Life

“They suffer painfully; their life is full of trouble” (Job 14:22; NLT).

I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me (Psalm 16:8; 8; NLT).

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10; NLT).


Father,
Life is hard,
So we look for ways
Of trying to avoid
Our suffering –

Over-eating,
Smoking,
Alcohol,
And drugs;

Mindless entertainment,
Endless acquisition,
Pornography,
And promiscuity –
An endless list.

But, Lord,
If only we would face
Our challenges with you,
We could reduce
Our desperate need
For all these soul-destroying things,
And have life to the full –
No matter what it brings.

Wait patiently

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him (Psalm 37:7; NIV).

God is light (1 John 1:5; NLT).

God is love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

For the LORD your God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; NIV).

Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign LORD (Zephaniah 1:7; NLT).


It’s difficult
To relax my body,
As I wait patiently
For your light –

Please help me, Lord.

It’s difficult
To calm my mind,
As I wait patiently
For your love –

Please help me, Lord.

It’s difficult
To open my heart,
As I wait patiently
For your fire –

Please help me, Lord.

And it’s difficult
To unlock my soul,
As I wait patiently
For your presence –

Please help me, Lord.

Through Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Life

“For God watches how people live; he sees everything they do” (Job 34:21; NLT).

“Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him (Matthew 9:9; NLT).

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36; NIV).

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10; NLT).


Lord,
You create us in your image,
Then step aside,
To let us get on
With our lives.

But you watch –
To see if we will search for you,
Listen to your voice,
And seek your face.

You wait –
To see if we will follow your Son,
Who comes to set us free,
And give us life to the full.

Contemplation

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him (Psalm 37:7; NIV).

Be silent before the Lord, all humanity (Zechariah 2:13; NIV).

God is light (1 John 1:5; NLT).

God is love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

Bring your offering and come into his presence (1 Chronicles 16:29; NLT).

Lord,
As I prepare
For contemplation,
I sometimes ask myself
How it can possibly work –

This way of seeking you
By being still,
Sitting in silence,
And waiting patiently?

Yet, almost every time,
It brings me to your light,
Your love, and your presence –
So I guess it works just fine!

Our hearts

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7; NIV).

“For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on” (Luke 21:4; NLT).

We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born (Ecclesiastes 5:15; NLT).

Lord,
You’re not dazzled
By designer-label clothes,
Or disgusted
By filthy rags.

You’re not impressed
By generous donations,
Or disappointed
By deep poverty.

For you look only at our hearts,
And to you we are all
Naked and empty-handed –
As on the day we were born.

Face to face

For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being (Job 12:10; NLT).

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12; NRSV).


Lord,
In contemplation,
As throughout my life,
Each breath I take
Comes straight from you,
And brings me nearer
To your presence –
Until I see you,
Face to face,
At last.

Heaven and hell

Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? (Job 2:10; NIV).

Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38; NLT).

…I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever (Psalm 23:6; KJV).

If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God (Isaiah 50:10; NLT).


Lord,
Our lives include experiences
Of heaven –
And hell.

Please help us
To face them all
With you,

So we can dwell in your house,
And trust in your love –
No matter what life brings.

Through Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Thoughts, words, and deeds

Lord,
Please help me today
To notice my judgemental thoughts,
So I can hold them in check,
Changing them to blessings
Instead. 

Lord,
Please help me today
To know when I’m about to speak hurtfully,
So I can hold my words in check,
Finding something positive to say,
Instead.

And, Lord,
Please help me today
To stop myself from doing anything unkind,
Holding my impulses in check,
Then offering help,
Instead.

Through Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Naked and empty-handed

We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born (Ecclesiastes 5:15; NLT).

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26; NLT).

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12; NLT).


Lord,
We are naked
And empty-handed
Before you,
Every day –

Men and women,
Young and old,
Rich and poor,
Sick and well –

Yet you love us all
So much,
For we are
Your children.

The gift of prayer

The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth (Proverbs 12:22; NLT).

He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do (Psalm 33:15; NLT).

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15; NLT).


Lord,
Thank you
For the gift
Of prayer.

I’m glad
You don’t want me
To tell you what I think
You want to hear.

I’m glad
You don’t want me
To beat myself up,
Or tear myself apart
Before you.

You just want me
To be truthful with you
About my feelings,
Thoughts,
Words,
And deeds –
However shameful
They may be.

What’s more,
You understand
My weaknesses,
And help me learn
To face, and understand,
Myself.

So, Lord,
I’d like to thank you
For the gift
Of prayer.

Through Jesus’ name,
Amen.