and Compassionate God,
As we journey through our time of Lent
Our time in deserts and low places
Our time on the mountains and high places
We continue to seek you.

We need you more than ever
in our busyness
our loneliness
our sadness
our depression
our anger
our happiness
our joy
our excitement

We need
your presence
your compassion
your grace
your comfort
your renewal
your healing
your peace
your joy
your love
your salvation

Lord, we are
reminded that
all this is embodied
in your son Jesus
in his life
his death
and his resurrection

and that all
this was freely given
that we may have
abundant life
eternal life
fullness of life
freed lives
loved lives
loving lives
grace giving lives

Come Lord
pour your mercy and grace and love and salvation over us
And for these gifts from you we are grateful.
Amen.

 
~ written by Rev. Abi,
posted on Rev. Abi’s Long and Winding Road blog.
 


From the blog
St Patrick’s Breastplate embodied
First steps
To keep our hearts in tune
 

Courage … with joy


Paper mosaic  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

The writer to the Hebrews tells us that Jesus endured the cross, scorning its shame, “for the joy set before him”. (Hebrews 12:1b-2)

 
John Chrysostom, a great fourth-century preacher in Constantinople, also speaks of joy in connection with our suffering for Christ’s sake:

“When we suffer anything for Christ’s sake, we should do so not only with courage, but even with joy. If we have to go hungry, let us be glad as if we were at a banquet. If we are insulted, let us be exalted as though we had been showered with praises. If we lose all we possess, let us consider ourselves the gainers. If we provide for the poor, let us regard ourselves as the recipients. Do not think of the painful effort involved, but of the sweetness of the reward; and above all, remember that your struggles are for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 


A prayer

Transform our memory, Lord, so that whenever we encounter suffering for your sake, we will recall all the saints who have gone before us whose courage and faith brought us this far. Amen.

from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and Enuma Okoro, p. 193
 

Wait … strong, courageous, stubborn


 
 

Whatever befall, I know this for sure:
      I shall see the goodness of the Lord
            in the land of the living.

So wait for the Lord;
      be strong, be courageous, be stubborn;
      but wait for the Lord.

 
 
excerpt from Psalm 27
from The Lincoln Psalter by the poet, Gordon Jackson
 


From the blog
Change from the inside out
Grow how?
Big strong tree
 

3 More prayers for courage


 
 

Here are 3 brief prayers for courage to aid you in your prayers as you bring your hopes and fears before God.

Note: I’ve called this post 3 More prayers for courage as I already had a post entitled 3 Prayers for courage, posted in September 2020 when the theme of the month was “Threshold”.
 


#1

“Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’
After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side.” (John 20:19-20)

Living God,
You appeared to your disciples in their hour of fear,
and offered them your peace to still their hearts.
May we open our arms
to be living hope in the world today,
bringing peace to those living in fear.
Give us courage to be bold in sharing what we believe;
may we hold firm to your promise of life and hope,
and strive for a new world,
free from poverty, injustice and conflict.

~ from the Monthly Prayers page of the Christian Aid website,
posted on re:worship
 


#2

Eternal God,
you call us to ventures
of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown.
Give us faith
to go out with courage, not knowing
where we go but only that your hand
is leading us,
and your love supporting us.

~ written by Eric Milner White,
posted on Christine Jerrett’s blog
 


#3

(inspired by Luke 24:13-35)

O God, you come to us in unexpected places:
in isolation, behind closed doors;
on dusty roads, as we go from place to place;
in video chats with friends and telephone conversations with loved ones.
You come bringing us peace, where there is no peace.
You come bringing us hope when everything seems hopeless.
You come bringing us courage when we are afraid.
Come and be among us now, in every place where we are.
Open our eyes to see you, open our hearts to know you.
In the name of the Risen Christ we pray.
Amen

~ submitted by Ann Harbridge,
posted on re:worship
 


From the blog
Wilderness encouragement
3 Prayers for refugees
Theme: Still small voice  [prayer sheet]