12.1.23: Many things in life are hard

A few days ago I was thinking about what a struggle it can be just to give to others, though perhaps giving is relatively easy in comparison to many of life’s other challenges. Almost before I knew it, I had to start writing today’s blog:

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33; NLT). 

Many things in life
Are hard, Lord:
Giving, saying sorry,
And forgiving those who hurt us;
Facing fear, enduring failure,
Illness, disability, and grief.

Yet, with prayer and practice,
They get easier to manage,
Till they become
A source of growth,
Of thankfulness –
And even inner peace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you (John 14:27; NIV). 


References 

Then 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. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30; NLT).

We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28; NLT).

9.1.23: Bad dreams

Context: Although I don’t feel anxious about my deteriorating health in the daytime, I have bad dreams about it almost every night. A few days ago I woke feeling particularly upset and disturbed by what I had experienced in my dream, and especially by how I’d felt, both physically and mentally.

My training and experience suggest that these dreams are telling me what’s going on in my unconscious mind, and that it might be helpful to talk them over. As I prayed about this, today’s verses came to mind. They arrived so quickly that it was all I could do to scribble them down. Later I was able to spend time reflecting on them, and editing them.

I’m getting old, and sick, Lord,
Let’s face facts –
I’m never going to do again
Some of the things I love.
I’m never going to do
What I’ve not done.

I’m running out of health,
And out of time.
I’m fine with this
When I’m awake,
But dream about it
Almost every night.

And that’s when I experience
My grief,
My weakness, tiredness,
Helplessness and fear;
Depression; getting lost;
Dementia; tears.

Day after day I wake up 
In distress.
Today, I recognised
That maybe I need help:
Lord God, I want to talk
About my dreams.

God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams (Daniel 1:17; NLT). 

God can tell you what it means and set you at ease (Genesis 41:16; NLT).


The Rosary Hospital

Word is slowly getting round about The Rosary Hospital, and I’ve fulfilled another two commissions. Meanwhile, yesterday I finished making a simple five-decade rosary for fun, finding it helpful to experiment freely without having any particular recipient in mind.

29.12.22: I start again

Context: Today’s prayer describes a rare moment late one evening, when I was able to accept and believe that God really had forgiven all my sins. This meant I could start afresh next day, without looking back, to my great joy. These verses arrived the next morning:

Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:62; NLT). 

The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning (Lamentations 3:22-23; NLT). 

I start again today, Lord,
Without sin –
For you forgave me yesterday,
And healed my guilt within.

I start again today
Without a grudge –
For I’ve forgiven all who hurt me:
You, alone, will judge.

I start again today, Lord,
Without fear –
For you will walk beside me
Giving comfort, always near.

I start again today
Without regrets –
Instead, I’m looking forward,
For you’ve cancelled all my debts.

When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both (Luke 7:42; ESV).


References 

He forgives all my sins (Psalm 103:2; NLT). 

Her guilt has been removed (Isaiah 49:2; NASB20). 

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18; NIV). 

Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us (Matthew 6:12; NLT).

Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all – the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; NLT). 

God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad (Ecclesiastes 12;14; NLT). 

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me (Psalm 23:4; NLT). 

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory (Romans 5:2; NLT). 

Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world (1 Peter 1:13; NLT). 

25.12.22: Christmas Day

Context: God often gives me a special prayer well in advance, ready to post on Christmas Day, but this year it didn’t happen. In fact, I had begun to think there would be no Christmas prayer at all this year. To begin with, I felt I should be able to write something appropriate, but I knew I couldn’t do this without inspiration, so eventually I placed the matter in God’s hands, and let it go.

Then, on the 21st of December, I received a long Christmas prayer, which was very difficult to put into words, to condense, and to edit. Eventually it took the form of a spoken exchange. The first section pictures Christ speaking to us, whilst the second pictures us responding to him.

✝️ She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them (Luke 2:7; NLT). 

I was born in the shadow of want,
And lived in the shadow of fear.

I worked in the shadow of hate,
But knew that my Father was near.

I wept in the shadow of grief,
And prayed in the shadow of pain.

I walked in the shadow of death,
Then rose, to save all, and to reign.

The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15; NLT).


✝️ We all have sinned against you (Jeremiah 14:20; NLT). 

Though we dwell in the shadow of sin,
And grieve in the shadow of loss,

We pray, and give thanks, and rejoice,
For we follow your way of the cross.

Though we walk in the shadow of death,
We trust in your staff and your rod.

Lord, you are here, in earth’s darkness,
So we sing in the shadow of God.

Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 63:7; NLT).


Christmas greetings:

My very best wishes to every reader who visits this website. May God bless you. I pray for you all every day.

✝️  With love, and many thanks for your support, from Ruth xxxxxxx

11.12.22: A question

Context: Today’s prayer is linked to “Love”, posted on 9.12.22. Here is a live link, in case you want to look back at it: https://wp.me/p45bCr-d05. It continues to explore my difficulties around feeling lovable, and therefore finding it very hard to believe that the Lord loves me.

You do not break a bruised reed, or quench a wavering flame (Isaiah 42:3; TIB). 

Lord,

You’ve never turned on me,
Or said a hurtful word;

Nor have you rejected me,
Or left my cries unheard;

Nor screamed, Lord, as my mother did,
Nor scared me, nor condemned –

So why can’t I accept your love,
And trust you as my friend?

I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me (John 15:15; NLT).


References 

He will not constantly accuse us (Psalm 103:9; NLT). 

He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).

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

Your nature is love (Eucharistic Liturgy of the Free Methodist Church).

You are my friends if you do what I command (John 15:14; NLT).

Now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God (Romans 5:11; NLT). 

7.12.22: Step forward

Context: Today’s prayer came to me on Sunday morning. It summarises my way of coping with lifts, of which I have a lifelong fear. I step straight in, quickly, hurrying to Jesus, who is waiting in the lift for me. I face my fear for his sake, just as he faced his own dread of the cross for me, and I do all this with him, for he is always with me.

Stepping forward like this is just as helpful with any and every situation I need to face up to, yet would much prefer to avoid. This approach to managing anxiety and fear is summarised as briefly as possible in today’s prayer:

He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward” (Mark 3:3; NKJV). 

Lord Jesus,
Please help me to step forward –

  • To you
  • For you
  • Like you
  • And with you

No matter what challenges
I face today.

My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done (Matthew 26:42; NLT).


References

To you:
Then Jesus said, Come to me” (Matthew 11:28; NLT).

When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw him, ran to meet him, and bowed low before him (Mark 5:6; NLT).

They ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him (Matthew 28:9; NLT).

On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!” (John 7:37; NLT).

I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it (Luke 6:47; NLT).

For you:
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40; NIV).

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it (Luke 9:24; NLT).

Like you:
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).

Since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you (John 13:14; NLT).

With you:
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4; NIV).

Be sure of this: I am with you always (Matthew 28:20; NLT). 

6.12.22: In my dreams

Context: I wrote this prayer last weekend, with a migraine that still hasn’t responded to any of my usual medications. All I can do is to be very quiet, whilst waiting patiently for it to improve in God’s good time.

Keep on seeking, and you will find (Luke 11:9; NLT). 

Jesus,
May I seek you
In my dreams;
Find you, Lord, and meet you
In my dreams;
Walk and talk beside you
In my dreams,
Facing all  with you, Lord,
In my dreams.

Jesus,
May I see you
In my dreams;
Recognise and know you
In my dreams;
Bear my cross, and follow
In my dreams,
And never fear tomorrow,
In my dreams.

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).

5.12.22: In everyone

Context: I’m still very weary after having covid, and am hardly writing at all. So I’m glad to be able to dip into my store-house, and share this prayer with you. It came to me last September:

There is one Lord …who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT). 

Lord,

You’re in everyone and everything –
All I see, hear, taste, smell and touch.

You give all I receive,
And you take away everything I lose.

You share all my sensations,
Including pain, fatigue and suffering.

You share all my emotions,
Including joy, fear and sorrow.

Please help me to learn from all I experience,
Both “good” and “bad”.

I dedicate myself to you, and to your service,
Just as I am.

May I take up my cross each day,
And follow your example.

May everything I think, say and do
Express your love.

I ask all this in your holy name.
✝️ Amen.

I will do whatever you ask in my name (John 14:13; NIV).

21.11.22: Lifeline prayers

Context: Despite coughing and sweating my way through the night with covid, when I woke next day and began to pray, I received some insistent words almost immediately. The four brief, lifeline prayers included in this blog seem to be virtually all I need now, given my new highly isolated and simplified lifestyle:

“Why so dispirited?” I ask myself. “Why so churned up inside? Hope in God!” I know I’ll praise God once again, for you are my Deliverance; you are my God (Psalm 43:5; TIB).

When I feel alone and blue,
With dismal thoughts I can’t subdue,
This is what I say:
I love you, Jesus. 

When I feel ashamed and sad,
Full knowing I’ve done something bad,
This is what I pray:
Forgive me, Jesus.  

When I feel ignored and hurt,
Self-pity turned to high alert,
This is what I sigh:
Forgive them, Jesus. 

When you give, and when you take,
No matter how my heart may break,
This is what I whisper:
Thank you, Jesus. 

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).


References 

I love you, LORD, my strength (Psalm 18:1; CSB). 

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).


Rosary news

Yesterday afternoon I made a blue and white rosary, but the final stage (the attachment of the crucifix), failed QC. However, one of the best things about learning to make rosaries is the joy of taking them apart so I can re-use the beads for my next attempt.

19.11.22: God is near

Context: The night before last, my seventh with covid, I managed for the first time to cope without taking any cough-suppressant. As soon as I woke in the morning, I began to pray, but within seconds I was overwhelmed by today’s blog:

He is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:27-8; NIV). 

God is not far away,
But very near:
In everyone we meet,
And see, and hear;

In every joy and sorrow,
Smile, and tear;
In pain and anguish,
Suffering, and fear.

God is not far away,
But deep within:
In every mind, and heart,
And soul, and skin;

Despite our hatred,
Selfishness and sin –
God is not far away,
And God is King. 

God is the King over all the earth (Psalm 47:7; NLT).


References 

There is one Savior, one faith, one baptism, one God and Creator of all, who is over all, who works through all and is within all (Ephesians 4:5-6; TIB).

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else (1 Thessalonians 3:12; NIV). 

Love your neighbour as yourself (Leviticus 19:18; NLT).

Love the stranger (Deuteronomy 10:19; NKJV).

Show love to foreigners (Deuteronomy 10:19; NLT).

Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44; NLT).


Rosary news:

Despite covid, I made a (hopefully) more accurate Fiat Rosary today, with the colours in the right order. Here is is:


…and here it is again, lying on my shrine overnight, soaking up God’s blessings: