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]

In times like these

 

At the height of World War II Albert Camus wrote,

“We must mend what has been torn apart, make justice imaginable again in a world so obviously unjust, give happiness a meaning once more.”

 

Let us keep praying, till justice rolls “on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24)

 


Repenting and lamenting in times like these

You are the God who hears:
hear our prayer today for all who lament or repent.

For those among us who face discrimination every day
because of their skin colour,
we lament.

For those among us with white skin who benefit
from racist systems sometimes even without realizing it,
we repent.

For those among us who have struggled and waited so long
for the Promised Land of freedom and equality,
we lament.

For those among us who have acted in racist ways
and have hurt people of colour,
we repent.

For those protesting injustice who face police brutality
and a justice system rigged against them,
we lament.

For those who think racism is someone else’s problem,
and not a problem for humanity,
we repent.

God of hope, show us how to work for justice together,
standing up for what is right,
stepping in when something’s wrong,
shouldering each other’s burdens,
holding each other accountable,
righting the wrongs we’ve done,
speaking truth to power.

We pray for change, lasting change,
for protection for protesters,
for a de-escalation of violence
and for government leaders who listen.

Deliver us from evil, within and without,
in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen

 
~ written by Carol Penner and posted on Leading in Worship.
 


From the blog
Interpreting the times
Not deserted
Protection for hearts and minds
 

3 Prayers while waiting


 
 
In Psalm 27:13-14 the psalmist says:
 

I remain confident of this:
      I will see the goodness of the Lord
      in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
      be strong and take heart
      and wait for the Lord.

 

Here are three prayers to keep your heart centred on God while waiting – whether in joyful anticipation, frustration or dread.

 


#1

Now is the time, let us pause.
As we wait, may we hear the voice of God.

Now is the time, let us watch.
In our homes, at our work, even while waiting in line —
may we see the face of Christ.

Now is the moment, let us prepare our hearts.
In our words, in our hearts, in all we say and do —
may God’s extravagant love shine through.

 
~ written by Rev. Nancy J, posted on re:worship
 


#2

In the depths of my being
      I become quiet and still;
I wait for you, my God,
      source of my salvation

~ written by Jim Cotter,
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #604
 


#3

When nothing is right,
when we are weary and lost,
when clouds dull the sky,
help us to be still.

When our cries are unheeded,
when no effort bears fruit,
when the sun sets,
help us to be still.

When love is over,
when hope is gone,
when darkness covers the land,
help us to be still.

For in being still,
in refusing to panic or despair,
we shall come to know that God is there,
suffering alongside and with us,
waiting to show us stepping-stones through the swirling waters,
and to help us sing a new song.

 
~ written by Kate Compston, posted on re:worship
 


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

The empty cup

 

Meditation on the cup of emptiness

Hold the empty cup in your hands.
Look at all the room the cup has for filling.
Picture the inner part of yourself.
Notice how much room there is for filling.
Hold the cup out before you in the gesture of a beggar.
Ask God to fill you.
Arise, go and slowly pour something in your cup (coffee, tea, water).
Come back and sit down.
Receive and enjoy the contents of the cup.

 
excerpt from The Cup of Our Life: A Guide for Spiritual Growth by Joyce Rupp, found on spiritualityandpractice.com
 


A prayer

God help us to live slowly:
To move simply:
To look softly:
To allow emptiness:
To let the heart create for us.
Amen
 
by Michael Leunig
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #624
 


 
From the blog
From a grateful heart
Wonder-full psalm
From parched to satisfied
 

Make space: release and receive


Schouwburgplein, Rotterdam, after the rain (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

An evening prayer

Gracious God,
We place ourselves in your presence.
Our minds and our spirits are cluttered.
Help us make space for you.
Help us to be fully present here, now.

We release to you all that we have done today –
whether for good or for ill.

We release all that we feel like we should have done today,
but did not do.

We release all of the people
who weigh on our hearts and minds this evening.

We release our fears.
We release our anxiety.
We release our impatience.
We release our pride.

All of the thoughts,
all of the feelings that pull us away from you, O God,
we release.

[silence]

And now with open hearts
we receive what you offer us now:

We receive the gift of this space and this time.
We receive the gift of being with each person here.
We receive the Holy Spirit’s presence within us
for guidance and healing.
We receive the sacred words that will be spoken and thought.
We receive the holy touch of hand and heart.
We receive the silence.
We receive the music.

Fill us now with the peace of your deep, abiding presence.
We offer all of ourselves to you,
our One God, Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer.
Amen
 
 
~ written by Joanna Harader, and posted on Spacious Faith.
 


 
From the blog
Evening prayer #1 ~ written by St Augustine of Hippo
Evening prayer #2 ~ attributed to St Patrick
Evening prayer #3 ~ written by Dag Hammarskjöld
 

A holy space


A “Black Lives Matter” protest march, Rotterdam, June 2020 (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

“All life is a parable … listen to it.”
Frederick Buechner, from a Rewrite Radio podcast

 
 
As humanity reels from one crisis to another, let us pay attention to what God is saying to us in and through the particulars of our lives and our times.
 


Clear a Holy Space

inspired by Isaiah 11: 1-10

Laboring God,
with axe and winnowing fork
you clear a holy space
where hurt and destruction have no place,
and a little child holds sway.
Clear our lives of hatred and despair,
sow seeds of joy and peace,
that shoots of hope may spring forth
and we may live in harmony
with one another. Amen.

~ from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers
 


From the blog
Healing at a cost
Grace notes
In the school of prayer with Ignatius of Loyola (featuring The Examen)
 

Small beginnings

 

Some things start small and grow over time. Maybe the best things.


The Gift

This time 3 years ago I was working on 12 prayer poems for my series on the Holy Spirit which I entitled The Gift.

You might like to revisit the series as Pentecost 2020 approaches.

 
There’s also a PDF booklet available containing all 12 prayer poems and the verses that inspired them.
 


Prayer-Poems

After completing the series, I wrote the blog post, On Writing Prayer-Poems. This post continues to attract readers in increasing numbers: 18 views in 2017; 36 in 2018; 212 in 2019 and 129 and counting this year.

Prayer-poems are a great way to engage with Scripture. You could make it an online group activity, reflecting on Scripture together, writing and sharing and giving feedback in the group and later sharing your creations with others.
 


Thy Kingdom Come

Don’t forget, Thy Kingdom Come 2020 starts on Thursday.

During the 11 days of Thy Kingdom Come it is hoped that everyone who takes part will:

  • Deepen their own relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Pray for 5 friends or family to come to faith in Jesus
  • Pray for the empowerment of the Spirit that we would be effective in our witness

This year’s theme is “The Father’s Love”.

Download the app on your phone (android | iPhone & iPad) or print out the PDF prayer journal from the website.
 

In small ways


(Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’ (Matthew 17:20)

 

A prayer by John van de Laar to engage your faith, and information about Thy Kingdom Come for your prayerful consideration.

 
 

Stay safe. Stay safe. Stay safe.

 


A Prayer

We may not be able to confront queens,
    or challenge presidents;
We may not have the capacity to divert resources,
    or uplift communities;
We may not have the voice to silence the noise of war,
    or the words to negotiate peace between armies;
But, as we follow you, O Christ, we are able to do something.

And so, we pray that you would inspire us
    to commit to and act on
        the small difference we can make:
May we bring peace
    through small acts of gentleness
        and reconciliation;
May we bring wealth
    through small contributions
        and collaborations;
May we bring safety
    through small acts of consideration
        and acceptance;
May we bring wholeness
    through small acts of care
        and service.

And in the small ways, O God,
    may our small difference make a big contribution
        to your saving work in our world.

Amen.

 
— written by John van de Laar, posted on Sacredise.com
 


Thy Kingdom Come: 21 to 31 May 2020

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray from Ascension to Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus.

Check out the website for more information on how you and your church can be involved. Resources available include a personal daily prayer journal and materials for families.
 


 
From the blog
Sparks
History matters
Interpreting the times
 

St Patrick’s Breastplate embodied

This is an embodied prayer based on St Patrick’s Breastplate – a prayer of protection from the 5th century. It’s adapted from the kneeling version featured in Sue Wallace’s book, Multi-Sensory Prayer.

I commend it as a spiritual practice, especially when you feel overwhelmed.


St Patrick’s Breastplate

Christ be with me
Christ before me
Christ behind me
Christ within me

Christ beneath me
Christ above me
Christ on my right side
Christ on my left side

Christ in quiet
Christ in danger
Christ in the mouth
of a friend or a stranger
 


See also the blogpost, Circle me, Lord.
 

Turn to the light


Rotterdam at twilight  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Here is a prayer inspired by Phos Hilaron — the earliest Christian hymn (outside of the Bible), dating from the 3rd or 4th century. Known as the “Lamp-lighting hymn,” it was traditionally sung as the evening lamps were lit.
 
May this prayer, inspired by those ancient words, give us words and inspiration as we to turn to God, our Gladsome Light, especially “in times of stress, fear, and grief, in times of blindness, temptation, danger, and perdition”.

 
 


Twenty-first Century Phos Hilaron

O God, who is light in the darkness,
      we pray for those among us who in the night hours work their shifts,
            or those who labor in places where light is dim.
Be for them and for us protection in the dark.

O God, who is the bright morning star,
      we pray for those among us who grieve the loss of loved ones,
            the tarnishing of innocence,
            the failing of health,
            the flight of security.
Be for them and for us a sure defense and the promise of a new day.

O God, who is sight to the blind,
      we pray for those among us whose eyes are clouded,
      who are blind in soul, mind, or body.
Be for them and for us both courage and sight.

O God, who is strength to the besieged,
      we pray for those among us who are beset by temptation,
            those who are in danger,
            those whose enemies are close and whose help seems far away.
Be for them and for us a present fortress against our foes.

O God, who is salvation to the lost,
      we pray for those among us who have never found your way,
            or who, having found it, have strayed from your path.
Be for them and for us the beacon that guides safely home.

O God who is comfort to the fearful,
      we pray for those among us who live in fear of threats real or imagined,
            whose lives are torn by war,
            whose thoughts are confused by mental illness,
            whose souls and bodies are ravaged by abuse.
Be for them and for us consolation and surety against anxiety.

Give us wisdom, O God, to turn to you in times of stress, fear, and grief,
      in times of blindness, temptation, danger, and perdition.
Grant us patience to wait for you,
      and courage to be strong in your might,
            through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 
~ posted on the Brummhart Publishing website
 


Phos Hilaron in word and song