This prayer arrived spontaneously yesterday, whilst I was praying for the world:
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you (John 15:12; NLT).
Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10; NIV).
I pray for love Throughout the world:
In every country, home,
Mind, soul, and heart.
But if we cannot love,
I pray for peace,
So everyone can live,
And play their part.
And if we can’t make peace,
I pray for truth,
Then all our hurtful lies
Will end, at last.
And if we can’t have truth, I pray for hope,
Until our earthly suffering
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33; NLT).
This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope (1 Timothy 1:1; NLT).
We are saved by hope (Romans 8:24; WEB).
The eyes of all look to you in hope (Psalm 145:15; NLT).
A reading: Romans 8:23-5; NLT.
We believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently).
Context: Yesterday I was able to pray, to receive inspiration and to write again, after a week when this has been almost impossible. You can probably picture my joy, relief and thankfulness. This is what I was given:
As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared,
“Look! There is the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36; NIV).
1. High above: your flawless sky;
Far below: your hidden depth.
2. Here, on earth: your spotless life;
Deep within: your sacred breath.
3. All around: your perfect love;
Soon, beyond: your humble death.
4. Close beside: your joyful voice –
Then, just ahead: your blissful rest.
Truly my soul finds rest in God (Psalm 62:1; NIV).
1.The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun (Psalm 19:1-4; NIV).
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).
2.God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God (1 Peter 1:18-19; NLT).
The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7; KJV).
3.He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).
“Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Mark 14:36; NLT).
He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8; NIV).
4.Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me (Psalm 23:4; NLT).
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-9; NLT).
God’s rest is there for people to enter (Hebrews 4:6; NLT).
Whilst praying this morning, I reflected on the severely unsettled, and unsettling, state of our world:
Those who hold power are taking their stand, gathering their forces against YHWH (Psalm 2:1; TIB).
But then I saw that God is just as unchanging, powerful and loving as ever:
I am the LORD, and I do not change (Malachi 3:6; NLT).
Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all (1 Chronicles 29:11; KJV).
He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).
God waits for us to repent, so we can be forgiven, and start to change:
The LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion (Isaiah 30:18; NLT).
Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized 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).
So I prayed that we will all repent, turn to God, and start changing our lives before it’s too late: before we destroy the earth, our only home, and all her plants, creatures and people, through our foolish wars, hatred, selfishness, greed and ignorance:
Perhaps even yet they will turn from their evil ways and ask the LORD’s forgiveness before it is too late. For the LORD has threatened them with his terrible anger (Jeremiah 36:7; NLT).
Reading: Psalm 2, The Inclusive Bible
Why are the nations creating such an uproar?Why all this commotion among the peoples?
Those who hold power are taking their stand, gathering their forces against YHWH, against God’s Anointed One. “Let’s break their chains!” they say. “Let’s throw off their shackles!”
But the One who sits enthroned in the heavens laughs; the Sovereign One derides them, then rebukes them in anger and, enraged, terrifies them: “It is I who installed my ruler on Zion, on the mountain of my holiness!”
I will proclaim God’s decree – YHWH said to me: “You are my own; I’ve given birth to you today. Just ask – I’ll give you the nations as your inheritance! I’ll give you the ends of the earth as your possession! You’ll break them with an iron scepter; you’ll shatter them as easily as a clay pot.”
So, you rulers, be wise! And you who hold power, stand warned! Serve YHWH and rejoice – but do so with fear and trembling.Pay homage to God’s Own lest you be destroyed on your way in a blaze of anger – for God’s passion can flare up without warning.
Happiness comes to those who make God their refuge!
I woke very early and began to pray, longing to meet Jesus face to face in heaven. Then this little dialogue came into my mind, starting with a very familiar question:
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 42;2; NIV).
It crossed my mind that there would surely be so many people crowding around Jesus that my chance of even glimpsing him in heaven would be very small. However, I then saw that in heaven we will all be like Jesus:
We will be like him (1 John 3:2; NLT).
This means there will always be more than enough of Jesus to go round, because he will be fully present within everyone in heaven, just as he is on earth:
The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21; NLT).
So I don’t have to wait until after my death to meet Jesus, because I can already see him here, if I look with the eyes of love. This makes my life “heaven on earth”:
Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us (Colossians 3:11; NLT).
Living in heaven on earth means consciously recognising and loving Christ in everyone, without exception:
Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him (Luke 24:31; NLT).
Fortunately, living in heaven on earth doesn’t depend on my being well enough to serve in major ways that require lots of energy and strength:
My grace is sufficient for you, for mystrength is made perfect inweakness (2 Corinthians 12:9; NKJV).
Thus, whatever I do for others serves Christ within them. This includes, for example, every smile, greeting, chat, hug, encouragement, gift, prayer, or kindness, however small:
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:49; NIV).
Context: After posting yesterday’s prayer (https://wp.me/p45bCr-c36), I saw that the image of the wolf lying down with the lamb is a wonderful way of representing the revolutionary quality of relationships in the Kingdom of God (Isaiah 11:6-9; NIV).
This radically new way of living is characterised by treating everyone with love, regardless of how they behave towards us. We all have the potential to live like this, because God’s Kingdom is present within everyone (Luke 17:20-21; NKJV). Jesus lived as a citizen of God’s Kingdom on earth, and we, too, as individuals, can work towards the same goal.
However, for the Kingdom of God to hold sway throughout the whole world, we must all overcome the temptation to judge, reject, hurt, hate and destroy others. This applies to every person, family, group, denomination, caste, sect, class, tribe, religion and nation.
Both individually and collectively, the human qualities we need to overcome include:
Behaving selfishly and callously towards others
Refusing to share what we have
Controlling, dominating, bullying and abusing those less powerful than ourselves
Taking what belongs to other people
Judging and rejecting others for being different from ourselves in any way
Rejecting those with different spiritual beliefs and practices from ourselves
Looking down on, or hating, those whose skin-colour, sexuality, or way of life, is different from our own
Pursuing cruel, destructive conflicts and wars
Overexploiting and destroying the earth, our only shared home
Using richly symbolic, visionary language, Isaiah vividly illustrates what it will be like when everyone lives in the Kingdom of God:
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. 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 11:6-9; NIV).
Following this train of reflection, today’s poem quickly came to me, though it was very difficult to put into words:
Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? How can I illustrate it? It is like a tiny mustard seed that a man planted in a garden; it grows and becomes a tree, and the birds make nests in its branches.” He also asked, “What else is the Kingdom of God like? It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough” (Luke 13:18-21; NLT).
What is the Kingdom of God like?
The strong take good care of the weak,
Men treat all women as equals,
And wait for their sisters to speak.
What is the Kingdom of God like?
The rich share their wealth with the poor.
The healthy assist the disabled,
And all give up hatred and war.
What is the Kingdom of God like?
It’s heaven on earth and above,
For colour and creed make no difference
When all live in God, who is Love.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them (1 John 4:16; NIV).
When He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21; NKJV).
The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore (Isaiah 2:4; NLT).
I heard a loud voice calling from the throne,“Look! God’s Tabernacle is among humankind! God will live with them; they will be God’s people, and God will be fully present among them. The Most High will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And death, mourning, crying and pain will be no more, for the old order has fallen.” The One who sat on the throne said, “Look! I’m making everything new!” and added, “Write this, for what I am saying is trustworthy and true.” And that One continued, “It is finished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To those who are thirsty I will give drink freely from the spring of the water of life. This is the rightful inheritance of the overcomers. I will be their God and they will be my daughters and sons (Revelation 21:3-7; TIB).
Context: I woke, began to pray, and saw again, with awe, and more vividly than ever before, that God lives in everything, and that God is everything. In fact, there is nothing that isn’t one with God.
I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works (Psalm 145:5; NKJV).
I honour you in all,
For you’re the energy, the light,
The pulse, the cells, the atoms, Lord,
The substance, and the life
In all that breathes, and grows and dies,
In all that fruits and fades,
In all that rises, all that falls,
And all, Lord, that degrades.
In earth and water, wind and fire,
In every star and sun:
By living over, in and through
All things, You make us one.
There is …one God and Creator of all, who is over all, who works through all and is within all (Ephesians 4:5-6; TIB).
I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me (John 17:21-3; NLT).
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread (1 Corinthians 10:16-17; KJV).
Context: This prayer came to me in the shower yesterday morning, so I had to keep repeating the first couple of lines and rehearsing the progression of ideas, until I could get out and make notes on my iPad at top speed. Later in the day I was able to work on it at leisure, so here it is:
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek (Psalm 27:8; NIV).
As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? (Psalm 42:1-2; NLT).
I long to see your face, Lord,
When I meet you, in the end,
My Teacher, Priest and Shepherd, My Redeemer and my Friend.
Yet, may I wait with patience For the day you make me whole,
When you draw near, to bear away My life, and breath and soul,
Because I want to serve you
Till my time on earth has passed,
When, all my trials and sorrows done,
I’ll see your face, at last.
I will see you face to face and be satisfied (Psalm 17:15; NLT).
Context: Today’s prayer is linked to yesterday’s (https://wp.me/p45bCr-c0w), which divided itself in two, with the second part then taking on a life of its own. The process reminded me strongly of learning how an amoeba divides, in school biology! Here is the result:
This is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
(2 John 1:6; NIV).
1. I’m walking in your love, Lord God,
I’m walking in your love.
One with you before my birth,
One in exile, here on earth, One with you in heaven, at last:
I’m walking in your love.
2. I’m living in your love, Lord God, I’m living in your love.
One with you in joys and tears,
One in troubles, tests and fears,
One with you in all you send:
I’m living in your love.
3. I’m resting in your love, Lord God,
I’m resting in your love.
One with you in loss and gain, One in sickness, grief and pain,
One with you for evermore:
I’m resting in your love.
Truly my soul finds rest in God (Psalm 62:1; NIV).
1. Show love to the LORD your God by walking in his ways and holding tightly to him (Deuteronomy 11:22; NLT).
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4; NKJV).
2. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT).
Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realise that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life (Ecclesiastes 7:14; NLT).
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again (Psalm 71:20; NRSV).
3. This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15; NLT).
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30; KJV).