The fruit of lips


A GDR family savours a banana  (Artwork ** by Irene Bom)

 

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.

 


A prayer

Blessing and honour, thanksgiving and praise
more than we can utter,
more than we can conceive,
be unto Thee, O holy and glorious Trinity,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
by all angels, all men, all creatures,
for ever and ever.

 
by Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626)
from The Open Gate by David Adam, p.48
 

A more contemporary/inclusive version of this prayer:

Blessing and honour and thanksgiving and praise
more than we can utter, more than we can conceive,
be to you, most holy and glorious Trinity,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
from all angels, and all people, all creatures
for ever and ever.

from churchofengland.org
 


 
** The photographs used for this collage come from a National Geographic article on the fall of the Berlin Wall. The collage (together with the quote that inspired it) is from a 100-day project on Instagram channel irene.bom, beginning in April 2020.
 

Seed


(Photo: Irene Bom)

 
Reflecting on Jesus’ parable of the sower, Uli Chi writes:

… there are two kinds of uses for seeds.

One use is to make something that can be appreciated and enjoyed for its own sake – for example, grains of wheat ground into flour to make bread. We regularly (and rightly) give thanks for that kind of seed.

But there is another, darker purpose for seeds, one which Jesus focuses on in this parable. That darker work finds its fulfillment not through the seed’s life but through its death.

As Jesus himself says, “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)

[from depree.org]

 


Opening Prayer

(based on Matthew 13:1-9)

O God,
We gather together in Your presence with expectation,
hungry for an encounter with You,
eager to hear Your Word.

Open our eyes and ears to the presence of Your Holy Spirit.
May the seeds of Your Word scattered among us this morning
      fall on fertile soil.
May they take root in our hearts and lives,
      and produce an abundant harvest
      of good words and deeds.

We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ,
our teacher and our Lord.
Amen.

~ by Christine Longhurst, posted on re:Worship
 


 
From the blog
Who do you work for?
Hot-hearted in serving thee
Theme: Called into community  [prayer sheet]
 

All good gifts


 

“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”

 


A litany

All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above,
so we lift our hearts up to you, God,
in praise and thanksgiving.

As we count our blessings, and acknowledge your goodness,
our hearts go out to those who do not have,
and who are in need.

We thank you for plentiful harvests and full refrigerators
and ask that you supply the needs of those who are hungry.

We thank you for jobs that provide for our families
and supply the needs of our society,
and pray that you would care for those who have no work,
or the dignity and purpose it brings.

We thank you for opportunities and choices,
for meaning and challenges,
and pray that you would give a sense of purpose
to those who feel trapped.

We thank you for family and friends who love us and care for us
and pray that you would befriend those who are alone.

The abundance of the harvest
is a symbol of the abundance of your love in our lives.
May we live in a spirit of gratitude to you
and generosity to our neighbour.

Loving God, in this season and all year long,
give to us the gift of a thankful heart,
so that we may acknowledge you as the giver
of all that is good in our lives.

In the name of Jesus we ask it.
Amen.

 
~ from the Presbyterian Church in Canada website,
posted on re:worship in 2012.
 


From the blog
The work of our hands
mud mud mud
The Gift #7 : Traces
 

Open the door, open the window

 

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

 
~ Jesus,  from Revelation 3:20
 


A prayer

O God, You who are always doing a new thing, we confess that we sometimes close windows against the fresh air of new ideas, against the noise of other people’s worries, against the winds of change. God of every place and time, we confess that we often draw the curtains against people who are different, against world news or community concerns. Forgive us our insulation in our locked homes, our shuttered churches, the security systems on our hearts. Open up our lives, and let your Spirit blow through. Amen.

 
~ written by Rev Teri, posted on revgalprayerpals.blogspot.com
 


 
From the blog
Treasure for our times
How good, how pleasant
Embrace the cities and towns
 

3 Prayers for courage


Space separates our bodies, but not our minds | Rotterdam Centraal  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Another post in the 3 Prayer series, to introduce our theme for September: THRESHOLD.

 


#1

O God, you know we are often filled with fear and foreboding.
Give us courage and deepen our trust.
You are a rock which nothing can shatter.
On you we can place the whole weight of our lives.

~ written by Richard Harries,
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #279
 


#2

O Lord, everything fills me with fear and apprehension. Even the smallest commitment has become a huge ordeal in my eyes. I cannot see any hope or purpose in my life. Teach me to go on praying, though my faith seems lost and there is no apparent response. Give me the strength to face one day at a time, and to know that, somehow, you will carry me through. Do not let me become so obsessed with myself that I fail to respond to the needs of others. As I echo the words of Jesus, ‘Let this cup pass from me,’ let me, like him, accept your will – and give me a little of his courage.

~ written by Mary Rose de Lisle,
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #289
 


#3

When I feel threatened
or believe myself to be a failure,
give me courage to enter my still centre,
the place of buried treasure
and sunshine
and solitude
where you are, Lord,
and where it no longer matters
who approves of me
or how successful I am
because you are there,
and, in your presence,
I rediscover the confidence
to be me.

~ written by Angela Ashwin,
from A Little Book of Healing Prayer by Angela Ashwin, #50
 


From the blog
Theme: Do not lose heart   [prayer sheet]
Not deserted
Leaving the desert behind
 

Restless / restore


(Photo: Kate McDonald)

 
If you search on the word rest you’ll discover, as I did, that it appears in all kinds of unrelated words, like interested, forest, wrestling and restore – each word containing a world of meaning of its own.

I like that unrest and restlessness are somehow related, and yet substantially different. Unrest generally has negative connotations, while restlessness has mixed overtones. A holy restlessness and an unholy restlessness are both feasible, but unrest feels far removed from God’s good intentions for us and the world. Still unrest might be a truer reflection of what is going on under the surface, and God has been known to use unrest to bring about necessary change.

Here is a morning prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer that features both restless and restore. In prayer we can bridge the two.
 


Morning prayer

O God,
early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray,
and to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.

In me there is darkness,
but with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
but you know the way for me …

Restore me to liberty,
and enable me so to live now
that I may answer before you and before men.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.
Amen.
 
~ by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, posted on cinchreview.com
 


 
Extra
The photograph was part of a batch that Kate McDonald sent me to accompany the 2017 Holy Week series. It is somehow linked to a small family-owned farm outside Bethlehem, Palestine and their project called Tent of nations.
 

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