My prayers

Image: waldryano, Pixabay


❤️

Lord,

1. May my prayers
Be natural –
Childlike, simple,
Sweet.

2. May my prayers
Be genuine –
Honest, prompt,
Complete.

3. May my prayers
Be uncontrived –
Trustful, loving,
Pure.

4. May my prayers
Be uncompelled –
Joyful, short,
Mature.

5. May my prayers
Be from the heart –
Spontaneous,
And true.

6. May my prayers
Be constant, Lord –
Then I’ll be one
With you.

❤️

Image: Pexels, Pixabay


References

1. Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3; NIV).

They will be called ‘children of the living God’ (Hosea 1:10; NIV).

2. You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5; NIV).

Pray about everything (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

3. Trust in God, and trust also in me (John 14;1; NLT).

I have done no wrong, and my prayer is pure (Job 16:17; NLT).

4. Always rejoice (1 Thessalonians 5:16; NIV).

When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words (Matthew 6:7; NIV).

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:4; NIV).

5. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:8; NLT).

6. Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; NIV).

Dealing with hurt

This blog is about dealing with hurt feelings. In three short articles, it charts my learning over a period of several months.


 1. My dilemma – written on 19.8.20.

Image: level17-design, Pixabay


The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me
(Job 30:27; NIV).

Introduction
During the summer of 2020, two people hurt me badly, on separate occasions. I decided to be direct with them, and did so as lovingly as I could. However, both reacted to my feedback with anger and blame, and neither was willing to work together towards reconciliation.

My dilemma: Should I speak out, or say nothing?
This breakdown in two significant relationships left me ruminating for many weeks about all that had gone wrong, generating a constant sense of dread. Sadly, this was not a new experience. Dealing with hurt feelings has posed a serious dilemma for me throughout my life: is it better to speak out to those concerned, or to say nothing?

What did Jesus say and do?
As always, when I don’t know what to do for the best, I looked for guidance in the teaching and example of Jesus. However, he taught, and displayed, both outspoken and silent ways of responding to hurt, criticism, and injustice, which I have always found confusing.

For example, on one occasion he stated: If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them, and if they repent, forgive them (Luke 17:3; NIV). 

Yet he also said: If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also (Matthew 5:39; NLT).

So, what happens when I try to follow each of these two apparently very different approaches?

Speaking out
Experience has taught me that when I speak out directly to someone who has hurt me, it almost always backfires. In response to my feedback, they turn on me with anger and blame, or end our relationship. I then react to their hostility with my characteristic endless sense of dread.

Saying nothing
On the other hand, when I say nothing, I allow the other person to hurt me without protesting, absorbing the pain and damage, just as I did with my emotionally abusive mother. This makes me feel powerless, worthless, and depressed.

Thus, whichever approach I try, I generally end up feeling as if life is not worth living.

Forgiveness
Fortunately, Jesus was absolutely clear that whether or not we speak out, we should always forgive those who hurt us. This applies even if they never acknowledge what they have done, and never apologise. Forgiveness gives me something positive to work on during the months of emotional distress which follow each time someone upsets me.

Conclusion
When people hurt me, I see myself as having only two basic choices: to speak out, or to say nothing. Either way, the outcome is equally damaging for my mental health. Not knowing how to resolve this dilemma has plagued me all my life, and remains a serious problem to this day.


After writing the piece above, I began to talk my dilemma over with a few, trusted people for the first time ever. Gradually, my thinking about it began to change, as described in the next article.


2. My action plan – written on 30.8.20.

Image: Jackson David, Pixabay


If you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God
(Matthew 5:23-4; NLT).

Introduction
After writing the above article, I spent a long time working out how to improve my ways of relating to those who hurt me. From the insights gained, I gradually put together an action plan to follow whenever a crisis arises.

My action plan
Rather than seeing my response as a stark choice between speaking out and saying nothing, I decided to tackle each situation in a series of stages.

Stage 1: Withdraw, pray, reflect
When someone behaves unacceptably towards me, I will not confront the person involved immediately. Instead, I will simply tell them that I need time to reflect on what they have said or done. I will then withdraw to sleep on the matter for at least one night. Taking time out will enable me to pray, discuss the situation with someone I trust, and think carefully, before responding. This should help to prevent me from reacting angrily in the heat of the moment, with a high risk of permanently damaging the other person, our relationship, and myself.

Stage 2: Decide whether or not to be honest
During the time out, if I decide it is pointless, or inappropriate, to speak directly  to the person concerned, I need take the matter no further. Instead, I will work on praying for them, and forgiving them.

On the other hand, if I decide to tell the other person how their behaviour has affected me, I need to remember that they may have had no intention, or awareness, of upsetting me, and might therefore be very taken aback when I raise the subject.

Stage 3: Speak out briefly, and lovingly
When I decide to give direct feedback, I will do so as briefly and lovingly as possible. I will remind the person of what they said or did, and be honest about how it has hurt me. Anything beyond this is superfluous.

Stage 4: Wait to see how the person responds
If the other person reacts badly, there is no need for me to do anything further. We are all responsible for our own behaviour, and I can’t expect everyone to respond exactly as I wish.  Instead, I will try to put the whole matter behind me, though I admit that I have always found this impossible.

On the other hand, if the other person reacts positively, and apologises, I will accept this immediately, forgiving them completely. We can then be reconciled, and the whole matter will be resolved.

Stage 5: Start afresh
Finally, however badly things turn out, I can try to start afresh each day. Every time I find myself ruminating about what happened, I will remind myself that the matter is now closed, and that it’s time for me to move on.

Conclusion
From now on, when someone hurts me, I have an action plan to follow. My overall aim will be to maintain a careful balance between being speaking out, preserving relationships, and protecting my mental health.


After finishing this article, I made further progress in dealing with hurt feelings, as described in the final piece of this series.


3. My further learning – written on 23.1.21.

Image: Manfred Antranias Zimmer, Pixabay


Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves
(Philippians 2:3; NLT).

Introduction
Despite my hopes, putting together my action plan didn’t make me feel any better about my two shattered relationships. I was still living with constant dread, which drained my already very limited energy. My sleep and dreams were disturbed, and I began to slip into depression. Clearly, my approach to dealing with hurt feelings was incomplete.

Then, one day, I suddenly realised that when I’ve been honest with someone about their behaviour towards me, and they have taken it badly, or stopped speaking to me, there is one more step I can take, in the hope of resolving the situation.

One more step
I can write to the person concerned, saying how sorry I am about everything that has gone wrong between us. I can tell them that I’m praying for them, and for our relationship, and let them know that I long for us to be reconciled. Even if they don’t respond, I will then know that I have done all I possibly can to put things right between us.

This insight enabled me to write carefully and lovingly to the two people who had hurt me. To my delight, one responded with great generosity of spirit, though sadly the other did not reply. However, by sending these letters, I finally managed to stop ruminating about all that had gone wrong. In consequence, my abiding sense of dread slowly began to diminish.

The teaching of Mother Theresa
At this point, I believed my action plan was complete. Some weeks later, though, I stumbled on Mother Theresa’s teaching about how to deal with exactly the kind of hurtful situations that had destroyed my peace of mind for so many months.

In  her book, “The Joy in Loving” (Penguin Books, 2000), Mother Theresa offers brief but powerful advice on how to become more humble, and therefore more Christ-like. The wording varies slightly in different editions of the book, so I have amalgamated the most relevant points into a single list which hopefully maintains the spirit of her approach:

  • Do not dwell on the faults of others.
  • Accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.
  • Accept criticism, even if it is unmerited.
  • Accept insults and injuries.
  • Accept being slighted and disliked.
  • Accept contempt, being disregarded, and being forgotten.
  • Be courteous, kind, and gentle, even when provoked.

Inspired by the simplicity and clarity of these teachings, I began to absorb and practice them. Not long afterwards a friend unexpectedly censured me for something which was not under my control. Feeling hurt, I began to defend myself, but quickly recalled Mother Theresa’s wise words, “Accept criticism, even if it is unmerited.” I stopped speaking, and turned away. Overwhelmed by despair, I started to weep. To my friend’s credit, she quickly realised how much she had hurt me. She approached me, apologising profusely. We clung together for a long time in great distress, comforting each other. Eventually I was able to explain how afraid I had been of her sudden anger, and how much her words had upset me. I told her that I loved and valued her, and we were fully reconciled.

Humility, acceptance and courtesy
This was a deeply healing experience, unlike anything  I had previously experienced. Moreover, it was not followed by dread, or depression, which seemed little short of a miracle. I therefore resolved to adopt Mother Theresa’s approach of responding with humility, acceptance, courtesy, kindness and forgiveness whenever someone hurts me.

Conclusion
These three linked articles have described how I resolved my lifelong dilemma about the best way to respond when someone hurts me. I no longer see myself as having a straight, binary choice between speaking out and saying nothing. Nor do I need a complex action plan that relies on how the other person reacts at each stage. Instead, from now on, whenever I am criticised or attacked, I will use the simple, humble approach encapsulated in Mother Theresa’s teaching.

To my delight, this completely resolves my original dilemma, as it is entirely in accordance with the spirit of Christ’s own words: Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also […] Then your reward in heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High (Luke 6:27-9, 35; NLT). 

There can be no finer action plan than this.


Acknowledgements

My warmest thanks to all those who engaged in discussing this issue with me, especially Alan, Dianne, Rosemary, and John. Their contributions have been invaluable. Many thanks also to Ber, whose technical help and personal encouragement enabled me to write and organise this document.

My action plan

Image: BUMIPUTRA, Pixabay


Introduction

On 19.8.20. I posted an article called “My dilemma”. It described the inner conflicts I face each time someone behaves unacceptably towards me. As a Christian, should I speak out, or should I say nothing? Jesus used both of these approaches at different times in his life, so I have never been able to reach a conclusion about how I should respond.

Unfortunately, this uncertainty means that regardless of how I handle each individual situation, I ruminate for months afterwards about what happened, and whether I reacted correctly. My endless self-questioning generates a constant sense of guilt, worry and dread, which I find impossible to shake off, and which can easily lead me into depression.

Since writing that article, I have spent a lot of time praying, reflecting, and talking this issue over with others. From the insights gained, I have put together an action plan to follow next time a hurtful situation arises.

Rather than seeing my response as a straight choice between speaking out and staying silent, I am now treating it as a series of stages, each of which is open to reflection before taking any further action.

1. Withdraw, pray, reflect

So, from now on, when someone behaves unacceptably towards me, I will withdraw to sleep on what happened for at least one night, taking time out to pray and reflect before responding. This will prevent me from reacting in the heat of the moment, with a high risk of damaging both the other person, and our relationship.

2. Decide whether or not to speak out 

A. If I decide it is pointless, or inappropriate, to speak out to the person concerned, I need take the matter no further. Instead, I will work on forgiving them, and praying for them.

B. If I decide to tell the other person how their behaviour has affected me, I need to think carefully about how best to approach them, perhaps by email, text, a phone call, or by arranging a meeting. It’s important to remember that they may have had no intention at all of upsetting me, and may therefore be taken very much by surprise when I raise the subject.

3. Speak out briefly, and lovingly

If I decide to give the person feedback, I will do so as briefly and lovingly as possible. My aim will simply be to remind them of what they said or did, and to be honest about how it has hurt or disturbed me. Anything beyond this is superfluous, and risks generating angry retaliation.

4. Wait to see if there is a response

A. If the other person doesn’t respond, there is no need for me to say any more. The matter is finished, and I will let it go. Each of us is responsible for our own behaviour, and I can’t expect everyone to respond as I wish. Instead, I will focus on loving them, forgiving them, and praying for them.

B. If the other person contacts me, I will take time to consider how best to reply, depending on what they say:

i. If they take responsibility for their behaviour, and apologise, I will accept this immediately, reassuring them that I have completely forgiven them. We will be reconciled, and the whole matter will be closed.

ii. If they react hurtfully, I will withdraw, considering the matter as being finished. Anything else is pointless, and risks generating more damage. Of course, I will still forgive them, and pray for them, but I can choose not to expose myself to further hurtful behaviour, in order to protect my own mental health.

5. Start again

Finally, if, despite doing my very best, the situation doesn’t work out as I hoped, or turns out badly, I will resolve to put it behind me, and start again. Every time I find myself ruminating about what happened, I will remind myself that it’s finished. There is always more to learn in life, and I can refine my action plan in the light of each new experience.

Conclusion

Throughout my life, when anyone hurts me, I’ve never known whether I should be honest with them, or say nothing. When I say nothing, I am left with a burden of powerlessness and distress. When I speak out, and the other person reacts angrily, I am left with a burden of guilt and dread, believing that I have sinned, and that the breakdown in relationship is all my fault.

From now on, when someone hurts me, I will remind myself immediately that I always have choices about how to respond, and that I have an action plan to follow. My overall aim will be to keep a careful, Christian balance between being honest, preserving relationships, and protecting my own mental health.

Image: Mustangloe, Pixabay


Acknowledgement

My warmest thanks to all those who have engaged in discussing this issue with me, especially Alan, Dianne, and John. Your contributions have been invaluable.


References

Introduction

Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21; NIV).

If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them (Luke 17:3-4; NIV).

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth (Isaiah 53:7; NLT).

The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me (Job 30:27; NIV).

1. Withdraw, pray, reflect

Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer (Luke 5:16; NLT).

The Lord of Hosts […] is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance (Isaiah 28:29; NKJV).

Harsh words make tempers flare (Proverbs 15:1; NLT).

Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back (Proverbs 29:11; NLT).

2. Decide whether or not to speak out

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there [and] Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:33-4; NIV).

When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25; NLT).

3. Speak out briefly, and lovingly

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

4. Wait to see if there is a response

Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:27-8; NLT).

If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them (Luke 17:3-4; NIV).

NB Matthew doesn’t mention whether the person has to say sorry or not:

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” (Matthew 18:20-21; NLT).

5. Start again

Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-9; NLT).

I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly (Ecclesiastes 1:17; NLT).

Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord (Lamentations 3:40; KJV).

Conclusion

Be angry but do not sin (Ephesians 4:26; RSV).

I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say (Psalm 39:1; NLT).

Love your neighbour as yourself (Luke 10:27; NLT).

To acquire wisdom is to love oneself (Proverbs 19:8; NLT).

Start afresh

Image: Pixabay

Lord,

1. May I start afresh today,
And leave my setbacks
Far behind.

2. May I try again, Lord,
To be patient, frank,
And kind.

3. May my heart and mind
Commune with yours, Lord:
Silent, still,

4. As I listen for your quiet voice,
So I may do
Your will.


References

1. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning (Lamentations 3:23; NLT).

Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you (Job 11:4; NLT).

2. Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city (Proverbs 16:32; NLT).

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

A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people (2 Timothy 2:24; NLT).

Love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish (Luke 6:35; RSV).

3. Pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

Pray about everything (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge (Psalm 62:8; NLT).

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord (Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).

Be still in the presence of the Lord (Psalm 37:7; NLT).

4. After the fire came a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12; NIV).

Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go” (Isaiah 30:21; NLT).

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).

My dilemma

Image: 412designs, Pixabay


Introduction

Two people have hurt me badly in the last few weeks. In both cases, after some thought, I was honest with those involved, expressing my response as lovingly as I could. However, they both reacted with anger and blame. Sadly, offering to meet for reconciliation has brought no response.

Since then, I repeatedly go over all that happened, which generates a constant, painful, and exhausting sense of dread.

The crux of my anxiety is that when someone hurts me, I don’t know whether I should speak out, or say nothing. Each approach has different consequences.


What did Jesus say and do?

As always, I look for guidance in Jesus’ teaching and example. However, he taught, and displayed, both outspoken and silent ways of responding to hurt and injustice, which I find confusing.

Until his arrest, Jesus always spoke the truth in love when people criticised or insulted him. He was, in fact, very direct. His honesty made him a lot of enemies, and contributed to his death.

After his arrest, Jesus said very little, no matter what he was accused of, and how he was treated. This puzzled his captors, perhaps antagonising them even more.

Over the years, I’ve tried both approaches. What happens when I follow Christ’s example in these two, very different, ways?


A. Speaking out

When I “speak the truth in love”, it almost always backfires. The person I’ve been honest with turns on me, angrily blaming me for what I said, even though it was their own hurtful behaviour towards me that I spoke about. I then react to their hostility with my characteristic chronic dread.


B. Saying nothing

When I say nothing, I simply allow the other person to hurt me, absorbing the pain and damage, just as I did with my emotionally abusive mother. Without feedback, of course, there is a risk that they may continue to damage me. This makes me feel helpless and powerless, worsening my chronic depression.

Either way, I can easily end up feeling as if life is not worth living.


Forgiveness

Fortunately, Jesus is absolutely clear that whether we speak out or say nothing, we should always forgive those who hurt us. This applies even if they never recognise what they have done, and never say they are sorry.


Conclusion

When people hurt me, I ruminate endlessly about how I responded, and what went wrong. Whether I speak out or say nothing, the outcome is equally damaging for my mental health.

Worse still, I also feel guilty for having “caused” the other person to strike back angrily at me, and to hate me from then onwards.

So, when someone hurts me, should I speak out, or say nothing? I still don’t know the answer to this question, which has plagued me all my life. All I can do is to pray for those who hurt me, asking God to guide and heal us all.

Image: Himsan, Pixabay


References

Introduction

Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely, the one who shared my food, has turned against me (Psalm 41:9; NLT).


What did Jesus say and do?

Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21; NIV).

You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? (Matthew 23:33; NIV).

The leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise (Mark 15:3-5; NLT).

If you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God (Matthew 5:23-4; NLT).


A. Speaking out

Speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them (Luke 17:3-4; NIV.

The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me (Job 30:27; NIV).


B. Saying nothing

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth (Isaiah 53:7; NLT).

You have taken away my companions and my loved ones. Darkness is my closest friend (Psalm 88:18; NLT).

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me (Psalm 42:7;NIV).

Why wasn’t I buried like a stillborn child, like a baby who never lives to see the light? (Job 3:16; NLT).


Forgiveness

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there [and] Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:33-4; NIV).

When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25; NLT).


Conclusion

Love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you (Luke 6:27-8; NLT)

The Lord of Hosts […] is wonderful in counsel and excellent in guidance (Isaiah 28:29; NKJV).

He will heal us (Hosea 6:1; NLT).

Image: czu_czu_PL, Pixabay

Guilt (#2 of 2 linked prayers)

1. At last! I’ve grasped
A fundamental truth:
There’s no need to feel guilty
All the time
For praying, Lord,
However I can manage.

2. There are no other words
That I should say.
All you ask is that I’m real,
And honest,
For otherwise, Lord,
How can we be one?

3. This truth brings gladness,
Inner peace,
And freedom,
For it shows me
That your kingdom, Lord,
Has come.


References

1. Pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

Pray about everything (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

Pour out your heart to him (Psalm 62:8; NLT).

2. You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

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

I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one (John 17:22; NLT).

3. Worship the Lord with gladness (Psalm 100:2; NLT).

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the gift I give is a gift the world cannot give (John 14:27; NLT).

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32; NLT).

Your kingdom come (Luke 11:2; NIV).

The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21; NKJV).

Guilt (#1 of 2 linked prayers)

1. At last! I’ve grasped
A fundamental truth:
There’s no need
To feel guilty all the time
For being, Lord,
Exactly as I am.

2. There is no other way
That I should be.
All you ask is that I’m real,
And honest,
For otherwise, Lord,
How can we be one?

3. This truth brings gladness,
Inner peace,
And freedom,
For it shows me
That your kingdom, Lord,
Has come.


References

1. Pour out your heart to him (Psalm 62:8; NLT).

2. You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; NIV).

3. Worship the Lord with gladness (Psalm 100:2; NLT).

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the gift I give is a gift the world cannot give (John 14:27; NLT).

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32; NLT).

Your kingdom come (Luke 11:2; NIV).

The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21; NKJV).

Free gifts


Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires
(Psalm 37:4; NLT).

1. God’s love
Is within, for the taking,
His light
Is as free as the air.

2. His peace
Heals each heart that is aching,
His truth
Is both upright and fair.

3. God’s Son
Is his gift of salvation,
His Spirit
Is gracious and sweet.

4. His mercy
Is for all creation,
His joy
Makes our exile complete.


References

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

You are the temple of the living God (Luke 17:21; NKJV).

The teaching of your word gives light (Psalm 119:130; NLT).

2. The Lord blesses them with peace (Psalm 29:11; NLT).

I am the Lord, who heals you (Exodus 15:27; NIV).

He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth (Psalm 96:13; NLT).

3. 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).

May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing (Psalm 143:10; NLT).

4. He forgives all my sins (Psalm 103:3; NLT).

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete (John 15:11; NIV).

Dialogue

Image: Momentmal, Pixabay

The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8; NLT).

1. Please teach me, Lord, what you require,
So I may do as you desire.

2. “Love me, your neighbours, strangers, foes,
And pray for all, till healing flows.

3. Make no show of faith, or prayer,
But serve me gladly, everywhere.

4. Keep your temper, staying calm;
Forgive all those who hurt and harm.

5. Say, ‘Sorry,’ when you grieve someone,
And make peace, always, if you can.

6. Be honest, kind, and quick to care;
Keen to lend, and give, and share.

7. Above all else, these words are key:
Take up your cross, and follow me!”

8. Thank you, dear Lord; I hear your call;
You are my way, my truth, my all.


References

1. What does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul (Deuteronomy 10:12; NLT).

I desire mercy, not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6; NIV).

2. You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength [and] love your neighbour as yourself (Mark 12:30-31; NLT).

You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbour’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! (Matthew 5:43-4; NLT).

3. When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others (Matthew 6:6; NIV).

Serve the Lord with gladness (Psalm 100:2; NKJV).

4. In your anger do not sin (Ephesians 4:26; NIV).

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent (Psalm 4:4; NLT).

Forgive those who sin against you (Matthew 6:14; NLT).

5. If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-4; NIV).

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9; NIV).

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18; NIV).

6. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid (Luke 6:35; NLT).

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40; NIV).

7. 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).

8. Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6; NLT).

Christ is all that matters (Colossians 3:11; NLT).

Don’t force your prayers

1. Don’t force your prayers:
God wants us to be honest,
Telling him exactly
What we need.

2. Don’t force your prayers:
God wants us to speak simply,
So let us always follow
His Son’s lead.

3. Don’t force your prayers:
God wants us to be childlike,
Spontaneous, unceasing,
And unplanned.

4. Don’t force your prayers:
God wants us all to trust him,
For he will always hear,
And understand.

References

1. You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).

Tell God what you need (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

2. When you pray, don’t babble on (Matthew 6:7; NLT).

Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one (Matthew 6:9-13; NLT).

3. Anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it (Mark 10:15; NLT).

Pour out your heart to him (Psalm 62:8; NLT).

Pray about everything (Philippians 4:6; NLT).

Pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

4. Trust in God and trust also in me (John 14:1; NLT).

The Lord hears my voice (Psalm 55:17; NLT).

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