Sparks


Road worker on night shift  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Jesus said,

I tell you this:
if you had even a faint spark of faith,
even faith as tiny as a mustard seed,
you could say to this mountain,
“Move from here to there,”
and because of your faith,
the mountain would move.
If you had just a sliver of faith,
you would find nothing impossible.

Matthew 17:20, The Voice

 


A prayer

Hope of the World,
You rise like a shoot from a stump.
You are the Resurrection and the Life,
springing forth from what was dead and forgotten.
You are making all things new.
May Your new life spring inside us
when we are numb from the world’s despair.
May Your new life shine a path for us
when we cannot perceive taking the next step.
May Your hope spark in us like a match struck
that cannot be put out,
and may we shine bright,
for the world desperately needs it.
We pray in the name of Christ,
who is coming.
Amen.

 
— by Rev Mindi and posted on rev-o-lution.org.
 

3 Ancient Prayers


Rome  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

3 prayers from ancients living in the 4th and 5th century to help us keep the faith in 2020.


Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Almighty God,
in whom we live and move and have our being,
you have made us for yourself,
so that our hearts are restless till they rest in you;
grant us purity of heart and strength of purpose,
that no passion may hinder us from knowing your will,
no weakness from doing it;
but in your light may we see light clearly,
and in your service find perfect freedom,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

from 2000 Years of Prayer compiled by Michael Counsell, p. 30
 


John Cassian (360-435)

O God,
be all my love,
all my hope,
all my striving;
let my thoughts and words flow from you,
my daily life be in you,
and every breath I take be for you.
Amen.

from 2000 Years of Prayer compiled by Michael Counsell, p. 34
 


Gregory of Nazianzus (329-89)

Lord, as I read the psalms let me hear you singing.
As I read your words, let me hear you speaking.
As I reflect on each page, let me see your image.
And as I seek to put your precepts into practice,
let my heart be filled with joy.

from 2000 Years of Prayer compiled by Michael Counsell, p. 42
 


 
From the blog
Check out the Index for more posts in the 3 Prayers series
 

A Peace Garden


 

The Lord’s directions for growing a Peace Garden

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. (James 3:18)

– Sow some seeds (hardy ones like mercy and forgiveness)
– Feed them with love.
– Sprinkle them with truth.
– Weed them every day.
– Give them room to grow.
– Wait.
– Share the goodness with everyone you know.

 
by Anne Osdieck, and posted on The Center for Liturgy Sunday website.
 

Bright and beautiful


(Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Did you know? Cecil Frances Alexander’s hymn, “All things bright and beautiful” (published in 1848), was inspired by the words, Maker of heaven and earth, from the Apostle’s Creed. I’ve included the lyrics and a video below.

But first, an intergenerational story of creation (Genesis 1-2) from the Kairos Canada website told in gestures and words. May it brighten up your day.

 

The Story of Creation

In the beginning, the world was dark, and there was no shape.
(Put hands over eyes and shake head “no.”)

God moved over the water.
(Move arms left to right in front of body.)

Then God spoke and said, “Let there be light.”
(Cup hands around mouth.)

And there was light!
(Arch hands over head like you are making a big sun.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make a “thumbs up” sign.)

God separated the day from the night.
(Push arms away from sides of body.)

God separated the heavens from the earth.
(Push one arm up and one arm down vertically away from body.)

God separated the water from the land.
(Push arms away from front of body as if pushing something away from you.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign.)

God made plants to grow.
(Squat down, put hands and arms together over your head, and slowly stand upward and reach high.)

God made the stars at night.
(While hands are still high over head, open hands and fingers wide, and wiggle fingers.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign.)

God made the fish in the sea, and the birds in the air.
(Put hands together, fingers closed, and move them like a fish tail swimming; then put arms out at sides and flap like a bird.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign.)

God made animals on the land.
(Let children imitate different animals they know–bunnies hopping, dogs barking, etc.)

And God said, “This is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign.)

Then God made people in God’s own image.
(Smile and point to self, then look to heavens.)

God said to the people, “Take good care of my world!”
(Point finger and shake it in front, as if shaking it at someone.)

And God said, “This world is good!”
(Make “thumbs up” sign and have all say “This is Good!”)

 
~ posted on KAIROS Water Worship Service and on re:worship

 


 

All things bright and beautiful
by Cecil Frances Alexander

Refrain:
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flow’r that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple-headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

 


 
From the blog

Prayer sheet: Part of creation
A new nature
Summer-friendly spiritual practices
 

3 Prayers for my soul


Bumble bee feasting on catnip, Wydale Hall, Yorkshire  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Addressing “my soul” is common practice in the psalms. Here are some examples:

Psalm 42:5
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
      Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
      for I will yet praise him,
      my Saviour and my God.

Psalm 57:8
Awake, my soul!
      Awake, harp and lyre!
      I will awaken the dawn.

Psalm 103:1
Praise the Lord, my soul;
      all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Psalm 116:7
Return to your rest, my soul,
      for the Lord has been good to you.
 


To supplement your soul-speak, here are three prayers to engage and nourish your soul.


Pierce My Soul with Your Love

 
Lord Jesus Christ,
pierce my soul with your love
so that I may always long for you alone,
who are the bread of angels
and the fulfillment of the soul’s deepest desires.

May my heart always hunger and feed on you,
so that my soul may be filled with sweetness in your presence.

May my soul thirst for you,
who are the source of life, wisdom, knowledge, light
and all the riches of God our Father.

May I always seek and find you,
think about you, speak to you
and do everything for the honour and glory of your name.

Be always my hope, my peace, my refuge and help
in whom my heart is rooted
so that I may never separate from you.

 
written by Bonaventure, 13th century, posted on re:worship
 


Expecting Miracles

 
Dear Lord,
Help me to expect miracles.
Help me to get past the borders of my eyes,
the roadblocks of my mind,
the narrow door of my heart.
May my soul embrace
the mystery of Your magnificent love!
May my heart rejoice
over the unexpected and undefined!
May my mind and body sigh
with the sheer awe of it all. Amen.

 
by Leonard Sweet, posted on Preach the Story.
 


Devoted to You

“Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.”  (Psalm 86:2)

 
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul:
Guard my life, O Lord, for I am devoted to you;
Guard my heart, O Father, for I love you with all my choices;
Guard my mind, O Jesus, for I fix my thoughts on following you;
Guard my body, O Spirit, for I give it to be your temple;
Guard my relationships, O Trinity,
      for I centre my conversations on you.
Hear my prayer, O Lord.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul:
I offer my eyes to you, O Lord, to behold your beauty;
I offer my lips to you, O Father, to speak your praises;
I offer my ears to you, O Jesus, to listen to your words;
I offer my steps to you, O Spirit, to follow your movements;
I offer my life to you, O Trinity, to honour you alone.
Hear my prayer, O Lord.

 
by Bill & Kristi Gaultiere, posted on Soul Shepherding
 


 
From the blog
Check the index for more prayers in the “3 Prayers” series, and much more besides.
 

Guest post: Reflections on the word ’embrace’


“to love and to cherish” by Ian Evans-Boiten   (Photo by Willem Wilstra)
 

On the Feast of Pentecost 2019 I (Irene) was privileged to take part in the dedication service of a Christian retreat in the south of France, Colomba le Roc. Located a few kilometers from the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, Colomba le Roc is run by Rev Joanne Evans-Boiten and her husband, Ian. Here Joanne shares some reflections on the word “embrace”.

Joanne writes,

A few years ago I was asked to do a talk about my experiences as a pilgrim on the way to Santiago.

No talk nowadays is complete without plenty of pictures and so I chose some photographs taken on my journey. However, I missed a suitable illustration to express the welcome I had felt at times, particularly in moments of difficulty. So I looked on the web and googled “welcome, pilgrim”.

One photograph in particular stood out. It was of a man, arms wide open and a big smile on his face. The picture did not just say “welcome”. It said “Welcome. I am so glad you are here – I have been waiting for you.”

To me, that is what the word “embrace” is about in the first place: arms wide open as a sign of welcome. A welcome that is as non-judgmental, as loving, as that of the Father in the parable of the prodigal son. (Luke 15:11-32)

But these same arms are also cherishing arms that protect; arms like the wings of a mother hen who covers her chicks when they are in danger and who is willing to give her life so that they may live.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

 
 
Celtic Christians used circling prayers as reminders of God’s protecting embrace. This prayer by David Adam from his book, Tides and Seasons, was written in that tradition:

Dressing Prayer

This day I bind around me
The power of the Sacred Three:
The hand to hold,
The heart to love,
The eye to see,
The Presence of the Trinity.

I wrap around my mortal frame
The power of the Creator’s name:
The Father’s might, His holy arm,
To shield this day and keep from harm

I cover myself from above
With the great Redeemer’s love.
The Son’s bright light to shine upon me,
To protect this day to eternity

I pull around me with morning light
The knowledge of the Spirit’s sight.
The Strengthener’s eye to keep guard,
Covering my path when it is hard.

This day I bind around me
The power of the Sacred Three

by David Adam, from Tides and Seasons: Modern prayers in the Celtic tradition, p. 11

 
May God’s embrace empower us too to welcome and protect those who need it most.
 


 
From the blog
Circle me, Lord
In the school of prayer with the Celtic Saints
Up to us
Welcome ~ embrace
 

The Spirit does wonders


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13 (NIVUK)

 


Prayer to God, the Spirit

O God,
You are Spirit;
You are wind;
You are breath.

You meet us in the wonders of creation,
in the awe of wonderful things,
in the terror of fearful things.
You blow among the fallen leaves,
the broken branches,
the whining pain
and the whirlwinds of delight.

Your wind gently touches our brow
with comfort and caress;
your forgiveness raises us to life;
your challenge disturbs our tidy piles
and spreads opportunities before our eyes.

Gentle Spirit, breathe on us your life.
Strong Spirit, open our closed doors to your compassion;
Universal Spirit, inspire us to sing and sigh for justice;
Spirit of Jesus, teach us to walk,
to work, to pray, to live, to love,
your way.

Awaken our dreams,
expand our visions,
heal us for hope,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

 
written by William Loader and posted on www.staff.murdoch.edu.au
 


From the blog
Rejoice in the Lord always (Prayer sheet)
Take heart
3 Prayers to the Sacred Trinity