18.9.22: The healing process


Context: Yesterday I woke very early, and saw that God lives in my unconscious mind, waiting and longing to heal me.

Healing is a lifelong process. It means slowly becoming conscious of all that is hidden in the darkness of my unconscious mind, so I can change and grow.

I can encourage this process by:

  • Seeking God
  • Waiting on God 
  • Praying constantly 
  • Listening to God
  • Learning from God
  • Practicing God’s presence

Slowly, slowly, God reveals to me all the damage that lives on in my inner darkness, bringing it into the light of consciousness, so it can be healed. This includes the psychological consequences of the trauma, bullying, coercive control and abuse I suffered throughout my childhood, and far beyond.

I can share in this process by:

  • Opening myself to all God uncovers and reveals to me
  • Facing what I am shown
  • Accepting it
  • Cooperating with God’s healing
  • Learning from from what God tells me
  • Working to change how I feel, think, speak and behave

As God helps me to change and grow, I become more whole as a person, and therefore just a tiny bit more like Christ.

There is no deeper or more complete healing than God’s inner healing.

The Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18; NLT).


References 

Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes (Ephesians 4:23; NLT). 

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5; NIV).

I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you (Ezekiel 36:26; NLT). 

He renews my strength (Psalm 23:3; NLT). 

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

As we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world (1 John 4:17; NLT). 

This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ (Ephesians 4:13; NLT).

The Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18; NLT). 

We will be like him (1 John 3:2; NLT). 

16.9.22: Light and darkness (with thanks to KB)

Context: This blog arrived yesterday morning, whilst I was exchanging messages with a friend. It simply formed in my mind as I began to respond. By the time I had put it into words, I realised I needed to hold on to what I had written, so I copied and pasted it into my spiritual diary. Here is the result:

You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light (2 Samuel 22:29; NLT).

Lord, you are light, and you live in the darkness of my unconscious mind (see reference #1).

Constantly present there, you move mysteriously in the depths, patiently revealing, insight by insight, all that is hidden within me, especially all that needs healing (2).

As long as I keep on searching, waiting, looking, listening, learning, changing and growing, you keep on revealing more and more, slowly bringing everything about me into the light (3). 

Through this life-long process, you are healing all the physical, mental and emotional damage caused by my abusive childhood (4).

Thank you so much for everything you show me, Lord, for all your love, help, and healing.

I offer this prayer through your dear Son’s name.

Amen.


References

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

Clouds and thick darkness surround him (Psalm 97:2; NIV).

He shrouded himself in darkness (2 Samuel 22:12; NLT). 

2. We are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (2 Corinthians 6:16; NLT).

You cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things (Ecclesiastes 11:5; NLT). 

He knows the secrets of every heart (Psalm 44:21; NLT). 

He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness (Daniel 2:22; NLT).

3. Moses approached the thick darkness where God was (Exodus 20:21; NLT).

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened (Luke 11:9-10; NLT). 

4. I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26; NLT).

I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name (Isaiah 45:3; NLT).

Victims and oppressors

Context: When I read or hear about the dreadful things we human beings do to one another, I pray for those who have been made to suffer. If they are alive, I ask God to heal them. If they are dead, I pray for their souls, knowing that God heals and blesses them in heaven.

Next, I pray for all who are affected by the harm that has been done to someone they love. I ask God to comfort and strengthen those who are now anxious, distressed, or bereft, as a result of the wrong that has been done.

After this, I ask God to support everyone who tries to help those who have been victimised. This includes, for example, health workers, the police and the justice system.

Lastly, I pray for those who have abused, hurt, or killed others. I ask God to help them face and take responsibility for what they have done, to repent, and to change for the better.

And today’s blog grew out of this practice:

I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless (Ecclesiastes 4:1; NLT). 

I pray for victims and oppressors:
Lord, please help them all.
I pray for victims and abusers:
May they hear your call.

I pray for victims and transgressors:  
May they turn to you,
Accept your love, be reconciled,
And start their lives anew.

I pray for victims and aggressors:
Yahweh, heal them all.
I pray for victims and attackers:
May they hear your call.

I pray for victims and their killers:
Lord, mend all that mars
Your perfect image in us all:
Please heal our wounds and scars. 

Humankind was created as God’s reflection: in the divine image God created them; female and male, God made them (Genesis 1:27; TIB). 

I am the LORD who heals you (Exodus 15:26; NLT).

He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
(Psalm 147:3; NLT). 

The flood

Context: Recently, I’ve been thinking about the flood narrative in Genesis, which illustrates the disastrous consequences of sinful, human behaviour:

YHWH saw the great wickedness of the people of the earth, that the thoughts in their hearts fashioned nothing but evil. YHWH was sorry that humankind had been created on earth; it pained God’s heart. YHWH said, “I will wipe this human race that I have created from the face of the earth – not only the humans, but also the animals, the reptiles, and the birds of the heavens. I am sorry I ever made them” (Genesis 6:5-7; TIB). 

So God sent a great flood to wipe out all living things:

For forty days the flood continued… The waters rose so high over the earth that all the high mountains under heaven were covered… All life on the earth perished – birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures, and all humankind (Genesis 7:17-21; TIB).

The TIB translation includes an interesting scholarly footnote for this passage:

“Some commentators feel the story of the Flood speaks of the ending of the last ice age, when the melt from the receding glaciers raised the sea level high enough to submerge much of what had before been dry land.”

The Biblical flood story is usually seen as being safely in the past, but it recently occurred to me that it can also be understood as a prophecy, for as global warming melts the polar ice-caps, similarly catastrophic flooding is becoming inevitable.

Of course, some readers may rightly point out that after the flood God promised never to cause such terrible destruction again (Genesis 8:21; TIB). However, modern climate change is not an act of God. Rather, it is caused by human over-exploitation of finite earthly resources. The causes and consequences of global warming are therefore ours alone, as we move ever further from our original commission to, “cultivate and care for the land” (Genesis 2:15; TIB). 

So, flowing from these reflections, here is today’s prayer:

From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed.
(Jeremiah 6:13; NLT). 

Lord,

How can you bear our wastefulness?
How can you bear our greed?
How can you bear our selfishness?
How can you bear our hate?

How can you bear our ignorance?
How can you bear our pride?
How can you bear our foolishness?
You weep in us all, and wait. 

How can you bear our bitterness?
How can you bear our strife?
How can you bear our wickedness?
How can you bear our sin?

How can you bear our cruelty?
How can you bear our wars?
How can you bear our lovelessness?
You weep, Lord, and wait within. 

The LORD must wait for you to come to him
so he can show you his love and compassion.
(Isaiah 30:18; NLT).

You are the temple of the living God.
(2 Corinthians 6:16; NKJV).

I turn to you

Introduction

Hello to all readers. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m learning  to make my writing more inclusive. Hopefully, as I improve, every blog  will incorporate a fuller understanding of God.

However, whilst I’m learning how to do this, I may sometimes need to post two versions of the same prayer, because I don’t yet have sufficient skill to amalgamate them into one. On these occasions, the first will use traditional language, whilst the second will attempt a more inclusive expression of the same basic inspiration.

Please bear with me as I work to develop the highly challenging art of more inclusive writing. God willing, in time my skills will improve. Then, posting two different versions will no longer be necessary, as I will be incorporating a fuller understanding of God into all my writing.

Today, I could have posted just one version of the prayer below, but I wanted to share with you a sense of the challenges involved in inclusive writing. If you find all this irritating, please be as patient, tolerant and understanding towards me as you can. It’s a very big step of healing for me to begin embracing a broader understanding of God, who includes all that is both masculine and feminine, whilst transcending all divisions, such as gender, race and creed (thank you to K.B. for your tremendous help and guidance in this matter). Because of the emotional abuse I suffered throughout my childhood, I have always found it very difficult to embrace the femininity of God.

Please pray for me, as I pray for you, remembering that we are all at different stages of our spiritual development, as we strive to reach the fullest possible understanding of God, within our human limitations.


Version 1: using traditional language

When I awake, I will find you nearby (Psalm 139:18; CEV).

Lift up your hands to him in prayer (Job 11:13; NLT). 

1. I turn to you each morning, Lord,
And lift my hands
In prayer.

2. I turn to you each afternoon,
And lift my hands
In love.

3. I turn to you each evening, Lord,
And lift my hands
In praise.

4. I turn to you; I lift my hands;
I close my eyes –
And gaze.

We fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
(2 Corinthians 4:18; NLT).

Notes

Please scroll down for references, below version 2

Here is a link to my recent article on lifting the hands to pray: https://wp.me/p45bCr-bb8


Version 2: using more inclusive language

When I awake, I will find you nearby (Psalm 139:18; CEV).

Lift up your hands to him in prayer (Job 11:13; NLT). 

1. I turn to God each morning,
And lift my hands
In prayer.

2. I turn to God each afternoon,
And lift my hands
In love.

3. I turn to God each evening,
And lift my hands
In praise.

4. I turn to God; I lift my hands;
I close my eyes –
And gaze.

We fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
(2 Corinthians 4:18; NLT).

Note

Here is a link to my recent article on lifting the hands to pray: https://wp.me/p45bCr-bb8


References

2. Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven (Lamentations 3:41; NLT).

I love you, Lord (Psalm 18:1; NLT).

3. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and he shall hear my voice (Psalm 55:17; NKJV).

Lift up holy hands in prayer, and praise the Lord (Psalm 134:2; NLT).   

4. I think about you, God, before I go to sleep, and my thoughts turn to you during the night (Psalm 63:6; CEV). 

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple (Psalm 27:4; NIV). 

She is mine

My hands have made both heaven and earth;
they and everything in them are mine.
I, the Lord, have spoken! 
(Isaiah 66:2; NLT).

All of you together are Christ’s body,
and each of you is a part of it (1 Corinthians 12:27; NLT).

1. She is mine!
She’s my body –
So do her no harm.

2. He is mine!
He’s my body –
Don’t hurt, or destroy.

3. They are mine!
They’re my body –
Don’t wound, rape, or kill.

4. You are mine!
You’re my body –
Like me, do God’s will. 

I have come down from heaven not to do my will
but to do the will of him who sent me (John 6:38; NIV).

God’s will is for you to be holy 
(1 Thessalonians 4:3; NLT). 

References 

1-2. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9; NIV). 

3. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-8; NIV).

Thou shalt not kill (Exodus 20:13; KJV). 

4. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his (Psalm 100:3; NLT).

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God (Psalm 143:10; NLT). 

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10; KJV).

If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine (Matthew 26:39; NLT)

More questions

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows
(John 16:33; NLT).

1. What makes life on earth worth living?

Loving people, and forgiving;
Prayer, rejoicing, and thanksgiving –
Letting Jesus in.

2. What makes faith in Christ worth choosing? 

Peace, despite the world’s abusing;
Gain, in spite of all we’re losing –
Following our King.

3. What makes trouble worth enduring?

Learning, growing, and maturing;
Meeting others, helping – turning
Minds and souls to Him.

4. What makes Jesus’ way worth taking?  

Service, though our hearts are breaking –
So, choose Christ, all else forsaking,
And unite with Him.

For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him (Philippians 3:9; NLT).


References 

1. My life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God (Acts 20:24; NLT). 

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; RSV).

The Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion (Isaiah 30:18; NLT).

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends (Revelation 3:20; NLT).

2. Choose today whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15; NLT).

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27; NLT).

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21; CSB). 

If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me (Luke 9:23; NLT).

On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords (Revelation 19:16; NLT).

3. When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow (James 1:2-3; NLT).

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him (James 1:12; NLT).

Grow to maturity (2 Corinthians 13:11; NLT).

Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else (Mark 9:35; NLT).

Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone (Mark 16:15; NLT). 

Each of you must repent and turn to God, and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; NLT).

4. Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT). 

Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing (Luke 23:34; NLT).

Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us (Colossians 3:11; NLT).

You also are complete through your union with Christ (Colossians 2:10; NLT). 

Prayers for peace

Introduction

Many of us are praying for peace, so I thought it might be helpful to group my prayers on this subject into a little book. I add to this page regularly, so they are in date order, starting with the most recent at the top.


She is mine 27.5.22.

All of you together are Christ’s body,
and each of you is a part of it.
(1 Corinthians 12:27; NLT).

She is mine!
She’s my body –
So do her no harm.

He is mine!
He’s my body –
Don’t hurt, or destroy.

They are mine!
They’re my body –
Don’t wound, rape, or kill.

You are mine!
You’re my body –
Like me, do God’s will. 

God’s will is for you to be holy.
(1 Thessalonians 4:3; NLT). 


All are one in Christ 27.5.22.

Didn’t one God create us?
Why then do we act treacherously against one another?
(Malachi 2:10; NIV).

There is neither Jew nor Gentile,
Male nor Female,
Slave nor Free.

There is neither Black nor White,
Kin nor Stranger,
You nor Me.

There is neither Saint nor Sinner,
LBGTQ,
Nor Straight.

There is neither East nor West,
Creed nor Dogma,
Church nor State.

There is neither Friend nor Foe
Nor Refugee,
Nor Us, nor Them

For All are one in Christ:
Our Mother, Father, Spirit, Soul.
Amen.

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free,
nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28; NIV).


Heal our hatred 10.5.22.

“O Lord,” I prayed, “have mercy on me.
Heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
(Psalm 31:4; NLT).

Lord,
Heal our hatred
With your love,
Our lies and boasting
With your breath;
Our lust for power
With your tears,
Our cruelty
With your distress.

Lord,
Heal our malice
With your blood,
Our greed and envy
With your pain;
Our barbarism
With your death:
Then we will all
Be whole again.

He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
(Isaiah 53:5; NLT).


I pray for peace 2.5.22.

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
(Psalm 34:14; NIV).

I pray for peace in every mind,
In every heart, Lord,
Every soul.
May every life be filled with peace –
Forgive us;
Make us whole.

I pray that peace will reign on earth.
Lord, hear me:
Bring an end to war!
May every nation live in peace –
Today,
And evermore.

He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more.
(Isaiah 2:4; NIV).


Sad and angry 23.4.22.

The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the Lord.
(Psalm 14:2-4; NIV).

How sad and angry
You must be
To witness
All our cruelty,
Our hate,
And inhumanity –
Our lack of love,
Lord God.

I beg you
For a halt to strife,
Respect
For every human life,
Forgiveness,
And an end to war –
Then peace will reign
For evermore.

The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war any more.
(Isaiah 2:4; NLT). 


Easter Saturday 16.4.22


The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
(Galatians 5:22-3; NLT). 

Lord,
I pray for peace, not war,
For kindness, Father, evermore,
For self-control in every mind:
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done. 

Lord,
I beg for joy, not war,
For patience, Father, evermore,
For gentleness in every heart:
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done. 

Lord,
I plead for love, not war,
For goodness, Father, evermore,
For faithfulness in every soul:
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done. 

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.
(Matthew 6:10; KJV).


Good Friday 15.4.22.

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
(Luke 6:27-8; NIV).

Beyond all torment, come what may,
Is Christ, who shows us how to pray.

Beyond all darkness and distress
Is Christ, who teaches us to bless.

Beyond all anguish, hate, and blood
Is Christ, who teaches us to love.

Beyond all hunger, thirst, and pain
Is Christ, who died, and rose again.

Beyond all terror, grief, and war
Is Christ, who lives for evermore.

I died, and behold I am alive for evermore.
(Revelation 1:18; RSV).


Hearts of stone 6.4.22.

Surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.
(Jeremiah 4:4; NLT).

Take away our hearts of stone,
Our foolishness and pride:
Please give us tender hearts of flesh –
Your teaching, Lord, our guide.

Take away our hearts of flint,
Our anger, hate and greed:
Then give us gentle, loving hearts –
Your pattern, Lord, our creed.

Take away our hearts of ice,
Our senseless use of force:
And give us warm, responsive hearts –
Your gospel, Lord, our source.

I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.
(Ezekiel 36:26; NLT).


 Even when we don’t trust others 4.4.22.

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you …

Even when we don’t trust others,
Father, may we offer peace.

Even when they hate and curse us,
May we serve them, doing good.

Even when we fear them deeply,
May we help and bless them all,

And even when they treat us badly,
May we pray for them, with love.

… pray for those who mistreat you.
(Luke 6:27-8; NIV).


World-wide justice 3.4.22.

Let true justice prevail.
(Deuteronomy 16:20; NLT).

We pray for world-wide justice, Lord:
For shame about the lies we’ve spun;
For confession, and contrition
As we weep for what we’ve done.

We pray for widespread mercy, Lord:
For sorrow that we’ve used brute force;
For repentance, and forgiveness
As we face our deep remorse.

We pray for global fairness, Lord:
For readiness to love our foe;
For penance, and for reparation
As we pay back all we owe.

We pray for perfect wisdom, Lord:
For faith and hope; an end to war;
For reconciliation, truth
And peace on earth, for evermore.

The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war any more.
(Isaiah 2:4; NLT). 


Beyond all weariness 27.3.22.

All glory to him who alone is God, our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time,
and in the present, and beyond all time!
(Jude 1:25; NLT).

Beyond all weariness and pain
Is Christ, who died, and rose again.

Beyond all worry and dismay
Is Christ, who teaches us to pray.

Beyond all anguish and despair
Is Christ, who shows us how to care.

Beyond all fear and loss of hope
Is Christ, who always helps us cope.

Beyond all ignorance and sin
Is Christ, the Lord, who dwells within.

Beyond all darkness, war, and strife
Is Christ, who gives eternal life.

He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good.
(Romans 2:7; NLT).


Pray for peace 19.3.22.


I will pray for peace.
(Psalm 122:8; CEV).

I pray for peace in every mind,
That pride and hate will always fail,
That all will turn to you at last, Lord God,
And faith prevail.    

I pray for joy in every heart,
That rage and greed will always fail,
That you will reign in every life, Lord God,
And hope prevail. 

I pray for truth in every soul,
That lies and force will always fail,
That all will grow in unity, Lord God, 
And love prevail.

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love –
and the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13; NLT).


A prayer for peace 18.3.22.

Let true justice prevail.
(Deuteronomy 16:20; NLT).

Father,
May your justice reign,

Your wisdom bring
An end to pain;

Your truth be praised,
Your kingdom come,

Your peace prevail –
Your will be done.

May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
(Matthew 6:10; NET).


Save us! 17.3.22.

Lord, save us!
(Matthew 8:25; NLT).

Jesus,
Save us from ourselves,
For we are ignorant and weak.
The last thing we remember, Lord, is:
Blessed are the meek.

Jesus,
Save us from ourselves,
For we are always wanting more.
The last thing we consider, Lord, is:
Blessed are the poor.

Jesus,
Save us from ourselves,
For we pursue what makes us glad.
The last thing we acknowledge, Lord, is:
Blessed are the sad.

Jesus,
Save us from ourselves,
For we are blind, and immature.
The last thing we reflect on, Lord, is:
Blessed are the pure.

I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.
(Matthew 18:3; NLT).


Fire against fire 16.3.22.

Nation will go to war against nation,
and kingdom against kingdom.
(Luke 21:10; NLT). 

Fire against fire,
And hate against hate;
Fear against fear:
Lord, it’s too late!

Hope beyond hope,
And light beyond light;
Strength beyond strength:
Lord, you are life!

Peace upon peace,
And good upon good;
Truth upon truth:
Lord, you are love!

God is love.
(1 John 4:8; NLT).


A prayer for us all 12.3.22.

I will give you a new heart and I will put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
(Ezekiel 36:26; NIV).

Lord,
Remove our stony hearts –
Give us new hearts, of flesh.
Please take our greed and hate away –
Help us to start afresh.

Lord,
Remove our cold, hard minds –
Give us the mind of Christ.
Please take our selfishness away –
Show us your sacrifice.

Lord,
Remove our iron souls –
So we can share all pain.
Please take our love of power away –
May we be born again.

Unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.
(John 3:3; NLT).


A prayer for President Putin 8.2.22.

You do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful,
poor, blind and naked (Revelation 3:17; NIV).

Lord,
Remove his stony heart
And give him a heart of flesh.
Take his hate and greed away –
Help him to start afresh.

Lord,
Remove his hard, cold mind
And give him the mind of Christ.
Take his lust for power away –
Show him your sacrifice.

Lord,
Remove his iron soul
So he can share our pain.
Take his ruthlessness away –
May he be born again.

Unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.
(John 3:3; NLT).


Truth beyond falsehood 9.3.22.

Save me! Rescue me from the power of my enemies. Their mouths are full of lies; they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead.
(Psalm 144:11; NLT).

Truth beyond falsehood,
Hope beyond fear,
Peace beyond battle –
Lord, you are here. 

Faith beyond anguish,
Rest beyond pain,
Light beyond darkness –
Father, you reign. 

Joy beyond terror,
Wine beyond gall,
Life beyond bondage –
Love, beyond all.

Three things will last forever –
faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13; NLT).


The song of the dead 8.3.22.

No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the Lord your God will be your everlasting light.
(Isaiah 60:19; NLT).

Father, brighter than the sun,
Jesus, every battle won,
Spirit, all your work is done:
We love you.

Lord, we walked the path you trod,
You, our guide, with staff and rod,
Leading us straight back to God:
We love you. 

Every enemy outrun,
Here, no hatred, fear, or gun,
All will live in union:
We love you. 

Father, we have run our race,
Jesus, we can see your face,
Spirit, overwhelming grace:
We love you. 

Lord, in paradise, at last,
Every pain and grief is past,
You have saved us, held us fast:
We love you. 

Now, our joy, Lord, has begun,
Now, we hear you say: Well done!
Now, we know you, Three-In-One,
And love you.

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.
(1 Chronicles 29:11; NLT).


We are wretched 4.3.22.

All the days of the oppressed are wretched.
(Proverbs 15:15; NIV). 

Father,
We are wretched,
Pitiful and weak,
For we have been invaded,
And the strong oppress the meek.

Father,
We are anxious,
Hungry, thirsty, poor,
For we are now blockaded,
And the strong despise your law.

Father,
We are homeless,
Distressed in heart and mind,
Yet everyone is fragile,
And all lives are intertwined.

Father,
We are battered
By hardship, bomb and gun,
But weak and strong are suffering –
For all of us are one.

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free,
male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28; NLT).


A prayer for President Putin 2.3.22.

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
(Luke 6:27-8; NIV).

Father,

I pray that President Putin will come to his senses, repent and turn to you, and that you will forgive his sins.

May he follow Christ, taking him as his way, truth and life, his Teacher, example and guide.

Please heal him in mind, heart and soul. May he be born again, and be filled with your Holy Spirit.

I pray that he will come to know, accept, and return, your perfect love.

May he recognise and love you in every human being, and in this astonishing world you have created – the only place in which we, your people, can live together.

Thank you for hearing my prayer, Lord.

 I ask all this in your dear Son’s name. Amen.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(1 John 4:8; NIV).


Hear my heartfelt prayer 28.2.22.

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee.
(Psalm 102:1; KJV).

Hear my heartfelt prayer, Lord God:
End our greed and hatred.
Take away our minds of stone,
And make our thinking like your own:
Loving; joyous; full of peace –
Help us, I implore you.

Hear my earnest prayer, Lord God:
Turn us from all evil.
Take away our hearts of stone,
And make our passions like your own:
Patient; kindly; generous –
Till all of us adore you. 

Hear my urgent prayer, Lord God:
Forgive our sins; have mercy.
Take away our souls of stone,
And give us spirits like your own:
Faithful; gentle; self-controlled –
Then all will bow before you.  

Bow down and worship the Lord.
(Ezekiel 46:3; NLT).


Prayer for peace 24.2.22.

Friends, let us pray for peace in Ukraine, and for peace in President Putin’s heart:

I pray that President Putin will become a Christian through revelation, as Saint Paul did, that he will suddenly come to his senses, realise what he’s doing to his fellow human beings, repent, and experience a profound conversion of mind, heart and soul.

I ask all this in Jesus’ blessed name. Amen.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.
(Isaiah 65:25; KJV).

Even when…

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you…

Even when we don’t trust others,
Father, may we offer peace.

Even when they hate and curse us,
May we serve them, doing good.

Even when we fear them deeply,
May we help and bless them all,

And even when they treat us badly,
May we pray for them, with love. 

…pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-8; NIV).

A life

Greetings to everyone who reads this short article, which describes some of the life experiences underpinning the prayers I post each day on this website.

I was born in the UK, soon after the end of the Second World War, and was the youngest of 3 children. My mother was unpredictable, given to destructive outbursts of rage, emotionally abusive and controlling. Throughout my childhood and teenage years I lived with constant anxiety and fear, and had very little sense of who I was.

When I left home to go to university, I was ill-prepared to cope with independence. I began having panic attacks, though at the time I had no idea what they were. At the beginning of the third year I had a breakdown, abandoned my studies, and returned home. 

After a period of unemployment, I worked in an office, then in a day centre, where I helped to care for people with physical and learning disabilities. One day a client accidentally set fire to the cushion of his wheelchair with a dropped cigarette. In lifting him up, I tore a tendon in my back, leaving me in constant pain.

The only treatment for back pain in those days was bed-rest. After about 18 months of this, I decided to try walking to the shops. Just a short distance from home I had a major panic attack. Although I didn’t understand this at the time, I had become agoraphobic. As with all phobias, the more I tried to avoid my fears, the worse they became.

Despite my constant pack pain and mental illness, my partner and I got married, and I became pregnant. When I went into labour, serious complications necessitated an emergency admission to hospital. The whole experience was traumatic. Afterwards, I developed multiple phobias, and found it hard to cope with the normal stresses of caring for my baby. 

A year later I became pregnant again, but had a miscarriage at about fifteen weeks, leading to emergency surgery. Afterwards, I developed severe anxiety and depression, so my toddler had to go into daycare. 

At this point, I learned that I was agoraphobic. From the local library, I borrowed a copy of “Agoraphobia – simple effective treatment”, by Claire Weekes. Slowly, I began to fight back, despite my mental and physical fragility.

There were further breakdowns along the way, and endless struggles with depression, anxiety, panic and dread. When my son was about seven, I began studying for a degree in psychology, but this time only managed the first year, before the panic attacks became so intense that I was forced to give up.

Along the way, though this seems astonishing as I look back, I did my best to contribute to my family’s finances whenever I was well enough. Without any qualifications, I did the best I could with the skills I had picked up earlier in my life. Over the years I worked as a student landlady, cleaner, and barmaid. I organised children’s parties, ran a dance band, and taught music informally.

Later, I joined a five-piece band, travelling to gigs all around the UK. I quickly learned never to mention my fears, and somehow got through. It was hard, but I did the best I could to have a life. I suppose I unconsciously assumed it was the same for everyone.

Throughout this time, I read all I could about anxiety, depression, panic disorders and the factors underpinning them. I made daily efforts to face my fears in a graded way, building up my tolerance until I could walk to the centre of my home-town, visit a supermarket, and drive a few miles alone.

Realising I would never be able to cope with the stresses of full-time study, I began attending an adult education centre. Slowly, over a period of seven years, I  worked to gain a certificate in counselling, an advanced certificate, then a diploma. During this time I also entered therapy, worked as a volunteer counsellor, and tried to gain insight until the origins of my mental issues. Meanwhile, I continued to push against my boundaries by starting to travel on trains. Essentially, I managed to live with my fears through dogged efforts to confront them.

Once qualified, I began work in the National Health Service as a counsellor, later beginning a part-time master’s degree. My academic results were good, but the stress of achieving them was very high. 

Unfortunately, half-way through the two-year course, I developed Grave’s Disease. Too ill to work, and deteriorating rapidly, I had emergency surgery to remove my thyroid. It took me a year to recover enough to go back to work, and to continue my degree, but somehow I managed it, even coming top in my year-group. However, the illness left me dependent on medication for the rest of my life, and with the collateral damage of daily headaches and frequent migraines.

The migraines eventually made work impossible, so I retired. Not long afterwards, a bout of influenza left me with chronic fatigue (M.E.). For the first few years, I was unable to walk more than a few paces around the house, and relied on a mobility scooter. Eventually, I learned about pacing as a possible way forwards. It took me a year of building up through slow, daily practice to be able to walk about five hundred yards up a gentle slope. Despite this improvement, I have lived with chronic fatigue ever since. The limitations it imposes have increased with each illness, and as I’ve got older.

Unable to make music  any more, I slowly developed other methods of creative expression, including textile art, writing, and editing. In 2013 I began a website (www.ruthkirk.org), and have posted a daily, original, spiritual poem there ever since. I also enjoyed helping in a charity shop for a few hours each week until three and a half years ago, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was swiftly followed by a mastectomy, then by lengthy attempts to cope with various drugs, whose side effects eventually proved intolerable. This time, the collateral damage was losing the ability to regulate my temperature, so I now cycle constantly between sweating and shivering, day and night. There is no treatment for this condition, which doesn’t even seem to have a name, though it has a significant impact on my quality of life. 

Nowadays, my limited energy is spent on hospital appointments, occasional short walks, and a few social contacts. Church is too hard to manage, but I have made a shrine in my bedroom, which I find very helpful.

As I slowly become more accepting of my overall condition, my faith grows ever stronger. When I was confirmed, very recently, I took the name of Sainte Thérèse de Lisieux. Her “little way” of doing everything, however small, with love, has become my daily aim. Accordingly, I would like to finish this article with a prayer I wrote some years ago. Each morning, I say it soon after waking up:

Your little way 

Thank you, Lord,
For this new day.
Please keep me
On your little way,

Then I will feel, think,
Say, and do
Everything with love,
For you.

No matter what
You give or take,
May I accept it
For your sake,

And strive to feel, think,
Say, and do
Everything with love –
Like you.

To those who have read this brief summary of my life-story, I send my thanks, praying that one day it will help someone, somewhere. May God bless you all.

✝️ Ruth Kirk (22.2.22.)