Today’s prayer proved surprisingly difficult to put into words. I’ve been slowly working on it over the last couple of weeks.
God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16; NLT).
1. I pray that your great love for all Will reign in every life, Lord God,
But if we won’t receive your love
Please send us peace, instead.
2. I ask that your eternal peace Will dwell in every mind, Lord God,
But if we don’t accept your peace
Please teach us truth, instead.
3. I beg that your enduring truth
Will rule in every heart, Lord God,
But if we can’t believe your truth
Please grant us light, instead.
4. I plead that your unceasing light Will shine in every soul, Lord God,
But if we don’t perceive your light
Please give us hope, instead.
The Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
(Romans 15:4; NLT).
Verse 1 – God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT). – He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12; NIV).
Verse 2 – I will make a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant (Isaiah 9:6; NLT).
– The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NLT).
Verse 3 – Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6; NLT). – The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6; NKJV).
– Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him (John 11:37; NIV).
Verse 4 – When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12; NIV). – God is light (1 John 1:5; NLT).
– You…are the hope of all the ends of the earth (Psalm 65:5; BBE).
– Put your hope in God (Psalm 43:5; NIV).
– Ifyouarewalkingindarkness, without a ray of light, trust in the LORD and rely on your God (Isaiah 50:10; NLT).
– The people who live in darkness will see a great light. On those who live in the dark land of death the light will shine (Matthew 4:16; GNT).
Yesterday, as so often, a migraine made my constant hot sweats harder than usual to tolerate patiently. I wrote nothing in the morning, and felt depressed, lonely and isolated. Then, at about 4.30pm, to my great surprise, today’s prayer came to me. Reminding me of the only wise way forward, it brought a moment of relief, and even hope, to an otherwise unrelievedly grey day.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted
(Psalm 25:16; NIV).
I am deeply depressed (Psalm 42:6; CSB).
1. Prince of Peace, I cannot change How lonely and depressed I feel,
2. So, instead, I turn to you,
And beg you, Lord, Hear my appeal:
3. Strengthen me To face this daily struggle, Or my heart Will break;
4. Help me to accept, Endure, And bear my cross, For your love’s sake.
Then he said to the crowd, “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).
Verse 1: Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33; NLT).
Verse 2: Hear my prayer, LORD, and listen to my cry for help (Psalm 39:12; CSB).
Verse 3: My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word (Psalm 119:28; NIV).
Is not all human life a struggle? (Job 7:1; NLT).
An aching heart breaks the spirit (Proverbs 15:13; HNV).
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise (Psalm 51:17; NIV).
Verse 4: My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done (Matthew 26:42; NLT).
Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will (Hebrews 10:36; NLT).
This prayer arrived when I was praying without words very sleepily last Saturday morning. Having just learned how to make videos here after 10 years of using WordPress every day, here is a recording of it, in case that’s better for you than print: IMG_3546
We praise you, Lord (Psalm 21:13; GNT).
We praise you, Lord,
And worship you;
We learn from you,
And follow you;
Believe in you,
And long for you: Our Teacher.
We love you, Lord,
And serve with you;
We trust in you,
Rejoice in you;
Depend on you,
And pray to you: Our Master.
We grieve with you,
And yield with you;
Accept with you,
Endure with you;
We suffer and unite
With you, Our Saviour.
He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior (Titus 3:6; NLT).
You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am (John 13:13; NLT).
Jesus, Master, have mercy on us! (Luke 17:13; NLT).
Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:11; NLT).
Here is a link to a gallery of photos which tell the story of a beautiful, short walk we enjoyed last Saturday. I apologise for having messed up my sharing of this yesterday, and hope it will work properly. I can’t claim to be a mistress of technology! Just click on the live link if you would like to view it: https://wp.me/P45bCr-eaC.
One day, recently, soon after beginning to pray, this short poem arrived. I was even able to finish writing it before I had to get up, for which I was very thankful. After breakfast, I sorted out the references. Then it was time to face whatever the day would bring.
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).
May I say, like Christ:
“I want to do your will, not mine”,
Then I’ll give thanks, whatever comes,
Accepting not my will, but thine.
May I pray, with Christ:
“I want to do your will, not mine”,
Then I’ll rejoice, whatever comes,
For I will be your living shrine.
God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple (1 Corinthians 3:17; NLT).
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; NIV).
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing (Psalm 143:10; NLT).
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21; CSB).
Should we accept only good things from the hand of God, and never anything bad? (Job 2:10; NLT).
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other (Ecclesiastes 7:14; NIV).
There they are, overwhelmed with dread, where there was nothing to dread (Psalm 53:5; NIV).
For the last few weeks I have been exploring my chronic sense of *dread (see https://wp.me/p45bCr-dTm, for example). Today’s blog describes a way of handling it which came to me whilst I was praying a few days ago.
My dread springs from the trauma and emotional damage I experienced when I was young. A passage in Psalm 74 accurately captures the toxic atmosphere in my childhood home:
Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins, all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary. Your foes roared in the place where you met with us; they set up their standards as signs. They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees. They smashed all the carved paneling with their axes and hatchets. They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name. They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!” They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land (Psalm 74:3-8; NIV).
Praying before my icon
Last Wednesday I stood praying before my icon of Mary. As I touched both her hand and that of the infant Christ, I was longing for my dread to disappear. Suddenly I saw a different attitude to living with my dread. Thanking her, I hurried to write it down.
My notes became a prayer which encapsulates this new way forward. Now, I am trying to say, “Yes” to my dread, and to thank God for it, in accordance with the charism of the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham (p10, The Book of Life, Community of Our Lady of Walsingham; 2022).
Saying “Yes” to dread
So instead of longing for my dread go away, I now pray like this:
Lord, thank you for my sense of dread. It kept me safe when I was young, never knowing when, or where, the axe of my mother’s fury would fall next.
Please help me to welcome and accept my dread, surrounding it with love and gratitude. I want to rejoice in it as my oldest friend: the primitive, instinctive part of me that has protected me since birth.
After saying a spontaneous version of these words, I lay my hand on my abdomen and whisper to my dread:
My dearest friend, you can relax now. You no longer need to be constantly vigilant, ready to make me freeze, run away, or hide, in order to protect myself. You and I are in God’s hands, and we are safe now, no matter what happens.
A final prayer
Then I end like this:
Lord, thank you for my dread. Please help me to surround it with love. I ask this in your dear Son’s name. Amen.
Give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).
*The symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), include “A pervasive feeling of apprehension or dread” (helpguide.org).
All your waves and breakers have swept over me (Psalm 42:7; NIV).
I am in the hands of the Lord, the Most High is my safe resting-place (Psalm 91:9; BBE).