Treasure for our times


 

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
      he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness.
He will be the sure foundation for your times,
      a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
      the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.

Isaiah 33:5-6 (NIV UK)

 

Let us look to God and humbly pray that these inspired and inspiring words may come true in our times.


A prayer

Holy God:
with the precious jewel
of holy scripture,
you share with us
the treasure of your heart.
Engrave your covenant –
your hopes, your dreams,
your vision, your peace –
upon our hearts,
that they might beat
as one with yours.

Holy Word:
ever clear,
you keep us from wandering
down the wrong paths;
ever longed for,
you make us persistent
in bringing justice
to the lost and to the least;
ever practical,
you show us how
not to misplace our hearts.

Holy Wisdom:
as you breathe the Word
into our hearts,
tutor us in faithfulness
so we are trained
in using the tools
of justice and hope;
so we are equipped
to share the good news with all;
so we become skilled
in compassion and grace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we lift our hearts to you.
as we pray as Jesus teaches us, saying,
Our Father . . .

 
~ written by Thom Shuman, and posted on Lectionary Liturgies


From the blog
Food for thought
Grace upon grace
Theme: Sharing in Jesus’ ministry  [prayer sheet]

“A Good Night’s Sleep” inspirations

 

Do not try to cover more than one good day’s journey at a time.

Ann Siddal, from #15

 

In July/August 2019 I decided it was time to address my struggle to go to bed on time, and I foraged for Bible verses and prayers to help me turn over a new leaf, writing them up in a little booklet I made.

My struggles also inspired a song to share with a group of creatives who might also be trying to do too much and regularly miss out on the benefits of A Good Night’s Sleep. (Follow the link for the lyrics and a recording).

I’m still struggling to go to bed on time, but during this Lenten season I hope to make it my daily practice, drawing on my collection of Bible verses and prayers for inspiration, and maybe adding a few more entries.

I share this resource with you, aware that our struggles with sleep may have different causes but a good night’s sleep will benefit us all.

 
Please feel free to share your own inspirations in the comments.
 


#1

We can rest,
we can sleep,
we can say no to this activity or that invitation,
we can quit the exhausting work of trying to sustain ourselves,
because You never slumber or sleep.
You are faithful always.

O my soul, praise the Lord.

~ by Grace Olsen Claus, posted on re:worship (excerpt)


#2

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again,
because the Lord sustains me.

~ Psalm 3:5


#3

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.

~ Psalm 4:8


#4

In vain you rise early and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat –
for he grants sleep to those he loves.

~ Psalm 127:2


#5

My soul finds rest in God

~ Psalm 62:5


#6

May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us –
yes, establish the work of our hands.

~ Psalm 90:17


#7

All the lands are at rest and at peace;
they break into singing.

~ Isaiah 14:7


#8

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

~ Psalm 91:1


#9

Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.

~ Psalm 116:7


#10

This is the resting-place,
let the weary rest –
this is the place of repose – listen.

~ Isaiah 28:12 (adapted)


#11

In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength.

~ Isaiah 30:15


#12

I am saying this for your own good,
not to restrict you,
but that you may live in a right way
in undivided devotion to the Lord.

~ 1 Corinthians 7:35 (taken out of context, but still valid)


#13

There will be no rest day or night
for those who worship the beast and its image …

~ Revelation 14:11


#14

Lord, you put twenty-four hours in a day,
and gave me a body which gets tired and can only do so much.
Show me which tasks you want me to do,
and help me live prayerfully, as I do them.
Sharpen my senses that I may truly
    see what I am looking at,
    taste what I am eating,
    listen to what I am hearing,
    face what I am suffering,
    celebrate the ways I am loved,
    and off you whatever I am doing,
so that the water of the present moment
    may be turned into wine.

~ by Angela Ashwin, from The Book of a Thousand Prayers, #262


#15

In the footsteps of centuries of pilgrims, go now …
Consider how you may simplify your days,
so that you may travel lightly.
Be alert to all that could side-track you:
notice that which beckons alluringly,
or with apparently greater urgency,
than the pilgrim journey Christ invites.
Do not try to cover
more than one good day’s journey at a time.

Know when to stop for food and sleep,
so that the journey will not be too great for you.
Walk humbly, knowing that the goal
is not recognition, achievement or reward,
but simply to have come to know Christ
and yourself more intimately.
Be on the lookout for other pilgrims,
caring for those who limp, or fall;
those who cannot see the way forward:
pilgrimage is richer in community.
Go now: place your hand
into the outstretched hand of Jesus Christ,
allow the words of the story to guide you,
and pray for purity of heart and mind. Amen.

~ by Ann Siddall, posted on re:worship (adapted)


#16

God with us in our restlessness and wakefullness,
    give us your rest.
God with us in our sleep and calm,
    give us vision of newness.

~ by Meredith Holladay, posted on re:worship (extract)
 

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.